Covid19 has certainly led to some challenging times for all businesses and industries in New Zealand. Life will probably be forever changed and trade and business as we know it will be forever altered.
At the Tile Depot, we have always promoted ourselves as a hands on industry. With stores full of a wide variety of products and with knowledgeable and creative staff, we have always valued that face-to-face interaction with clients. Being able to view and touch the products, take samples home, develop relationships, discuss all the practicalities of each project and recommend the appropriate products for the job, have been largely dependent upon in person consultations in store.
Fortunately we have also been well placed to adjust to the disruption that Covid19 has caused. We have had online purchasing of products for many years and during Lockdown Level 4, customers were still able to order tile, laminate, Neptune flooring and bathware, to secure products ready to be collected once the lockdown notice ended. Thus enabling some momentum with their projects to continue.
Online sales will continue to be the primary method of product purchasing for our clients throughout Level 3, but with contactless collection able to be made. Products are ordered and paid for online, and then customers will be phoned to collect from their nearest store once the orders are ready.
We also have many processes and resources in place to assist our clients in designing and selecting the best products for their renovation and building projects. These have proved useful during Level 4 and will continue to increase in value for the foreseeable future. Our website is invaluable both for purchases, perusal of our range and inspiration, with image galleries loaded with currently stocked products laid in-situ. Many people find it difficult to visualize a completed space from a tile sample so these image galleries are incredibly useful.
Furthermore, The Tile Depot was the first tile company in NZ to develop a 3D tile visualizer. This is a fun and really useful program where clients can select various rooms and play with tile combinations on both the floors and walls. Tile layout, grout colour and width can all be adjusted and it’s a great tool for getting a sense of how certain tile products work together.
We also have accounts on key social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest that are rich with imagery of our products used in local projects and overseas, and should be followed by anyone keen on design, inspiration, keeping up with latest offers and trends.
An exciting initiative we started during Level 4 is free online Zoom consultations with Tile Depot design consultants. These are already proving quite successful with clients able to discuss their projects in person and give staff a virtual tour around the spaces to be renovated. It gives our staff a great insight into layout, light levels, existing design styles and décor in a way that in-store consults cannot. Clients have also been emailing plans for free measures and quotes with samples being arranged for collection upon reaching level 3.
We envisage that these remote Zoom consults will continue to increase in popularity as we move into a more spatially separated future well beyond the lockdown notices of Covid19. They still provide us the opportunity for that one-to-one and personable service whilst maintaining spatial distancing requirements for as long as necessary.
Online shopping for building and renovating products and services has been catapulted into present day out of necessity thanks to Covid19. There has been a trajectory in this direction anyway but now the uptake has taken off and likely will continue to the foreseeable future. The Tile Depot will continue to provide opportunities for clients that make selecting products and designing spaces, accessing samples and products, as easy and enjoyable as possible.