Recently I got the question, “Why does lighting cost more from Graham’s than from Home Depot? And why should I pay more?” Lighting does not cost more from Graham’s in an apple-to-apple comparison. Actually, sometimes the same product is a few cents less at Graham’s, sometimes it’s a few cents more. Expectations make lighting cost more. The big box shopper does not expect a lot from the source of their fixtures, nor does he expect a lot from his lighting. And his expectations are generally fully met. The shopper who visits a lighting store expects more and gets it. At a lighting store, the selection is far wider, the product mix is more complex, and expert advice is available to help with planning and selection. Value is not just a function of price. Value is a combination of quality, performance, functionality, and price.
Recently, a customer came into the store wanting to know more about LED and whether she should replace the current light bulbs in her existing kitchen lighting fixture with an LED equivalent to solve her problem with shadows. I invited her to sit with me and have a chat about her kitchen. We made a rough sketch of the space and discussed the problems she was having. I explained that changing the bulbs would do nothing to solve her problem and showed her multiple elements that could improve her lighting, particularly the addition of under cabinet lighting. Then we took a look at the products currently offered that integrate LED, pointing out the efficiencies and life cycle advantages. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. She got it. “I’ll have to do this in phases,” she said. “No problem,” I responded, “most people do.”
If this lady had gone for the same advice from a big box store, chances are good she would have gone home with some relatively expensive replacement bulbs and no viable solutions to her problem. She would have spent less money at the big box, but it would have been a total waste in terms of solving her problem. The solutions I offered are significantly more expensive, but add value to the space and to her life. And, we didn’t just think outside the box she carried in with her—we threw the box away. We started dreaming about making her space functional, exciting, and special.
So which was more expensive?...A visit to the big box, where money spent would have produced unsatisfactory results, or a visit to Graham’s, where the customer learned to dream big and how to solve her lighting problem?