Volume 10, Issue 2                     March/April  2006

by Tom Niziolek

Give The People What They Want

While flipping through some 400 television channels recently, I landed on a commercial for the Scion, Toyota’s breakthrough family of new vehicles. The advertisement showed a Scion zipping through city streets, continuously morphing into different configurations. Each reflected a different driver’s lifestyle and personality. Then it dawned on me. The Scion badge is successful not because the car outperforms others, but because it outpersonalizes others. 

Whether cable packages or automobile styles, today’s consumer has a single demand: more choice. The window film industry is no different. Home styling programs dominate television programming, increasing residential customers’ design knowledge and product expectations. This awareness is creating a tremendous opportunity for window film providers, but it also challenges our ability to meet such varied needs.

Overcoming this challenge requires a concerted effort among manufacturers, distributors and dealers. Each link of the supply chain plays a vital role in securing consumer confidence.

Today’s manufacturer must commit to product innovation. It is no longer sufficient to make a handful of high-quality film products. Informed consumers know exactly what they want, and few will settle for less than the perfect complement to their project vision. Of course, aesthetics are only part of the equation. Because the way a product performs is just as important as the way it looks, manufacturers are compelled to prioritize research and development to ensure their materials live up to the most rigorous performance expectations.

It is in the area of setting consumer expectations that distributors begin to assume responsibility. As the critical link between the manufacturer and retailer, distributors are required to communicate highly technical information to their network of dealers in language that the average consumer can understand. To accomplish this goal, window film distributors must remain on the cutting edge of legislative developments, product testing and consumer trends.

Even educated consumers sometimes need professional guidance, particularly when selecting a product as sophisticated as solar control glass films. As the market becomes increasingly crowded with specialized materials, the need for dealers to establish themselves as “trusted advisors” becomes paramount. Sales will rely on the dealer’s ability to help buyers narrow product options to a short list of films that meet their unique design and functional requirements.

Providing consumers with the power to choose requires more than increasing the number of stock keeping units (SKUs). It demands that every company involved in developing, supplying or installing a product more tightly align its business with that of its partners. In the end, however, the consumer wins – and when the consumer wins, so too does the entire supply chain.

Tom Niziolek is marketing manager for Madico Inc. and the current president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA).

©2006 Key Communications Inc. 385 Garrisonville Road, Suite 116, Stafford, VA  22554
Phone: 540/720-5584, Fax: 540/720-5687 e-mail: film@glass.com