Are you planning to offer a higher-end upgrade to your line?

John G. Swanson
October 15, 2008
THE TALK... | Materials & Components, Aesthetics & Style

Survey Results for 10/15/2008:

Are you planning to offer a higher-end upgrade to your line?

We already offer higher end lines and continue to expand those.





We are already in the process of some major changes.










We are starting to explore options in this arena.





We are already in the process of some minor changes.





My apologies to readers young enough not to remember The Jeffersons, but our poll results suggest the industry is "Movin' on Up."    The vast majority of our respondents indicate that they have already or are planning or considering adding more upscale options or features for their product lines. 

While I wouldn't expect an outpouring of votes from companies that are not making such changes, the numbers reflect a pretty significant statement about what's happening in our industry.  I don't know if it's surprising to anyone, but I still hear plenty of comments and complaints out companies that "focus solely on price" or "making products as cheaply as possible."  I can't help but wonder sometimes just how pervasive that approach to market still is.

I can say I do hear plenty of success stories from those who are adding options or focusing on higher end needs.  At this fall's Remodeling Show, Chuck Scalzott of Vytex Windows told me his company was not only finding success with new colors and decorative glass options, but also laminated glass.  The replacement window maker was finding plenty of customers interested in its ability to provide added sound control and enhanced security, he reported.  

In response to this edition of The Talk, I heard from replacement window maker that's enjoying success with internal blinds.  Another supplier writes: "For the last couple of years we have been providing our “trade only” clients with exposed solid stainless steel sliding door hardware (made in Germany) that is ramping up the look of a plain door or a simple panel of glass. Our designers, architects and builders are using this high-end sliding door hardware component to enhance doors they can have fabricated locally to elevate the look of their projects. We have seen an increase in sales when it comes to this high-end exposed rail hardware."

It will be interesting to see this trend evolve. I noted last week that hardware suppliers and extruders are pointing to the desire to "differentiate" as a reason window and door companies are going upscale.  If we're all going upscale, it may be harder to "differentiate" on that front.  From an industry perspective, that's still a welcome change from the days when we had the "race to zero" and many window and door companies targeting the lowest common denominator.