Understanding today’s consumer

The internet and social media have revolutionised the customer journey in many areas of retail. Swish’s marketing manager Gerald Allen looks at how this is changing when it comes to the window industry.

Who could have imagined how much the web and social media would change the way we live our lives? Today, many of us don’t think twice about ordering online with the internet fast becoming the shopping destination of choice for consumers.

But how has the internet changed the way consumers buy windows? Independent research we commissioned showed that in many ways it’s changed everything, and in others it’s changed nothing.

It’s quite clear that the internet has done little to change why people choose to invest in replacement windows. For many it’s simply a necessity – their existing windows are failing in some way. For others, it’s about energy efficiency and having a warmer home. Then there are the aesthetics – a desire to upgrade to improve the look of their home. And finally, it’s the additional levels of security that new windows and doors can bring.

Another area that has stayed the same is what people look for from their choice of product and installer. The crucial factors are quality and trust. Consumers want to be certain they are choosing a quality product and they want to have trust in the brand and trust in the company who will be installing the windows.

They get the early reassurance they are looking for by searching the internet and getting recommendations from social media, friends and family. But later on in the process, when they’ve got a shortlist, they want to see the products they’re interested in for themselves and talk to the installers they’re considering. This is when the showroom or the home visit comes into its own.

The biggest change the internet has brought about is in how people start to research their purchase. These days, people overwhelmingly turn to the internet and social media first. The next most popular option is friends and family. Going straight to an installer is the third most popular option. This is an interesting shift, showing that people want to arm themselves with the facts and get validation from their peers before they go any further.

The most important step is to make sure the reputation of your product and your service are top notch. This means you’ll be in the running to make the shortlist rather than being discounted before consumers even get in touch.

You do this by making sure you’re visible locally and also that your website and any social media presence you have is up to scratch. Remember that business initiatives such as our new membership programme Excellence as Standard help you drive the quality you’re looking for as well as boost your internet presence.

When it comes to your choice of product, it pays to choose wisely. Our research showed that Swish is the most recognised brand after the big national names. This is a big tick in the box of trust.

And when it comes to quality, Swish delivers everything consumers are looking for. Swish windows have the aesthetic benefits consumers want and there’s a range of beautiful colours for when that matters. The thermal efficiency is covered too; Swish windows easily achieve A++ ratings, and our triple glazed options can deliver a U-value of just 0.8W/m2K. Furthermore, the system has been approved by Secured by Design, and it comes with a comprehensive guarantee.

Then there’s the Swish website experience – it’s homeowner focused and packed with all the other elements that consumers are looking for such as facilities to find their nearest installer, get a quote, request a brochure and read third party testimonials and reviews.

In Swish support, via initiatives such as Excellence as Standard, you’ve got the tools you need to position yourself perfectly.