It seemed obvious that our showrooms would be closed to visitors, deliveries would be postponed and pianos would yearn a tuning. But one thing we didn’t foresee was the shift in confidence to buy online: buy a piano online (who’d ever think this would be the new normal). Shortly before lockdown, piano tutors were calling at the masses to ask how to safely sanitise the keytops between lessons. Days later, we were in lockdown.
Attending the showrooms to collect post, top up the plants and humidifiers and select essential items from the office to bring to my new office at home, I observed how eerily quiet the town was on otherwise a busy market Wednesday. Delivery vehicles seemed the only presence on the roads but overall it was a ghost town with a few shoppers anxiously walking to the supermarkets and grocery stores – some with gloves, masks, face shields. Remembering this was in the initial stages of lockdown, there was the clear social awkwardness and hesitation of keeping the safe distance. A lifetime of being approachable suddenly turns to being the avoidable.
As my buying habits were changing with safety of my family at the forefront – I realised this could very possibly become a longer term style. The local farm shop provided a phone and collect service and the grocer launched a mixed random box of fruit and veg for £20 with doorstep delivery. It was evident I was probably paying a bit more, but I was getting great service at a time when it was needed most. I also liked the curisosity of receiving a few items I otherwise would not have chosen, but discovering new likes within the home. I was back with my local shops yet I was safer than visiting supermarkets. Certainly not what I expected.
It’s evident that I was now more able to work, while being able to be a father and partner without leaving the home except to go for a run (a new thing). Seeking to establish some routine I found a list forming of DIY, exercise and homegrowing; and baking – getting the most from every bit of produce. My values were changing – for the better.
Then my inbox popped up with a few unexpected sales enquiries. Could people really be thinking about buying a piano now? Well I suppose – yes, absolutely. And I am guilty for keeping busy seeking normality and structure some routine. Spending this much time at home has enabled us to change what we wanted to change – be it in ourselves or our homes. Becoming more tech savy is an obvioius one for many: video calls with family, friends, colleagues and customers; needing to order products and produce online; streaming boxsets when the TV isn’t enough; watching “How To…” video guides on youtube; baking, growing, cooking from the ground up; but I am so confident from the number of enquiries that have come through that there is a resurgence in learning piano and those who have a piano are wanting to enjoy it more with a better piano.
I have to say, I was most surprised to see a spike in online orders. On responding to customer enquiries by email and phone, the order inbox came alive and customers were placing orders for pianos – even when a delivery service was not immediately available. The passion for piano was still alive in the onset of lockdown and this was just the start of something new. I realised that being closed didn’t mean not being open for business. I was at home with family and getting admin done, books up to date, responding to emails and calls. Attending the showrooms for anything essential but still largely at home. When delivery services resumed – albeit on a reduced service – there was a need to go into to prepare the pianos and oversee deliveries in and out.
Whilst the showroom is not yet open to visitors, it is clear that there have been many changes to lifestyle both personal and commercial – with an inspiring confidence that pianos are needed and we are needed. Finding the work/life balance seems to have been forced upon us and it is feeling like a positive outcome that I would like to retain. Happy to report good things as we often hear the contrary. I say this while also beaming a smile that the local suppliers of produce have won me back as a customer and I feel this is a trend to stay.
A great thing to hear within this transition to buying online is the confidence provided to an otherwise nervous customer. Our reputation for piano preparation overcame the fear of chosing the wrong piano or simply buying a piano online – knowing we have thoroughly set the instrument up to its full potential in a responsive touch and smooth even tone. It simplified the buying process and assured the best instrument for the price and need.
There are many who would not usually buy anything online, especially pianos. But this covid outbreak has forced us to make changes and in some cases it was introduced the world of ecommerce. For me, it has done just that as a seller; whilst as a buyer I am reconnected to my local grocers.
I hope to announce a doors open date soon. Until then, note our online service has grown with prompt delivery service and measures in place to provide great confidence.