2024: A year of opportunity?

Greg Kane, Conservatory Outlet’s CEO.
Greg Kane, Conservatory Outlet’s CEO.

For Conservatory Outlet and its network of independent Premium Retailers, success is in the here and now, as Greg Kane, Conservatory Outlet’s CEO, explains.

For all the talk of doom and gloom, 2024 has been a year of opportunities – if you work hard for them.

The wider market may be slowing down as homeowners continue to be careful about opening their purse strings. Inflation remains high, though the rate has shown signs of stabilising. People and businesses alike are becoming accustomed to managing interest rates over 5%. It has been accepted that the days of interest rates of less than a percentage point are long gone, and everyone is planning accordingly.

People are still willing to spend money to improve their homes. That fact has never really wavered, even during the past 18 months when interest rates and finances began to rise month-on-month. People’s needs haven’t changed. Homeowners still need new, more energy-efficient windows.

They still want new, safer and more design-led doors. They still want to add value and space to their home with a new or rejuvenated living space.

It’s just the ease at which they are willing to commit has changed.

If you look closely enough, leads, sales and the potential for smart, agile businesses to grow have remained. Fabricators and retailers across the country have to work smarter – and in many cases harder – to tap into it.

Those that do, have seen phenomenal results.

Over the first three months of the year, our Premium Retailers have grown by 17% year-on-year.

Sales have been incredibly strong, with several retailers recording their highest-ever monthly turnover.

As a fabricator, Conservatory Outlet plays an active role in helping our customers not only maintain their business but grow it. We do that by keeping ahead of the competition and adapting to the market, from both B2B and B2C perspectives.

I noted earlier that fabricators and installers have had to work smarter and at times harder to grow. We’ve provided our customers with fully-funded sales training sessions that were tailored to address shifting consumer behaviours. Over 100 sales professionals benefitted from this and our retailers are clearly reaping the rewards.

In addition, through our in-house marketing team and partner digital agency, we have doubled our efforts to secure a stream of strong, convertible leads. Again, it’s all been about quickly adapting to consumer behaviour, rather than waiting for the dust to settle and then setting a course of action.

We’ve been decisive with our advice and guidance. And the result has been more leads and more sales.

I’ll touch on the new build sector and commercial sectors too. Our internal figures show a clear growth in contracts, sale values and tenders received. This is in no small part due to our size and ability to scale quickly in a way that doesn’t threaten our day-to-day operations.

This has been done by design, and with our commercial and trade partners in mind. That section of the market can harness Conservatory Outlet’s manufacturing and operational capacity, one that’s built in a slightly different way to those fabricators who have run close to the bone, requiring a constant wave of low-volume orders to remain solvent.

We’ve secured several high-profile contracts by being able to step in late and complete plots – and in some cases entire developments – quickly.

As a business, we too have been making advancements.

In January, we rolled out our next generation of composite doors, allowing our customers to offer a growing collection of door designs and colours that are exclusive to them. We’ve also developed a new living space system and have further product lines in development, that we will be announcing shortly.

These will sit alongside and enhance our existing exclusive product ranges. These ranges are vital to the success of our Premium Retailers as they provide them with a clear competitive advantage.

Internally, we have invested further in our infrastructure, our staff and our processes. We have introduced multiple new production lines to expand our capacity, hired more people and we have further improved our already leading product quality.

Further opportunities are indeed on the horizon.

But why wait for them when there are opportunities today? There are plenty of them and Conservatory Outlet will deliver them to you.

If you’re an installer that’s willing to work hard for them and work with an organisation that’s forward-thinking and truly set up to help you grow month after month and year after year – no matter the conditions – you’ll thrive.