website(1,) Choosing a Kitchen Supplier: Online vs Highstreet

Choosing a Kitchen Supplier: Online vs Highstreet

A Guide for Online Shoppers and Showroom Visitors

Identifying Your Kitchen Needs

To start your journey towards a new kitchen, it's crucial to identify your unique needs.

Visualising how you intend to use the space and what features matter the most to you will help streamline the selection process. Here's what you need to pay attention to: 

  • Space and Functionality: Assess the available kitchen space in your home. Determine the layout that would best suit your needs and maximise functionality. Consider factors such as the number of people who will be using the kitchen, the cooking habits and the type of meals prepared.
  • Style and Budget Alignment: Different kitchen designs come with different costs. Identify a style that satisfies your aesthetic preference, meets your functional requirements, and fits within your budget. Committing to a design and being knowledgeable about its cost implications can steer your search in the right direction, reduce stress, and make online supplier selection more strategic.

Remember, solid planning at this stage will save you significant time and hassle down the line. Here begins an exciting journey towards the kitchen of your dreams! 

Kitchen Suppliers: Online vs Highstreet

Whether you prefer e-commerce convenience or the tangibility of high-street shops, each avenue has its unique advantages when it comes to shopping for your kitchen supplies.

Lynton Indigo Shaker Woodgrain Kitchen from Better Kitchens
Lynton Indigo Shaker Woodgrain Kitchen from Better Kitchens

To make an informed decision, understanding the strengths and possible limitations of the two will prove invaluable. 

Online Shopping 

  • Convenience: Online platforms like Better Kitchens offer you the freedom to explore a wide variety of products from the comfort of your own home. It’s a world where geographical constraints do not apply, and by leveraging digital tools, you can compare options from multiple suppliers within a click.
  • Extensive Information: Detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and ratings provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the product. Remember to critically evaluate this information to ensure it aligns with your kitchen needs.
  • Round-the-Clock Shopability: The internet never sleeps neither does online shopping. This accessibility allows you to place your order at your convenience, outside regular business hours.

Highstreet or Showroom Shopping 

  1. Tactile Experience: Nothing beats the feeling of experiencing a product first-hand. Showrooms enable you to touch and feel various products, get an exact feel for colours and finishes, and appreciate the quality of construction.
  2. Expert Guidance: In a physical store, you're likely to receive personalised, face-to-face advice. Store representatives can answer your queries immediately and offer practical suggestions based on their expert knowledge of the products at hand.
  3. In-Person Comparison: You can physically compare different kitchen appliances, fixtures and fittings side by side in a showroom. This hands-on comparison can sometimes offer insights you wouldn’t be privy to when shopping online.

Importantly, these shopping avenues don't have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, combining them can lead to an optimal buying experience.

For instance, you could first inform yourself extensively online, then visit a showroom to make a final decision.

Ultimately, ensuring you work with reliable suppliers, whether online or on the high-street, will serve to make your kitchen shopping a successful endeavour.

Navigating Online Kitchen Suppliers

Tenby Heritage Green Shaker Kitchen Available To Buy Online From Better Kitchens
Tenby Heritage Green Shaker Kitchen Available To Buy Online From Better Kitchens

Today's digital world hosts a plethora of kitchen suppliers, each with a unique online presence. Finding a dependable one may seem like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't fret—there are certain indicators you can look out for to ensure you're dealing with a reliable company. 

Firstly, research is key. Stumbling upon a kitchen supplier's website doesn't automatically make them a trustworthy entity. Delve deeper into their web pages. Do they provide comprehensive details about their products, including dimensions, materials used, and after-sale services? 

  • Is there clear information about delivery and installation procedures?
  • Do they offer a contingency plan in case of product damage during delivery?
  • Are there explicit warranty terms and conditions?

If these details aren't easily accessible or if they're vague, it might be a red flag. 

Another definitive method to assess online kitchen suppliers is to peruse customer reviews and ratings. There is truth in the adage, "The customer knows best".

Look for feedback across various platforms and not just on the vendor's site—remember, some websites may only show positive reviews.

Note: While customer reviews can be indicative of supplier reliability, take them with a grain of salt. Balance what you find with your own research.

Lastly, how a supplier interacts online can be a clear indicator of their credibility. For instance, a reliable supplier responds promptly to customers' queries and concerns, updates their page regularly, and is proactive in addressing issues raised in reviews. 

By keeping these factors in mind, your journey amidst the seas of online kitchen suppliers can be more navigable, efficient, and successful, leading you to your ideal kitchen.

Leveraging Showroom Visits

During your research for a reliable kitchen supplier, it is likely you may come across showrooms either locally or within reasonable travel distance.

The Better Kitchens 28 Display Showroom in Weston-super-Mare
The Better Kitchens 28 Display Showroom in Weston-super-Mare

Whilst the internet is a treasure trove of endless options and ideas, a showroom offers the invaluable opportunity to view products ‘in the flesh’, allowing you to derive a tangible sense and understanding of physical characteristics such as their size, quality of materials, and workmanship.

Also, as an online shopper, you may find some web-based suppliers, like Better Kitchens, also maintain showrooms. 

When attending a showroom visit, prepare a list of questions to ask. You may wish to confer with staff members about the different kitchen ranges, their durability, as well as the variety of finishes offered. However, don't forget to observe other details like: 

  • Does the showroom display a range of different kitchen styles? This can give you a sense of whether the supplier is likely to have a kitchen that suits your personal vision.
  • Ask yourself if you can envisage the kitchens on display in your own home. This mental trick can help spark design ideas and may guide you towards specific choices.

Furthermore, if your chosen supplier offers both online purchasing and showroom visits, use these two resources together. Utilise the convenience of their web platform for comparing options, scoping prices, and configuring your potential kitchen layout with their online planning tools.

Then, when you prefer, visit their showroom to physically touch, see, and evaluate the kitchen models of interest for a complete experience. Combining these approaches can assure you of making a well-informed choice. 

Remember, your kitchen is a significant investment. It is important to feel confident and certain in your decisions.

Take your time, and do not hesitate to revisit the showroom or exploit the online customer service platform for additional support or guidance if required.

After all, a quality supplier will always be willing to help and ensure you are completely satisfied with your choice.

Understanding Kitchen Planning Tools

Actual Kitchen Designed Using the Better Kitchens Kitchen Design Tool
Actual Kitchen Designed Using the Better Kitchens Kitchen Design Tool

Online kitchen planning tools are a valuable resource that can help you visualise your dream kitchen. These tools generally offer a range of design options, letting you explore different layouts, colour schemes, and appliance arrangements.

This can be particularly advantageous if you’re purchasing from an online kitchen supplier, like Better Kitchens, where you may not have the opportunity to view products in person. 

Accurate self-measurement is crucial when using online planning tools. You’ll need to measure your kitchen space, noting down dimensions of walls, windows, and door openings.

This will help ensure your chosen kitchen fits perfectly. Remember to consider the following when measuring: 

  • Height and width of the space.
  • Position of doors and windows.
  • Location of existing utilities like sockets, gas line, and plumbing.

Thinking carefully about what to include in your kitchen design is also a key part of this process. Remember to account for elements such as: 

  1. Kitchen appliances: Consider the size and type of appliances you want in your kitchen. This might include a fridge, oven, dishwasher, and microwave.
  2. Storage: Factor in the type and amount of storage you need. This may involve cabinets, shelves, and pantries,
  3. Worktops: Think about how much countertop space you require, and which material will suit your needs and style.
  4. Sinks: Contemplate the type and location of the sink. Would you prefer a single or double bowl? Consider its proximity to the dishwasher and bin for convenience.

With accurate measurements and a clear picture of your design, you can use kitchen planning tools more effectively and create a design that suits your needs and fits your space.

However, don't hesitate to ask for professional help if needed. Many kitchen suppliers offer planning and design advice to help you make the most of these tools.

Learn more about online kitchen planners or about the popular Better Kitchens Kitchen Design Tool

Seeking Planning and Ordering Advice

Communicating effectively with your chosen kitchen supplier is key to ensuring that the ordering and delivery process goes smoothly.

When it comes to online kitchen suppliers, planning and ordering advice can be accessed via their customer service channels. This could be in the form of live chat, email support, or phone helplines. 

When you're seeking ordering advice, make sure to ask suppliers about lead times, delivery options, and any additional costs that may not be readily apparent on their website.

For planning advice, clarify details about the assembly and installation of the kitchen units. It’s encouraged to inquire about return policies and warranty offerings as well.

Extracting such information early on will equip you better in decision making and further clarify your suppliers' reliability. 

Remember: A reliable kitchen supplier will provide you with comprehensive and transparent information. Their customer service team should be helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable about their products and services. 

It's important to remember that online shopping can sometimes lack the sense of in-person, tactile evaluation. Feel free to ask for samples of materials and finishes to get a closer feel for the actual products.

Some suppliers might charge for these, but it's usually a worthwhile investment to ensure you're happy before placing a larger order. 

The absence of physical site visits and measuring services could be challenging. If this service isn’t available, consider hiring a professional to take accurate measurements of your kitchen space.

Many suppliers will allow you to input these measurements into their planning tools for a more tailored design. 

Lastly, note down all the advice and insights gained during your interaction with the customer service to make further comparisons between suppliers.

This information can guide you in selecting the best provider for your needs and may come in handy if you encounter any issues down the line.

Moderna Matt Handleless J Pull Kitchen In Light Grey
Moderna Matt Handleless J Pull Kitchen In Light Grey

Comparing Quotes and Services Online

When choosing a reliable kitchen supplier, comparing quotes and services online is a vital step. To ensure total transparency and obtain a thorough understanding of what's included in the price, do not shy away from requesting itemised quotes.

This will provide a clear breakdown of the cost for each component and service. 

Points to Consider Before Comparison 

  1. Quality: The quality of the products offered by the supplier is often reflected in the price quote. However, a high price does not always guarantee superior quality kitchen units. It's essential to dig deeper into the supplier's product range, examining materials used, durability promises, and product warranties.
  2. Price: While considering price, ensure you are comparing like with like. Watch out for hidden extras. Some quotes may seem cheaper, but once you add up the cost of delivery, installation, and any after-sales service, the final figure may be higher than anticipated.
  3. Service Offering: Service offerings often differ from one kitchen supplier to another. Ascertain the services included in the quote. These may range from delivery and installation to after-sales service and warranty.

Going Beyond the Quote 

Transparent and comprehensive quotes are vital for comparison. However, don't limit your decision to just pricing.

Review other vital factors, such as the supplier's reputation, quality of customer service, after-sales support, and past customer reviews. These can all be critical in choosing a kitchen supplier you can trust and rely on. 

Make use of Comparison Tools 

Various online platforms offer comparison tools that allow you to compare quotes and services from different kitchen suppliers. 

These tools can be highly beneficial, providing a clear, side-by-side comparison of several suppliers. However, remember to validate the information independently for complete peace of mind. 

In conclusion, comparing quotes and services online is an effective way to find a reliable kitchen supplier that meets your specific needs and budget. However, remember to look beyond just the price tag.

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Finalising Your Choice

Once you have collected all the necessary information, it's time to make a well-informed decision. In this pursuit, you should consider all the insights derived from the process of defining needs, researching suppliers, seeking advice, and comparing quotes and services.

Here we provide you with a final checklist to ensure you cover all the essential points. 

  • Assessment of Kitchen Needs: Have you carefully taken into account all your kitchen requirements, including spatial and functional needs, and ensured that your chosen supplier can meet them?
  • Supplier's Reputation and Reviews: Does the chosen supplier have an established, positive reputation and favourable customer reviews? This is generally a good indication of reliability and credibility.
  • Showroom Visits: Are you satisfied with the quality and design of the products you observed in the showroom (if visited)? This can give you a concrete idea of what to expect from a supplier.
  • Understanding of Planning Tools: Have you used and understood how to leverage the planning tools offered by the supplier? These tools play a crucial role in enabling you to design your dream kitchen.
  • Planning and Ordering Advice: Did the supplier offer valuable advice when you reached out for support? Good customer service reflects a supplier's commitment to client satisfaction.
  • Price and Service Comparisons: By comparing various quotes and services offered by numerous suppliers, including the chosen one, did you find their package competitive and value for money?

 

Remember, the goal is not just to choose a supplier who can provide a kitchen, but also a partner who can help make your vision a reality.

The chosen supplier should assure quality products, good customer service, and flexible design options that cater to your specific needs. Trust your judgement and feel confident in your choice. 

In conclusion, the process may seem daunting initially, but with careful research, planning, and consideration, you can navigate the myriad of online kitchen suppliers with ease and confidence.

Be it an online supplier like Better Kitchens or a traditional kitchen supplier offering online services, this guide aims to follow an unbiased approach, providing information applicable to various suppliers to help you make an educated decision.


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Explore your options today and step closer to your ideal kitchen!

Ardene Stoneman 3 January, 2024
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