Getting into a niche market

Not all that long ago, aluminium was still relatively niche. As far as most installers and end users were concerned, it was a specialist material, only suitable for very specific purposes – heavy-duty commercial developments, high-end residential projects, etc. That’s all changed, according to The Window Outlet’s managing director Ben Warren.

The explosive rise of residential aluminium windows and doors has been one of the key stories of the last 20 years in fenestration. Today, the material is prized for its sleek, highly customisable looks, higher margins, and exceptional all round performance – and installers around the country have eagerly sought to capitalise on surging demand. But for companies previously only used to PVCU, it can feel like a daunting leap.

Today, we are helping PVCU installers around the Bristol region to diversify into aluminium.

Aluminium firms have a reputation for being slow and inflexible. When we started The Window Outlet, we wanted to completely turn that on its head – putting the systems and procedures in place to deliver the level of quick, efficient service that installers have come to expect from PVCU fabricators, and doing everything we could to help them expand into offering both materials.

For the first ten years of my career, I worked in PVCU fabrication, and would spend hours talking to PVCU installers every week. I know how daunting the idea of starting to supply a whole new material can be – and that’s why we offer comprehensive support to customers in that position, including a training day that covers both the products we provide, and how to properly order them.

A pen and paper sketch might feel like the quickest and easiest way of submitting an order, but in the long run that’s often not the case. They can be vague and unclear, and, in the worst cases, require a lot of back and forth between us and the customer to get it right – and the longer that process takes, the longer it is before the customer gets the product. By taking the time to sit down with our clients and show them the most efficient way to order at the very start, we make everyone’s lives easier.

The Window Outlet has always been about maximising convenience for the trade. We’ve demonstrated that by implementing everything from 24-hour quote turnarounds to two-week lead times, both virtually unheard of outside of PVCU. They are also valuable USPs in a market where installers are facing increasing competition.

Our bifold builder is just another measure designed to make it as easy as possible for customers to do business with us. We’re seeing the numbers of people accessing the builder growing all the day, and we expect that to continue. We’re constantly on the look-out for new ways to further improve the quality of the service we provide – so expect more initiatives designed to make it even simpler to deal with The Window Outlet in the months and years ahead.

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