How digital grows business

Russell Hand, head of product management and technical, discusses how the Connect platform is becoming a fundamental part of growing fabricator and installers’ businesses.

The events of 2020 have accelerated many modern trends; for example, daily life has long been nigh-on-impossible without a smartphone in hand, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. In fact, TeleGeography reported that Europe’s international peak traffic growth increased by 44% since 2019.

And perhaps the biggest shift we’ve seen is in relation to purchasing behaviours: physical buying is becoming slicker by the day, and online shopping has sped up ten-fold. According to tech consultants Capgemini, over half of consumers are willing to spend more if they can avoid interacting with a retail clerk. You only have to look at Amazon’s latest figures to see its subscription revenue has gone from $5.0 billion in Q3 of 2019, to $6.6 billion in Q3 of 2020.

I think it would be naïve to believe such trends aren’t going to significantly impact the entire window decision-making process.

We aim to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to business support for customers. Many fabricators and installers will already know of the Connect platform, but this year we expect to see more and more customers using its features to help to grow their businesses. Below are some of the key principles informing the platform, and how they can help businesses plan for 2021.

Better qualification of leads. The window industry is undeniably in demand and no-one could have forecast the recent influx of home improvement requests. While many are reaping the rewards of this wave now, it would not be unreasonable to expect consumer spending to be funnelled back into other sectors like leisure and travel once we start to get back to some sort of normality post-pandemic. Therefore, time needs to be spent wisely, knowing leads coming through the door are worth pursuing.

Consumers are also researching more than ever nowadays, inundating businesses with requests for quotes. This isn’t always ideal, and a fundamental reason why we designed Connect to pre-qualify leads for users. The screening process ensures homeowners are looking for reliable and professional partners who provide a fast, high-quality service. It then connects installers looking for nearby homeowners interested in relevant products, who genuinely need windows. In turn, this helps tradespeople receive qualified contracts that help to increase the probability of winning a job. These contacts are validated by asking a number of questions relating to window volumes and project drivers.

Perfecting the sales pitch. The digital world is full of visual inspiration for consumers, so traditional trades are having to up their game. Often, customers will ask during the quotation process how their completed windows and doors will look. Using digital visual sales tools, installers and fabricators can stay ahead of competitors by answering this customer question before purchasing. For example, Connect’s 3D visualiser allows the user to rotate and turn the windows and doors in all directions, giving a realistic impression to the customer. It also allows tradespeople to create a personalised homeowner quote with their company logo, details of the configured windows and a sketch of the windows with individual prices.

Better preparation always results in good first impressions. It’s really important to keep all new customer project information in one place. Again, Connect is designed so users can simply login to their account to find all their details, project requirements and locations.

Efficiency is king. Creating multiple end-consumer quotes and endless paper trails are two of the biggest gripes our customers have reported over the years. Most business people want more time in their day and more sustainable, eco-friendly operations, two things which 2020 has massively impacted. Our industry’s physical nature often results in installers having to work quickly through with formal processes like creating quotes. Online platforms like Connect can save time and prevent any mistakes by sending a structured quotation to the fabricator, including detailed drawings of required windows. This is supported with faster communication via email notifications for key touchpoints in the quoting process from all parties. This fast, professional response can help win projects.

Final thought: sign up to a platform designed by like-minded people. So, as we look ahead to a new year of business, there are many upcoming and exciting opportunities. Change can be daunting, but support exists to help navigate the storm.

Connect has been designed in consultation with other installers and fabricators, many of whom are reaping the rewards by using it to win more quality jobs.