Are You Ready to Sell Electronics?

John G. Swanson
July 30, 2013
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

This week, Soft-Lite Windows announced plans to offer Nest Learning Thermostats through its dealer network.  The idea is to provide homeowners buying replacement windows an additional way to reduce energy costs.  I find this move interesting because there are a growing number of electronic items related to home automation and/or security that seemingly could provide a sales opportunity to window and door companies.

Some tie in directly with our industry's products.  There are a growing number of door lock options, including units that can be controlled by remotes or cell phones.  There are small video cameras built into peepholes that enable a homeowner to see who is ringing the bell.  Last year, Pella launched a shading system for its windows that could tie in with a home automation system.

Many window and door dealers already offer expanded product lines that might include siding, decks and railing, and other home improvement products. A fair portion of window and door manufacturers have diversified their lines as well.  WIll more companies start selling electronics?  That's our poll question of the week.  And as usual, I'd like to hear from you too. Has your company offered such electronic accessories?  Post a comment below or email me and let us know what's worked or what hasn't.  

 

Survey Results as of 07/31/2013:

Do electronic accessories offer a good opportunity for window and door dealers?

Yes, there's growing demand from consumers.

  

 

36%

 

No, other trades will dominate this business.

  

 

33%

 

Maybe in the future, but not right now.

  

 

31%

 

More than a third of our respondents see opportunities for window and door dealers in electronics already, and we heard from one dealer who has already had some success with such an offering. 

Jake Zahnow of WindowPro, a Marvin and Integrity dealer based in Wixom, Mich., says his company has been offering a free Nest Learning Thermostat as part of a promotion for the past several months. "The results are particularly attractive with the Marvin product lines, because like Marvin, Nest is high end, made of the best materials available, and it allows customers to track their energy efficiency post window/door installation."   

Customers who are aware of the Nest thermostats get very excited about the offer, he says, while others require some education about what makes it different from a typical thermostat. The Nest thermostats are also failry easy to install, so WindowPro's crews are able to do it, Zahnow notes.

There's no doubt other trades will take a fair share of this business, but it seems to me there are plenty of opportunities for dealers to provide some value-add, maybe even some "cool factor" as part of the window or door sale. For example, in this week's news, Kwikset launched a new BlueTooth-enable door lock.  If your smartphone is in your pocket, you can open the lock with the touch of your finger.  More such products are inevitable and probably deserve a closer look.