Composites for a new generation

Gareth Busson head of sales and marketing at Solidor Group, considers the role of the door in the home improvement decision.

Our success, and that of the composite door market over the last 10 years, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Entrance doors are driving sales for home improvement companies, who are then selling on the back of this with PVCU windows, aluminium bifolding doors, and other low maintenance products that are in vogue.

Key market drivers are often hard to identify when they’re not in the form of legislative requirements or distress-led purchases, and are more of an aspirational nature. If you consider how often we open some windows in a typical UK house then it’s often less than infrequent, yet the entrance door is used multiple times each day.

There’s far more propensity to damage and hardware failure. Also, as homeowners, we are now less likely to move. We’re investing in our homes now for the longer-term, while home security still remains the number one key driver in entrance door sales. All factors that have an influence on the prospects for the composite door industry.

We’ve seen first-hand the benefit of our £1,000 security guarantee with the Ultion cylinder, which we offer as standard with both our Residor and Solidor brands, as it’s a key sales message. It helps make each of these two propositions the most secure of their type in the sector, so not only can we offer beautiful doors, but we can back them with real high security as standard. There’s also an upgrade on the Solidor offering, to £5,000 when specified with the Lock Lock security handle.

Not only are we replacing timber doors as a sector, but also first generation panelled doors and composite doors which are both coming to the end of their respective useful lives. The design and colours available on a modern-day composite door can literally transform the front of a house too for a moderate ticket price.

With all these variables and more having a strong influence on demand, homeowners are also looking to keep up with their neighbours, and so the market becomes very much self-perpetuating until we reach saturation point, which I would suggest is nowhere near soon and certainly not for the next decade. But, we’re not sitting back and assuming market dynamics will continue to fuel our strong growth, as our marketing programme has long been the means to drive greater consumer demand.

The Solidor brand has been carefully nurtured over the years and now our online presence is unsurpassed in the sector, as we boast more than 120,000 unique views every month and, arguably more importantly, over 2,500 sales leads per month to our network of installation partners, many of which have been generated through our Door Designer. The same platform and user interface has also been adopted by Residor, which is enjoying record breaking growth thanks to otif levels in excess 99% with deliveries in just five days.

Many of our Solidor customers are now adding Residor to their product portfolio as a mid-market offering, thanks to the marketing and the service levels we offer to both fabricators and installers. Our customers know the value in the brands within Solidor Group, which also includes the panel side of the business, Nicedor, and have been accustomed to outstanding marketing and the generous returns it can offer. We’re even providing our customers with the Door Designer platform for their own respective websites.

The entrance and composite door markets show no sign of slowing down well in to the medium and long-term, which is good news for us all. However, we must continue to understand the key drivers of product design, lasting performance and utmost security among others.

For our customers, the brand and marketing deliverables have helped catapult sales forward each year, as we continue to invest throughout the business and in our Nicedor, Residor and Solidor brands.