Kent Mobility’s boss, John Payne, has warned that mobility dealers that fail to continually adapt their image are risking their whole business.
Kent Mobility overhauled its image two years ago, which included a full showroom revamp that saw turnover nearly treble in the first month of reopening.
Payne feels that the mobility retail sector has been slower to adapt than other retail sectors and believes the industry “needs a boot up the backside” if it wants to compete with online firms.
“I think if [dealers] don’t change then they’re going to close because their turnover will just go down and down.
“With the base products like the scooters, why would people want to go to a dark lock-up shop when they can go on the internet? If it’s not easier for them they won’t come to you.”
He added that in the future investing in and updating shopfronts will be a necessity for all dealers in the market.
“Businesses that have up-to-date showrooms will survive. There are an awful lot of companies who have lock-up shops where it’s absolutely crammed and where you’re climbing over things.
“I think they’ll slowly die. If you look at any modern day shop people want to walk around and see things.”
Sharon King, operations director at Kent Mobility, was responsible for pushing the recent showroom revamp forward.
“The decisions you make in your shop have got to be cost-effective but they must have an impact.
“It was a gamble because we were shut for about four months so to lose that contact with your customers was definitely a risk.”
Payne said: “I had a feeling at the business might never start up again if I’m honest but it came back better and stronger. In any industry in this day and age, something like that is a great risk.”
“It works out roughly every seven years we have to change direction, whether that’s products or showroom. You need a big shake-up quite regularly.
“A while ago we changed all our logos and print work. We’re starting to change our invoicing now to make it look more modern.”