Remember when we all said the conservatory market as we knew it was dead? Well it still is, this post isn’t here to tell you it has risen from it’s ashes, because it hasn’t it’s still very much dead. But what we are seeing right now is an evolution in glazed extensions which is changing the game completely.
Notice I said “glazed extension” as opposed to “conservatories”. That’s all because of the new crop of products out there on the market which is changing the way we sell them. Since products from the likes of Ultraframe, such as the Cornice gutter, Livin Room internal pelmets and the Loggia with it’s columns have come along, they have inspired not only the end users to am higher, but also ourselves.
For example, we have had this Loggia on our showsite for just over a year now:
We went for the black aluminium Cornice gutter, low profile cresting and ball finial. As well as the Livin Room detail internally, with spotlights:
We also have another glazed extension on site which we renewed recently, but we went for the fluted columns by Window Widgets via John Fredericks with that one. We did though go for white aluminium Cornice gutters and Livin Room detail. And to be quite honest, it’s one of the best additions we’ve made to the showsite in years.
Admittedly we would have liked to have sold a few more full fat Loggia by this point, however already this year we have got some in the pipeline. But the biggest game changer for us has been the Cornice gutters and Livin Room details. They have managed to breath life into the glazed extension market by being able to turn something both customers and I think deep down installers were turning off from, into something which looks substantially better looking, more energy efficient, and quite frankly something which we can all start to have a bit of pride about again.
Customers were turning away from standard conservatories just as the recession started to bite. It was that economic downturn which hammered the final nails into that coffin. And perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing. I think it helped spur on the new range of glazed extension options we have at our disposal now. Orangeries, Loggias, fluted columns of all types and fancy ancillary products have been the end result of forced diversification and good Lord how it has worked!
I was having a chat with the gaffer the other day about this and he said that to his knowledge, since we had the black Loggia (above) installed and the other white glazed extension installed on the showsite, every single glazed extension has had the Cornice gutter and Livin Room detail barring one!
A few have had the Loggia columns, but only one since the showsite upgrades has gone for what we would call a normal conservatory; standard gutters, polycarbonate roof etc. We have signed up another two this week, both going for Cornice and Livin Room. In the grand scheme of things these upgrades aren’t all that expensive and this is what has helped shift them in large units. Make this sort of thing too expensive, make it hard for people to justify the extra cash, and that’s a sure fire way to kill off it’s chances straight away. But in my own opinion they’re not expensive, and for what they are, they’re actually decent value.
Customers still need a bit of educating in them though. They’re not yet coming in off the street asking for them. All the jobs we have sold with the Cornice and Livin Room have been because we have shown them on site, not because they have seen it elsewhere. It’s not a bad thing, and it does prove that seeing them in the flesh does help sell it. If we can get the information about these products into the customer domain mainstream and regularly, I believe that sales could be boosted hugely.
Still, that time will come I suppose. What is great though is that the game has changed. The conservatory has evolved into the glazed extension and we all now have something decent to sell!
What has been your experience? Have funky ancillary products helped rejuvenate your glazed extension business? Are you selling many Loggias? All comments welcome in the section below.