The latest Insight Data Window Industry Market Report gave us a wealth of information about the UK window and door industry. Some of it we knew, some of it we didn’t. But one of the more interesting nuggets within the report demonstrated that showrooms were definitely back on the rise.

Physical presence in an internet age

We all know about the power of the internet. It’s become the most vital tool in any business’s plans. It has brought many advantages and has allowed us to reach other market sectors that we wouldn’t have been able to previously. But one thing it cannot do is show you a window or door product in the flesh.

This is where a showroom becomes vitally important. I have long vouched for the importance of a showroom. It’s one of the best assets and sales team has. It’s their environment, where they can demonstrate to the potential customer the various USPs and advantages their products give over the competition. By my estimate, at our place we reckon at least eight out of ten people who visit our showroom end up buying from us. That’s a good conversion rate!

So whilst having a strong online presence is important, a quality showroom has to compliment the rest of the business to back up the sales side. Bringing in samples to people’s homes doesn’t really work now. But a welcoming, high quality showroom creates the wow factor that customers will then find hard to walk away from.

Still not enough

According to the latest Insight Data report, there are now over 12,600 installers. That number has been rising over the past few years, now the recession is a memory and positivity has returned. But if you look at the featured image at the top of this page you’ll see that there are only 3473 showrooms. That equates to just one showroom for every 3.63 installers. That is a poor ratio.

Now I know that for some installation companies space is an issue, so a showroom will always be something out of reach. But I don’t believe that that is the situation for the 9000+ companies without a showroom. A homeowner doing the rounds will want to see a variety of showrooms. So on average, if they go to see four companies, they may only see one showroom. And no guessing as to which business is going to win their order.

For me, every installation company should have a showroom of some kind, where possible. It doesn’t have to be spectacular every time, but if a potential customer comes knocking on your door asking to see what products you can offer them, they’re going to want to see a showroom and not a few glossy brochures.

The high end market

There has been a lot of diversification within the market over the past few years. There are many more luxury ranges of products now, especially in the PVCu and aluminium sectors. Installers have learned that the more profitable jobs lie at the higher end of the market. And this is very true, and something where we’re going with our won installation company.

But you can’t start to get into that part of the market without a quality showroom. Quite often these large scale, high quality contracts run into the tens of thousands of pounds. These are long projects too, taking up months rather than weeks of your time. A customer will also be making a lot more than just a single visit to your company, given that they’re spending a lot of their hard earned cash. A high quality showroom environment, displaying the high end products you’re asking them to buy, is an absolute must.

For the bespoke, high value business, you have to create the impression of luxury and bespoke in your showroom. The customer has to come to expect that what they see in your brilliant showroom is what will be created in their own home. Crack that, and you’ll quickly find yourselves winning a lot more of those big contracts you’ve been aiming for.

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