How much do you actually know about the KBSA? Is your perception outdated? The association has plenty of big plans in the pipeline – here newly appointed retail & corporate membership director Malcolm Scott urges you to take a look at what it can offer.
After 15 years as the voluntary corporate chair of the KBSA (Home Specialists Association) I was happy to recently accept the offer of a full-time position as retail & corporate membership director at the KBSA, giving up my job as trading director at Swift to take up the challenge of increasing the effectiveness of the UK’s only dedicated specialist association for the Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom showroom sector.
For many years I had ‘big ideas’ for the association but was so busy at Swift that I simply did not have time to develop them. These ideas focus on the ambition to make the KBSA a genuine consumer brand recognised and requested by the general public when searching for a design, supply and fit service provider for their new Kitchen, Bedroom or Bathroom. The existing highly professional Consumer Guide, the Buy with Confidence leaflet and Customer Charter leaflet alongside the requirement that every member must have a fully functional consumer showroom and must offer a complete start-to-finish project management service, provide a solid foundation to build a trusted consumer brand. Currently the KBSA website gets around 25,000 visitors per year, half of which use the 'Find a Retailer' function to move onto a member's web page – another solid foundation to build on.
The ambition is to increase consumer visits to the KBSA website to 1million per year, and in turn, increasing traffic to members' websites, through organic search engine optimisation. To maximise optimisation, the KBSA needs full national coverage, so a major part of the plan is to double the retail membership. Web traffic will be driven by major a consumer programme on Facebook and Instagram, alongside a business owner's programme on Linked-In. Existing retailer members and the 84 corporate members are being asked to display the KBSA logo with a simple explanatory message to encourage awareness. The whole KBSA website is being completely redesigned to be more consumer friendly – more lively, more informative, and more entertaining.
To bring more retailers ‘into the fold’ the already substantial membership benefits are being improved. Already members benefit from a plethora of cost-saving initiatives from discounts of credit card payments, to discounts on new vehicles as well as full legal coverage, tax assistance, business rates assistance, specialist business document templates including extensive terms, and conditions letters covering both English and Scottish law. Other benefits include consumer finance schemes, unsecured business loan schemes, dispute resolution services and FREE entry to the Government Trustmark scheme. These are just some of the benefits – there are many more.
Members do not need to participate in the KBSA insurance scheme. Historically the showroom sector has associated the KBSA with deposit and job completion guarantee schemes. During 2007 the insurance laws changed, removing the ability for associations to ‘self-insure’ resulting in deposit guarantee schemes becoming a paid for third party service – 66 KBSA retailer members immediately resigned from the KBSA to avoid the need to make payments. After a period of deliberation, the KBSA responded by changing its rules to make deposit guarantee an optional service, rather than a mandatory requirement. Currently 50% of members choose to offer Consumer Protection Insurance while the other 50% choose not to participate in the scheme. Recently many retailers have opted back into the scheme as costs have reduced to approximately £40 for £40,000 of insurance cover, while registration is quick and simple, and the consumer gets an official Insurance Cover Notice within days of registration.
Whether you are one of the 66 retailers who resigned during 2007, or have never participated in the association before, whether you are corporate or retail, whether you are involve in the supply chain for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedrooms of any mix of these, now is the time to look again at what the KBSA can offer. While I accept that I am rather biased – and sometimes over optimistic – I believe there has never been a better time to join the KBSA.
The KBSA's 2023 Kitchen & Bathroom conference will be held on Wednesday 27th September 2023, at The Belfry Hotel & Resort in the West Midlands, and will be open to non-members. To register your interest, call 01623 818808.