kbb Birmingham is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC


Key opportunities for KBB retailers in 2023


kbb Birmingham sales director Jon Johnston shares five important insights for the year ahead

With the challenges that initially came with operating throughout the pandemic finally behind us, many KBB retailers are looking at 2023 as a fresh start and a year to maximise sales and draw interest into showrooms. And while we may face other challenges that come with the current cost of living crisis, there is a real optimism that can be felt in our sector, about what’s in store for 2023. 

From product innovations to new ways of engaging with customers, trying different approaches just might be the secret to success right now. Here, kbb Birmingham Sales Director Jon Johnston shares his insights on what he believes will be the key opportunities for KBB retailers to capitalise on in 2023…

Product innovation

One brilliant aspect of being part of the KBB sector is being witness to the continual development of technology and product innovation. We see remarkable and ground-breaking launches at every show, all of which offer aesthetic, functional and lifestyle benefits to enhance the kitchen and bathroom space.


From cooker hoods with integrated, silent technology for air purification, to smart showers that can be programmed to your ideal temperature from your mobile phone, retailers must keep up to date with all the latest products so they can offer their customers the most cutting-edge products.


If you’re not sure what emerging trends and products will offer value to your own business, the kbb Innovation Awards are a great starting point to see what products have caught both experts and consumer’s attention. Check out the ten finalists from 2022 to learn more about the innovative products that could be worth stocking in your retail spaces.


2023 is a pivotal year for sustainability. Climate change and our impact on the environment has been a hot topic of conversation for a while now – though the pressure on businesses to make positive changes has never been so prevalent. Consumers are increasingly focused on their environmental footprint and will factor this into decisions taken when it comes to choosing suppliers to work with.


In a landmark paper released at the beginning of this year, the BiKBBI announced it will be focussing on educating KBB installers and help support the growing need for a sustainable supply chain, and I encourage everyone to look closely at ways they can help this year. Retailers can – and should – support customers by offering sustainable solutions that not only provide improved energy and water efficiency to save them money in the long term, but also have a less harmful effect on the environment.

Customer service

In our industry first impressions really do count. Offering outstanding service is one of the best ways to help you stand out from your competitors. For starters, it’s vital that your sales team are well-trained on the products you stock so they can offer the best advice and expertise. Ensuring a high level of customer service from the design process through to installation and beyond, is a sure fire way to ensure repeat custom and word of mouth recommendations.


When discussing the outlook for 2023 with Richard Hibbert, National Chair of the Kbsa, he said; “As an association for independent kitchen retailers, our members are focused on outstanding customer service. This means they continually put the customer first, listening to their genuine needs and adapting to meet changes in market trends. This focus on the customer and their complete satisfaction results in a high percentage of new business coming back via referrals, which remains an important element of the marketing mix for the independent retailer.”

Going digital

The need to have an online presence has grown exponentially in the last three years, and retailers really need to embrace the latest technology and digital tools to ensure they don't get left behind as our industry moves forward.


We’ve already seen kbb Birmingham exhibitors Articad and CAD+T Software help many independent KBB retailers provide customers with compelling visualisations of what their new kitchen or bathroom design will look like with the latest CAD software. Some have, rather excitingly, gone one step further and have adopted Virtual Worlds technology to offer their customers immersive virtual reality 4D – making a dramatic impact on their experience.


But even just having a clear digital presence is beneficial in today’s market. Being able to provide potential customers with downloadable brochures and access to your brand via social media can make a huge difference. Look to the accounts of brands such as Ca’ Pietra and The Used Kitchen Company for inspiration on how to successfully engage with customers.

Outdoor kitchens

Keeping on top of trends can help you to stay one step ahead of your customer’s wants and needs. The rise in popularity of indoor/outdoor living spaces, for example, could be a great opportunity for kitchen retailers to capitalise on, as more consumers are opting for high spec outdoor kitchens and inspiring entertaining spaces in their gardens.


The likes of Konigstone and Burnout.Kitchen launched their latest outdoor kitchen products at the show in 2022, and we anticipate this could be an area for potential growth for retailers who can offer options such as stylish modular kitchen solutions that can be used all year round – even in this country! It’s all about keeping a fresh outlook and not being afraid to shake things up in order to stay relevant.


Want to keep your finger on the pulse for KBB industry trends and new launches? kbb Birmingham will be back next year from 3-6 March 2024 at the NEC Birmingham. It is the ideal destination to discover the latest product innovations and trends and network with the KBB industry. We look forward to seeing you there next year!

If you enjoyed reading this article, here is some more content we think you would enjoy: 

Want the latest KBB news delivered straight to your inbox?

 Join our mailing list and be first in line for exclusive show updates, insightful articles, in-depth interviews and much more.