Volume 10, Issue 6 - July/August 2009

On Display
Vital Sales Could be Lost if Your Customer Doesn’t Have Adequate Displays
by Samantha Carpenter

Jim Young knows how vital product displays and samples are to selling doors and windows. His company, Vision Products in New Kensington, Pa., builds samples and displays for door and window showrooms as well as countertop displays and cases that can be carried into an end-user’s home.

Young has customers who tell him they want all their products to be available to take into the home.
“We once had a salesperson send us window parts in a Wal-Mart bag. He said he would carry the parts into the home [like that]. Needless to say, he was pretty pleased with the soft-side bag we sold him,” Young explains.

If you are a door or window manufacturer and some of your customers lack adequate displays or sample cases, they—and you—could be missing out on some valuable sales.

Emes Marketing Inc. also manufactures and sells displays for windows, doors (entry, interior and storm), garage doors and more.

“The overwhelming theme of all of our displays is to display maximum product in a minimum amount of space,” explains Mark Shields, owner of the company.

“This is especially beneficial in today’s economic times, as people are down-sizing their showroom space and/or their booth sizes at trade shows and home shows.”

Shields, like Young, has some interesting stories about door and window displays.

“Prior to buying our displays, many of our customers were literally leaning their door and window samples up against their showroom walls, trying to be very careful not to handle them too much so that they would not fall over,” Shields says.

DAC Products Inc. in East Bend, N.C., is another manufacturer of displays. Todd Woods, vice president of sales and marketing, explains that his company produces displays for showrooms, rolling displays for showrooms, plus smaller portable carrying cases that can convert into stand-alone displays.

"Prior to buying our displays, many of our customers were literally leaning their
door and window samples up against their showroom walls, trying to be very careful not
to handle them too much so that they would not fall over. "
—Mark Shields, Emes Marketing Inc.

No More Complaints

DAC once had a customer who purchased some handles to screw directly to the side of their windows samples, and their customers sold the windows in the home to consumers.

“Our customer was getting consistent complaints that sample windows had problems with the jambs bowing out, and our customer knew they were going through extreme quality checks in the sample department to assure flawless samples. They did not understand what was going on or why the complaints they were receiving were just on the samples,” Woods explains.

“When we did hear about the problem, we called the customer and talked them into trying a few of our cases. Once they saw that the problem was solved, they started using window carrying cases and the complaints went away and sales went up,” Woods says.

What You See is
What You Get

Not only is it important for customers to see products without defect, it’s important for them to know exactly what they are buying.

“I have often heard dealers comment that they’ve had customers come back to them, after they were sold a door or window by seeing a picture of it in a magazine or catalogue, complaining that the installed product was not exactly what they thought it would look like from the picture they saw,” Shields says. “Displaying multiple full-size doors and windows has actually decreased customer complaints and returns. Additionally, displaying ‘nicer’ customer doors and windows over usual ones gives the dealer a chance to standout from the crowd, while at the same time, highlight those doors and windows that may have larger dollar margins.”

While these display and sample-case manufacturers know how important the right display product is for door and window product sales, do their customers?

Realistic Representation
Jeremy Melis is marketing manager for MAI Inc. in Wylie Texas. He says while literature and websites are always great places for customers to do their research, “nothing sells a high-end product like a wood door better than having a display that customers can touch and feel in person.”

Jeff Williams, corporate marketing manager for Schield Family Brands, which includes Weather Shield Windows and Doors, agrees that displays give customers a realistic representation of what the product will look like once it’s installed in a wall.

He explains that Schield splits the cost of displays with dealers and their displays are produced in-house and outsourced, depending on the complexity of the displays.

“Modular displays are flexible units that can be set up to fit within the space available at a dealer. They have movable walls and returns, which can store corner sections and accessories. Dealers can specify which windows they want to include in either modular or built-in displays when they place the order with a manufacturer, so the display showcases products specific to their geographic region or customer demographic,” Williams says.

Kelly Reynolds, director of marketing services at JELD-WEN, concurs.

“Well-crafted displays are essential when it comes to selling a product and brand, as they can help reinforce key attributes, attract attention and promote important features and benefits,” Reynolds says. “For a salesperson, they can help bring a product to life for the customer. That’s because it can be difficult for customers to imagine just how much the right window and door can improve the curb appeal and architectural style of their home until they see it for themselves—
great displays help them envision the possibilities and better understand how these products will function and perform in their own homes.”

Matthew O’Shea, director of marketing at GlassCraft Door Corp. in Houston, agrees that displays are instrumental to dealers and distributors. “The displays have a direct affect on sales. The more time and energy spent on the showroom design, layout and point-of-purchase graphics and information, the better the return on money and time invested.”

Whether you provide your customers with displays and sample cases or divide the cost, it’s important to make sure your customer is displaying product correctly.

Melis says a good story about the effectiveness of displays came from Mike McDaniel, president of McDaniel Window & Door Co. in Florence, Ala.

“He had an MAI display in his showroom that he would keep accent lighting on at night. One night, a customer drove past on her way home from a concert in town, saw the door through the window, and called her husband saying she found their door [for their home],” says McDaniel.

Samantha Carpenter is a contributing writer for DWM magazine.

© Copyright 2009 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.