Are We Channel Blurring?

Christina Lewellen
May 10, 2011
THE TALK... | Products, Channels, Markets & Trends

I love this phrase: “channel blurring.”

Thank you Home Channel News for a very interesting article on the mix-and-match happening in retail channels. This “channel blurring” can be seen in Home Depots selling household cleaning supplies, the article points out, or traditional hardware stores selling pet supplies.

The strategy behind such efforts is that when shoppers are out and about, they might see an unrelated product that triggers an unplanned purchase, the article explains. As a habitual impulse buyer, I sheepishly acknowledge that this sort of tactic works on me.

So the reward is that buyers may make extra purchases. But the risk is that straying too far from your area of expertise could dilute the power of your company’s brand and identity.

Let’s Talk about this. Do you see more window and door channels “blurring” with other types of products and unrelated services? Are there new retailers adding window and door products? What are specialty window and door dealers and distributors adding to the mix? Is this sort of diversity a smart move or opening the door to dealers biting off more than they can expertly chew? Please send me an email or comment below to let me know whether you see channels blurring.

Are window and door dealers adding different products to their mix?

Yes, most WD dealers are adding other types of products/services.




Many are, but not a majority.




No, most are sticking with traditional offerings.




 I anticipated we might see a mixed, and fairly even, pool of responses this week. After all, with so many challenges and changes in the economy over the last few years, people are seeking out all sorts of business model adjustments to survive and thrive. Collectively, nearly 80 percent of voters responded in the affirmative, indicating that at least some window and door dealers are diversifying their product mixes.

I figure that there will always be room in the marketplace for both business models--those who offer multiple product lines (the "one stop shop" approach to home improvement) and those who prefer to be product experts, sticking to fenestration products only. Both are successful approaches, for sure, and with the home improvement market well on the path to recovery, there's need for both, depending on individual consumers' preferences.

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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As in any industry, it's an evolve or die reality.  Suppliers must continue to adapt to their clients' needs and wishes.  Especially in the day and age of Lowe's and Home Depot, boutique Window and Door retailers must evolve to find their market niches and add auxiliary products that their clients are looking for.  This includes more energy-efficicient windows and doors, as well as services like energy audits and energy-saving services.

At MI Windows and Doors, we are adding a new product line this summer in the West, the MI EnergyCore Window System, that will give dealers new options to help their customers save money on their energy bills. 

Thanks, Christina, for your thought-provoking article.