Volume 14, Issue 4 - May 2013

From The Publisher

Window Shopping
Are More People Doing it Online?
by Tara Taffera

“People love to buy but hate to be sold,” says Dan Wolt, president of Zen
Windows in Columbus, Ohio. That’s why Wolt’s company is having success selling his windows online—he only goes to a home when the product is ordered and ready to install.

With the online world exploding around us, complete with social media and secure ways to make purchases via the web, it’s no wonder distribution lines are once again changing.
You can find out all about Wolt’s successful model in our feature article on page 42. But I also want to share a conversation I had with an industry CEO who didn’t wish to be identified but has more than 40 years of experience as a distributor of door and millwork products.

Following are some of my takeaways from our conversation.

Supply chain challenges: “There are challenges to the supply chain as we are two steps away from the end user. So we changed in that we now have more visibility with the end user and that is a necessary level.
Even though research and transactions are done more online the existing building supply is in total denial of how fast all of this is changing.”

Need for speed: “What hits me in the face is that the demand for speed and convenience is trumping even security. People are becoming less concerned about their online security even though there are more hackers who can access your
private information. Our thirst is for convenience and speed.”

It is happening. “Doors are very ripe for buying online as well as windows. The industry’s immediate response was, ‘It’s too heavy—they won’t ship doors.’ That’s the first problem. Amazon didn’t work when they first tried it and now they have taken over the world.”

Don’t be surprised: “Everyone tries to outrun everything as long as they can … It’s not an easy thing to solve but what I fear is it will catch people by surprise in the next ten years and have an impact on their

Give this serious thought: “I am< not suggesting everyone has to start going direct but they need to upgrade how they apply technology to their business. That’s the first thing they can do that is relatively easy and affordable. Improve your websites so they can serve as a legitimate research destination. The guys who make the best websites are the window manufacturers. Distributors are kind of invisible so to speak. The end user is not aware of them and they could provide a valuable resource by applying technology to their websites.”

Along that note, check out our article on page 46 regarding essential elements of a website for a door
and window dealer. Blue Corona, a web analytics company, analyzed more than 3,000 door and window dealer websites and found what factors help influence web rankings. Find out how the industrystacks up overall and what websites come out on top.

Wolt may be right: homeownerslove to buy but hate to be sold. So if they are window shopping online, or at least doing web research, make sure your info is there for the taking. What is holding you back? I would love to hear from you. Email me at ttaffera@glass.com


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