This really is the age of aluminium and sliding patio doors. Who would have thought that about five years ago? Well it really is. And a good sign of the strength in a sector is when a brand new company and product is announced. This is what we have with Viiu.
So, what do we know thus far?
Brand new company
A quick look on Companies House shows that Viiu Ltd was incorporated on June 4th of this year. So incredibly fresh to the sector. As is being reported on other media outlets, Viiu, which is pronounced “view”, is a new high end aluminium sliding door company.
According to the company, their new product comes with ultra-slim sight lines and laminated glass throughout. They say that their door sections can shift up to 750kg of glass. If true, that would be an extraordinary figure and would surely set a new level on what sliding door sashes can cope with.
Looking at the various reports, it looks like the door comes with what they call a “unique electric locking mechanism” which is concealed in the head of the frame, which is 100mm tall and has been designed to be hidden away behind the facade of a building. Moving a 750kg sash I imagine isn’t the easiest thing to do, so it will be very interesting to see how this system works when the product and website goes live.
They do have a holding page for their upcoming website: www.viiu.co.uk – there’s a few rotating images and some contact details. It doesn’t give the game away. And why would it. There’s hype to build! They are on Twitter however, you can find them here: @viiu_UKOfficial, so be sure to follow them if you want to keep an eye on their feed as they tease out more information in the coming days and weeks.
So, a high-end, ultra-slim, electrified locking, mega-sized luxury aluminium sliding patio door. Sounds good. But it will have to make a very big splash in a pool that already has a few swimmers. Not my best analogy sorry.
Rush for market share
There’s no doubting that high-end aluminium and sliding patio doors are both products that are very much in vogue now. The benefits are obvious. Slim sight lines, big glazed areas flooding in light and creating almost unobstructed views. Things the already popular bi-folding doors are unable to match, no matter the product. As it looks now, the ali/slider combo is set to be a strong growth area for our sector.
However, Viiu joins an industry that already has the likes of AluK, Schuco, Reynaers and others that already offer their own high-end sliding doors capable of large scales and big weights. Perhaps that is why then Viiu is already touting special features like their max glass weight, head profile height and electronic locking mechanism.
It is their USPs that they are going to have to rely on to differentiate from the rest. The aluminium industry is becoming more acutely aware of the levels of demand not just for aluminium products in general but for larger scale, high-end big luxury doors. That demand is only going to go north in the next few years. I actually think that over time we could see the growth in bi-fold door sales slow, with that vigour being sent to the sliding patio door space instead.
I think the one area Viiu could steal a march is in their marketing. The big established aluminium companies, at least from what I have seen, aren’t red hot on marketing their big patio door options. You look at companies like Brisant, Solidor, REAL Aluminium etc and how effective their marketing has been. Everyone knows of these companies within our sector and have become deeply rooted. I think there is an opportunity here for Viiu to replicate and become the name that sticks for installers looking for a leading high-end aluminium sliding door option. At this moment it’s not clear whether their marketing is being done in-house or whether they are employing the services of an external company for those duties. This will become clearer when the product and website comes online properly.
On the face of it, this looks like a promising product, so long as the USPs touted by the company are as good as they say they are. It could force the others to take another look at their own offerings and give them a tweak. I will keep an eye out on the company and when more information becomes available.
If the Viiu owners are reading, hit me up on [email protected], always happy to learn a bit more about what you do!
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