April 27th, 2023 - Beth

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Towards the end of Q1, the window and door market is still trying to find its feet. But, says Gerda Doors’ Danny Williams, it’s important to stand out in a crowded market, whatever the market conditions.

My experience is: Different sells! There….now you have the secret of (business) life. But in the UK home improvement market, not too different.

The vast majority of British homes are highly traditional. Even when we have the opportunity to build hundreds of new homes or even one, single expensive large gaff, inevitably they follow recognisable, established, safe styles. Have you noticed how often the Georgian style is replicated on large estates of hundreds of homes as well as grand, no expense spared footballers’ palaces?

What this means for the replacement window and door industry is that we are not in a fierce competition to continually out-do each other with incredible, new fashions, but one in which innovation, nonetheless, has proven to be crucial. Evolution, rather than revolution is the name of the game in our industry.

The last fifteen years or so have proved that innovation drives sales, even in an industry as conservative as ours: look at the transition made in conservatories for example. From same-old-too-hot-too-cold Victorians or Edwardians we now have Orangeries and more adventurous styles that not only improve the appearance of host properties (usually, anyway), the quality and versatility of the additional space provided is also dramatically improved.

Similarly, the simple flush sash window style has risen phoenix-like from the ashes of architectural history.  From centuries-old stone cottages and workers terraces, the flush sash has become the most popular specific window style chosen by homeowners today. The revival of this window style has allowed owners of all architectural types to moderately stylise their homes, to add a touch of character against the alternative of a bog-standard casements.

And colour: not so long ago any homeowner daring to defy the white window convention would at best be considered slightly eccentric, whilst at least half of PVC-U windows replaced are now coloured. And if the choice is aluminium, white is rarer still.

These key examples demonstrate the point I am making: they are innovative and yet not revolutionary. But any company not selling orangeries, flush sash and coloured frames, will die. And whilst these three examples are now part of the British home improvement window and door sector language, they have also changed the way that homeowners view replacing their windows and doors: where once they were substantially driven by stress, these days aesthetics and genuine improvement – something working better, not just replaced because it’s knackered, are key factors. And collectively we have benefitted from this.

At this point, please forgive me if I present my own example of this philosophy…

Not for the first time in my life have I faced too much competition for products for which the only difference could be price: previously, in an ocean of Synseal casements I designed my own sash that out-performed anything on the market and could be sold as such. This time I have turned my attention to residential doors. In a crowded residential door marketplace in which the so-called market leaders offer poor quality products backed by unresponsive, one-size-fits-all customer service, I have launched Gerda Doors. These provide clear product differentials together with product service, I promise, that understands the needs of the installer and responds accordingly.

Why are Gerda Doors different? For a number of reasons but primarily, because they are faced with steel, or aluminium. You will be pushed (so far) to find another aesthetically pleasing, thermally superior steel faced door anywhere. And the security implications are spelled out in the word ‘steel’. It does what you’d expect. And the Gerda aluminium door is presented to a keen market that is top-end heavy. Gerda redresses the balance by offering a sophisticated, stylish alternative at a competitive price.

Have a look and the points I am making will be clear.

Homeowners are now better informed than ever. They are used to researching every detail of a purchase and the greater their financial commitment the more detailed will be their search. When looking at residential doors, the important bits vary minimally: but when new elements are discovered that offer intuitive, positive benefits that are simply not available in the majority of the products they have reviewed, homeowners will look closer.

I believe that is what we bring to the market with Gerda. Have a look for yourself at the FIT Show, or at www.gerdadoors.co.uk.



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