Photos courtesy of  
Windows, Doors and More,  
and Tom Adams Windows  
and Carpets.  
Showrooms: Leave the  
Lights On For a While  
In the Digital Age, These Remain a  
Vital Piece of the Sales Puzzle  
B Y T R E Y B A R R I N E A U  
Door & Window Market  
recent informal survey on  
DWM’s website indicates that  
showrooms aren’t a big deal  
anymore in the door and win-  
dow industry. About 88 percent  
of respondents say they’re no longer a  
vital part of their business.  
But that doesn’t mean the bricks-  
and-mortar display area is something  
else that’s been disrupted out of exis-  
tence by the Internet. Retail experts  
contacted by DWM say a company’s  
website and showroom must work  
together as part of a well-executed  
modern marketing and sales plan.  
When I buy windows, the first  
place I go is online,” says Jeff Grant of  
Grant Retail Design in La Jolla, Calif.  
Windows Doors and More is one of DWM’s fastest growing dealers  
(see page 30) and obviously believes in the power of a great showroom.  
“But I’m not going to spend $20,000  
on windows and doors and not feel  
them. At the same time, I might go prevalent than “showrooming,” where showroomers have also web-roomed,  
touch it and feel it at the showroom, customers browse in stores before just six out of ten web-roomers have  
and then go buy it online.”  
buying online.  
Research supports Grant’s point.  
While three-quarters of men (75  
“Usually customers search online  
AccordingtoaJune2014reportfrom percent) web-room, just over half (53 first and then come to showroom,”  
Merchant Warehouse, “web-room- percent) showroom. Similarly, women says Michal Bohm of B.M. Windows in  
ing,” where shoppers research prod- are more likely to web-room (63 per- San Diego.” I would say that about 30  
ucts online and then visit an actual cent) than showroom (40 percent).  
store to make a purchase, is a lot more  
Furthermore, while nine out of ten  
continued on page 38  
Mobile, Web-Based Tools  
howrooms will probably always be professionals and homeowners.  
part of the door and window indus- The marketing tool features the  
try, but digital tools are becoming Therma-Tru portfolio of fiberglass  
hugely important as well. doors in the most popular sizes, as  
Here are a few that might give well as decorative, privacy and spe-  
hands-on displays a run for their money. cialty glass.  
Renoworks has created dozens of  
Guardian Industries’ Guardian  
visualizer apps for door and window Window InSight is a mobile app  
companies. They help homeowners designed to help contractors and  
and dealers configure doors and win- remodelers educate homeowners on  
dows based on a photo of a residence. the best options for new or replace-  
Companies using Renoworks prod- ment windows.  
ucts include Renewal by Andersen,  
The mobile application is organized  
Milgard, Raynor, Norandex, ODL, into three main areas: Buyer’s Guide,  
ProVia, Window World, PlastPro, Toolbox and Technical Library. The  
Infinity by Marvin, Cascade Windows, Buyer’s Guide offers clear explana-  
All Weather Windows and Polaris.  
tions of windows and glass perfor-  
TheDoorWaysappfromTherma- mance, through animations, relating comprehensive glossary of terms to  
Tru brings mobile shopping and visual- performance metrics to real-world educate users about everything from  
ization into one tool that speeds up the installations.  
how glass is made to how glass coat-  
selection and buying process for trade  
The Technical Library provides a ings respond to temperature.  
June/July 2016  
continued from page 37  
make a sizable investment in doors and windows will want  
to touch and feel the samples.”  
Grant agrees, and says the showroom is the place where  
you’re as likely to be selling the attributes of your company  
as you are a window.  
Brian Brock of Hullco Exteriors in Chattanooga, Tenn., a  
top door and window dealer in easternTennessee, agrees that  
it’s important to have both a strong website and a solid show-  
room. He believes the website is crucial as well.  
“The value in the website is that it’s open 24/7,” he said.  
“People can gather detailed production information and  
look at photos for inspiration, all from the comfort of their  
home on their own terms. Meanwhile, the showroom gives  
customers the opportunity to see and feel the products, and  
yes, there is value in seeing and operating full-size products.”  
Cori Brown of Franklin Window and Door in Carmel,  
Ind., agrees  
“I think that with a smaller window and door supplier,  
like ourselves, website outreach is so important in regards  
to drawing in potential clients and informing them before  
they enter the showroom,” she says. “But, even with the  
importance of our online presence, I don’t foresee our  
showroom being supplanted any time soon. With products  
that are so critical to the aesthetics and energy efficiency  
of a home, people really feel more at ease stopping by the  
showroom and seeing those products in person. It really is  
such an important decision for our clients, and I think it’s  
vital to offer them in-person assistance.”  
Web-Showroom Interaction  
Both Grant and Birnbaum think websites and show-  
rooms can be part of a complete sales package—and that’s  
especially important for smaller companies.  
Research shows that “webrooming” is more popular than  
showrooming. With the former, customers research products  
online but then visit a store to touch and feel the windows  
and doors.  
“If you’re going to have a showroom, you have to make it  
different from a website,” Grant says. “For a smaller, inde-  
pendent window and door place to compete on the web  
is next to impossible. What they have to do is this—have a  
percent of our customers will at some point come to our kick-ass, search-optimized website.”  
showroom to try the product.”  
Birnbaum agrees—to a point.  
I am a true believer that a strong website helps any  
business, and depending on the business, the overall look  
Beyond “Just Looking”  
Another expert in retail display thinks door of the website is valuable,” he says. “If you are selling  
and window showrooms aren’t going away any- branded items such as Andersen, much of your story line is  
time soon, mainly because the products are already sold with a proven brand customers have learned to  
pricey and require a significant investment of time and depend on. If you are a private label product line, the credit-  
money from the homeowners.  
ably is critical to tell. We know that the big box Home Depot  
“I do not see the need for a showroom to diminish going or Lowe’s are often the go-to site for homeowners. However,  
forward,” says Jerry Birnbach of RDD Associates in Granite we know that service and product knowledge are not their  
Springs, N.Y. “These products are expensive and have sig- strong subjects. You need to position your website to be  
nificant maintenance costs depending on the type of con- credible, which means a range of styles and prices, avail-  
struction methods that are implemented. When it comes to ability of stock, guarantees, warranties, savings, years in  
windows and doors, there are three distinct issues that most business, expertise and service available to the customer.”  
customers are concerned about. The factors are size, style  
But that strong website is just the hook to get the poten-  
and performance. As a result, a showroom is critical and tial shopper into the showroom.  
will always be of value, because a customer who is about to  
“Once you have them on the line, it is all about reeling  
Door & Window Market  
them in,” Birnbaum says. “That is accomplished with an  
instant chat option with a live person, or a call number with  
a live person always able to answer questions and persuade  
the customer to come into the showroom. With the correct  
staff in place within the showroom, your likelihood of making  
the sale is much greater than if left alone on the Internet to  
make the final decision to purchase. The main advantage of  
the website is to stop the customer from wanting to look any-  
where else whether online or in a bricks-and-mortar store.”  
That echoes the experiences of Sean Miller of Martel  
Windows and Doors in Texas.  
I used to look at showrooms as a necessary evil because  
the brick and mortar adds credibility to a business,” he says.  
I felt that with hand samples, corner section, brochures  
and digital tools, sales could be handled in clients’ homes  
or offices and add the convenience of coming to them.  
However, when I started to create showrooms, I began to see  
how much of a closing tool the showroom could become.”  
Finally, Grant says showrooms and websites are just part  
of a company’s total marketing plan.  
I would develop that strong local presence and I would  
work real hard on the social media end as well,” he says.  
You have to do everything correctly. The showroom’s got  
to be right, the salespeople have got to be right, the prices  
have to be right, the internet has to be right.”  
June/July 2016