Steve Halford, Group Managing Director Crystal Direct is BMBI’s Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors.
First quarter sales of PVC-U windows and doors continued to grow rapidly. Merchants have seen the potential and are changing the way they sell. Independent merchants were well up, around 60% on the same period in 2016. National builders’ merchants are growing fast too.
Merchants are engaging more online, taking advantage of configuration and visualisation software that helps them sell bespoke products easily and quickly. Demand from in-branch show areas is also developing fast.
Showrooms make it easier for builders’ merchants to engage with their builder and contractor customers. They are especially effective with high value home improvement products such as kitchens and bathrooms, but they create more engaging customer experiences for quality PVC-U windows and windows too. Showrooms help merchants sell more.
It’s important that merchants and suppliers continue to work together to deliver a ‘multi-channel’ approach to marketing high-ticket home improvement products. Savvy customers do their online research first, to find helpful, relevant content and their perceived product solution. But then, ready to buy, merchants need to follow through at branch level with knowledgeable staff and strong representation of the product, backed by reliable, on-time deliveries. Coordinated, direct to site deliveries are also valuable in helping to merchants drive sales.
Bespoke PVC-U windows and doors have opened up a big, new market for merchants. A range that was once complicated to supply is now easy to sell, and with the quality, choice and speed of service their builder customers look for. Merchants’ success has been so strong, in an otherwise flattish PVC window market, that even the national window retailers are softening their approach, and focussing more on product than aggressive pricing.
Although we’re living in uncertain times with rising inflation and an impending General Election, this market is still young and in its fast growth stage. We’re expecting that fast growth to continue in Quarter 2.