Exciting times are afoot! For many retailers April 12th marks an incredibly special day, the day that they are able to fling open their doors once more and continue trading in a somewhat ‘pre-covid’ way.
Today we wanted to outline our approach to reopening, how we’re tackling the modern market and why we are NOT opening our doors in the way you might expect.
How Has The World Changed?
Firstly, let’s set some background. We all know that the past year has been unique and that the world has changed forever. Over the past year, the needs of the modern consumer has accelerated the decline of the high street ten fold, customers now choose how and when they want to buy via entirely online mediums at their own convenience. What does this mean for most retailers? They’ve moved online.
We’ll fully admit that we’ve seen this trend too and have spent the past year massively investing in creating a fully streamlined, online experience that our customers both trust and enjoy using. Long gone now are the days of an individual heading into town just to pick up a new violin string or pack of saxophone reeds. It’s now easier, quicker and more convenient to buy them online and have them arrive with you the very next day.
For our industry however, things are a little different. Pianos in particular are incredibly special items that people spend thousands and thousands of pounds on in order to experience pristine and unique sound. These are more than just instruments, they’re a part of a lifestyle that breathes creativity and is something that you truly have to experience in person.
Interestingly, there’s a lot of similarity between buying a piano and buying something like a sports car. Before investing, people need to try these instruments, to understand the touch, feel and tone of their piano before buying - Which we completely agree with! No two pianos sound or feel the same and can’t be treated as such. This is why our showrooms will never be going anywhere and will remain a staple part of our business. They’re simply too important to such a personal and sentimental purchase.
What’s Our Solution?
Our goal is, and always will be, to inspire new musicians and help our customers find their dream instruments. This is why we believe that tackling a more personalised, more convenient and more engaging approach is needed.
Whereas before our stores were filled with the coming and going of others, visiting for reeds, cables and other bits and bobs, we’ve now moved this entire experience online. For those who are looking for help or need advice, our live chat service and customer experience team are on hand at your convenience to answer your questions. Over the past year we’ve adjusted our customer experience hours to suit the needs of our customers - most people tend to shop online in the evenings, so guess what? We moved our hours back into the evenings too!
Likewise, for those applying for things such as our instrument rental scheme, this is now easier than ever online and has proved incredibly popular over the past year. Now you can rent instruments with complete peace of mind knowing you can return or upgrade whenever you need to. Learn more about our rental scheme here.
We also understand the importance of making information easily accessible and consumable, particularly for those who are either just beginning their musical journey, or perhaps are buying for a child and aren’t sure on the best options for them. That is why our blog, facebook, instagram and youtube channels are filling up with content on a near daily basis - to help answer your questions and make your buying experience as convenient as possible.
For those who are buying more luxury instruments such as upright or grand pianos and require that in store testing experience, our showrooms are still here for you and we want to help create the most comfortable, personalised experience possible. That is why we are excited to now be operating on an appointment only basis for each of our piano showrooms.
We believe that everyone should be made to feel relaxed when visiting our showrooms. Perhaps you’re not comfortable playing whilst others are around you, or perhaps you’re not entirely sure of the subtle nuances between different piano manufacturers. Under our new appointment system, our experts will sit down with you, make you a coffee and get to know you, your playing style and your musical dreams in order to understand every possible need for your instrument and help you find the perfect piano for you.
We also believe that whilst the risk of COVID-19 has significantly dropped, there are still those who remain nervous about visiting town centres and crowded spaces (in fact over 2/3s of people said they wouldn’t return to the high street!) For this reason, we will still be putting both yours and our showroom team’s safety at the forefront of what we do, so will be limiting appointments to just one or two appointments in our showroom at once and our team will be wearing masks throughout.
We know that for some this may seem a little unorthodox - we’ve been closed for almost a year after all?! And we’d agree - if you’d have said this to us a year ago, we’d have laughed! However we’ve all seen the immense shift in online retail and we want to now help make our dream of inspiring new musicians a national mission for absolutely every person who visits our website.
If you’d like to learn more about booking a showroom visit, or would like to speak to a member of our team, click here.
Thank you for your patience and understanding,
The Millers Music Team