Design Interactive Studio Offers Hands-on Experience

by WOHe

Design Interactive Studio Offers Hands-on
Experience

By John Filippelli


BUCKHEAD, GA Much akin to an actor on stage, the Insperience Studio
is attempting to break down the fourth wall between dealers and
consumers.

Recently introduced by Benton Harbor, MI-based Whirlpool Corp.
and St. Joseph, MI-based KitchenAid, the Insperience Studio is
designed to offer hands-on interaction with working appliances for
consumers, dealers and designers.

The 12,000-sq.-ft. facility, located here, showcases the latest
refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, ranges, laundry products and
appliances offered by both brands, but the focus is not on selling
product. Instead, the interactive environment is designed to help
dealers and consumers focus on design that suits their individual
lifestyles.
Highlighting the studio are seven working displays (consisting of
six kitchen vignettes as well as Whirlpool Corp.’s Family Studio),
which range from small, sleek kitchen designs for young couples to
larger kitchens designed for an active dual-income family.

According to Jan Walters, director of Insperience Studio, the
different kitchens are available for chef demonstrations, cooking
classes and product training.

But, most importantly, the Insperience Studio allows people to
test drive the appliances in a no-pressure environment, Walters
says.

“Our core goal is customer service,” reports Walters. “We want
people to relax when they enter the studio.”
Once customers enter the studio, they are greeted by a concierge
who takes their initial information. The customers then have a
one-on-one consultation with selection consultants to define who
will be using the appliances and how they will be used.

“By getting into a lifestyle conversation, we believe we can
better meet their needs,” Walters notes.
This is a crucial part of the experience. “The challenge is to
collect their data and make sure that it is being documented to the
appropriate areas.”

To better disseminate the information, the selection consultants
carry laptops, which help them keep track of client data. They can
also print it out as a reference.

“If they are retail customers, they will be entered into the
database, and we will match them up with a trade partner [to better
pinpoint their needs],” she notes.

“As we do this, we will specifically be able to direct them to
products and show them what we have selected for them based on
their information,” she continues.

Of equal importance, according to Walters, is the follow-up that
occurs after consumers have made their selections.

While follow up is done with consumers, she notes that, “We also
call the trade partners to make sure they understand that the
customer has gone through the selection process and that they know
what the client has selected.”

As Walters explains, “If customers come in with a designer or
builder, they already know they are going to purchase something
they just don’t know what they are going to buy.”

To help the customer in his or her quest, they studio is
designed to offer a “full customer-service experience” that
incorporates the product training so they can better understand the
intricacies of the appliances.

While the Whirlpool and KitchenAid appliances on display at
Insperience Studio are not for sale on-site, guests are welcome to
come in and prepare a meal or do a load of laundry, she notes.

But, she points out, the studio is not just beneficial for
consumers. “This is a great environment for designers to work in
because they can come down with a client and bring their plans and
lay [the plans] out on the conference room table. That way, they
can look at the appliances and make an informed decision,” she
remarks. “This is great, because it offers a much quicker exchange
of information and creates less confusion between the client and
the designer, remodeler or builder.”

This also lends itself to a seamless experience, she adds,
because, “the concept behind the studio is based on lifestyles
rather than price points.”

As Walters concludes, “Our interaction [with consumers] has
always been through [third-party relations.] This gives us a venue
to talk with them and get information about the specific types of
products or services they are looking for.” 

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