Brighten up your sales

Deceuninck’s managing director Rob McGlennon says colour is the key to fabricators’ growth and success in 2020.

A new year means a fresh start, and most fabricators I speak to are optimistic about 2020. Whether or not you were pleased with December’s election result, we can all agree that a government in control of parliament gives Britain much-needed political stability. Confidence is returning as delayed or mothballed projects are given the go ahead.

Many window companies had a difficult 2019 with Fensa installation first-half statistics down over 8% compared to the same half in 2018. Over 2019 as a whole, PVC volume was virtually flat.

But these figures only tell part of the story because how well you’re doing depends on what market you’re in. If you’re selling ‘shiny’ white commodity frames to the mass middle and budget markets then your sales and prices will be under pressure. At the other end of the scale, the premium market, with colour and aspirational products like heritage flush sashes, sliders and composite doors, is growing healthily. It’s also pretty much immune to political and economic uncertainty, thanks to the still growing housing wealth of older, mostly over-55 homeowners.

This group – call them the ‘Haves’ – own much of Britain’s housing wealth and 90% of Britain’s savings. They can afford to invest in their homes. They want the best with style, quality and colour their top priorities.

Colour has grown from 20% to over 30% in the UK in the last 10 years, so it’s surprising that many fabricators sell very little colour. Why not? Maybe they don’t see the demand, or don’t have confidence in their supplier to help them sell colour. Long lead times, late or incomplete orders make colour a hassle for fabricators. More than that, their suppliers make it impossible to sell colour to their customers with confidence. So, they don’t push it.

But they’re missing out on what is undoubtedly the biggest opportunity in the market. They’re stuck with white because their supplier isn’t ‘colour-enabled’. With the white market shrinking, they’re like polar bears on a shrinking ice floe.

Not long after I joined Deceuninck, we invested in colour to give customers a sharper, more competitive edge. We saw the growing trend for colour inside and outside the home, and colour significantly outselling white in much of Europe. We saw the potential for colour here. We invested in state-of-the-art foiling plant, a world class foiling team and enough warehousing to hold mountains of foiled profile, end caps, sills and ancillaries. Other systems companies thought we were mad to offer 26 colourways from stock, because of the cost of funding all that extra stock. But being able to satisfy customer orders from stock meant that within two years our colour sales had jumped from 25% to 40%.

Our top 20 fabricators are now selling over 50% colour. G19 Fabricator of the Year Sternfenster MD Mike Parczuk said colour gives them a real edge in today’s market.

“Customer demand is becoming more about the aesthetics of a window,” he said. “Colour plays a huge part in this and Deceuninck’s colour range, product quality, service and deliveries are very good. Our ability to respond quickly to customers, knowing that whatever we order from Deceuninck will arrive on our next delivery, gives us a big sales advantage.”

Meanwhile, G19 Installer of the Year Nolan uPVC said colour was a crucial reason for switching to Deceuninck.

“We’ve built our 30-year reputation on putting the customer first,” MD Nolan Nicholas said. “It was this drive to give customers the very best service and products that prompted our move to Deceuninck. Deceuninck’s product range and 30 colourways from stock will give us a big sales advantage – both in the trade and retail side of the business.”

Today, colour is 60% of Deceuninck sales, and we’ve now extended our offer to 30 colourways from stock, with 20 more colours on a 15 working-day turnaround. Plus, there’s an even bigger selection of colours guaranteed to be with you in under five weeks. That huge sales advantage explains why we finished 2019 20% up on 2018 in a flat market. We’re tooled up for colour. Are you?

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