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W&D Weekly

January 11, 2017
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The Latest
Innovation on Display

The International Builders’ Show opened yesterday in Orlando, where a number of window and door manufacturers had their latest innovations on display. Take a look at the products and follow WindowDoorMag on Twitter for live coverage of the show. 

Window & Door Preps Top 100 List
Window & Door magazine opens its annual Top 100 Manufacturers survey, available now through January 25. Manufacturers that want to be considered for the 2017 Top 100 Manufacturers list, to be published in the March/April issue, are encouraged to submit their information today. Submit Information


More News
PGT Announces New Brand Name PGT Innovations
Masonite Unveils Brand Relaunch and New Resources
Apex Energy Solutions Switches to Franchise Model
Marvin Showcases New Bi-Fold Door at IBS
CRL-U.S. Aluminum Systems Receive Florida Product Approval
Stürtz Machinery to Celebrate 20th Anniversary
Deceuninck North America Reports Strong Growth in 2016
Product Spotlight
iLDA by DeltrexUSA
The intelligent Local Door Alarm by Deltrex is a Bluetooth enabled door alarm that mounts into a standard two gang electrical box, powered from 10vdc-32vdc. A 2.6-inch LCD shows various door conditions, including secured, alarm and held open with no need to drill the frame for multiple door contacts. Shunt/Bypass/Silence and other features are performed locally using the iButton, iPhone or remotely from any Access Control System. A local, built-in database allows for validating/invalidating over 50 “digital key” users. The iLDA is available with or without LCD display and can be custom programmed as per requirements.
The Talk

By Whitney Klinkenborg, Pella Corp.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon an old Window & Door article that questioned the end of independent distributors. The article was written in 2004 and our world has greatly changed in the last decade. E-commerce is booming. This gave me pause. Are distributorships on the way out? 

Fortune recently reported statistics that indicate consumers are now making more than 51 percent of their purchases online. I realize I am lending to that percentage. I often walk past a store in the mall and, rather than go in, I make a mental note to visit the store online later. While I enjoy the in-person experience of looking and touching, I prefer shopping from my sofa, swathed in pajamas, searching for the best deal.

However, like nearly all consumers, there is a line I won’t cross with online purchasing. Large, costly items still require a brick and mortar purchase. That, and a discussion with an expertToni White, chief marketing officer of Synchrony Financial summed it up best in a Forbes article about a recent retailer study that found customers like to research online but make big purchases in stores. “A major purchase is a commitment for many consumers,” she said. “Having that personable and knowledgeable sales associate is important.”

The fenestration industry falls under this criteria. Customers’ familiarity with windows and doors is limited, with their purchases in our category limited to only once or twice in a lifetime. Homeowners only begin to investigate windows and doors when it becomes an issue. And it can be overwhelming—there are so many options, materials, sizes, performance ratings, etc.—where to even begin? If only Pinterest would do it for you.

Homeowners, builders and contractors have enough to worry about. Having an expert to consult on a complex, costly purchase is a relief. Being able to see samples and interact with someone that knows which product is best lends a level of confidence to consumers.

Back to my initial question: am I concerned our distributorships are on the way out? No. Consumers want to look, touch and feel before making a purchase. I am confident our distributorships will continue to not only be lucrative for our current owners, but for generations to come. Distributors will become a refuge for consumers in an ever-evolving, e-commerce driven world, as long as they continue to be experts in their field and put their customers’ needs first.

Do you think e-commerce is a threat to specialty retailers? Post a comment, take the poll and/or send me an email with your thoughts on the subject.

Is e-commerce a serious threat to window and door specialty retailers?
Not yet

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