In a “buy it now”, “delivered next day” online world where human interaction is often replaced by a slick digital platform / ecommerce and automated messages, is there really any value in a physical windows and door showroom and if so why?

Reflecting on the recently completed Residence Collection showroom at one of Staffordshire’s leading installers Supercraft Windows, it became apparent the answer is a STRONG yes and here’s why.

When demonstrating high end windows like the Residence Collection, homeowners typically enter the buying cycle fully equipped with a well-researched range of “wants” and “don’t want”. Often a few not sures too.

Giving space and airtime for these questions to be explored gives the installer the opportunity to listen and really hear the key motivators in their decision-making process, it then allows the installer the opportunity to demonstrate competence, expertise even, and build confidence and trust.

But why is this so important in the window and door industry and where does the showroom play in all of this – surely this can be done anywhere?

The value of a retail showroom in todays online world    The value of a retail showroom in todays online world

To give context, unlike cars or TV’s or any other luxury purchase, windows and doors are infinitely customisable and always unique or bespoke and tailored to the individual “wants and don’t want’s” the customer walked in with. The very bespoke nature of the product means they can’t be commoditised.

If you want a can of beans and a loaf of bread, you don’t need to go to the shop to see them, you know exactly what to expect, you just click and they arrive the next day exactly as expected.

If you want a TV, then sure you might well go to John Lewis or Currys (other stores are available ha ha!) and look at the TV but even then, when you settle on a product you can still Google search it’s product code and buy it online elsewhere with no hassle knowing you are getting exactly the same product at the best price. If we look at a car industry, yes perhaps still customisable to a point, but you can still walk into a dealership, browse the cars, get advice then walk out, sit at home on carwow and get that exact product at the best deal often not with the “store” you visited.

With windows and doors its different. Windows and doors are made by humans in factories up and down the country with vastly different manufacturing techniques, applying their choice of locks and fittings all different to the ones made potentially a few miles down the road.

Then factor in that windows and doors are then usually installed by a completely different company to the one that made them, relying on fitting “square and true” or “plumb and level”, fitting glass and bracing it correctly to make sure it all works as it should for years to come. The outcome is anything but certain, it’s definitely not a case of going home and buying from anywhere else and being sure of getting the same thing.

The value of a retail showroom in todays online world    The value of a retail showroom in todays online world    The value of a retail showroom in todays online world

Imagine a car arriving at a dealership in parts to be assembled by the technicians with a choice of tools, screws, nuts and bolts – all differing from the next dealership. Suddenly the Audi will be different to the one down the road and now it matters how good they are at doing their job because it directly impacts on the product you end up with after exchanging your hard earned pennies. Then factor in the way its driven and we end up with the potential for two extremes, a well made car driven gently that lasts forever and a poorly made car driven hard that breaks down in a matter of weeks.

Translated back to the window industry, well-made windows and doors installed well, go on to serve homeowners for years where badly made or poorly fitted products cause a lifetime of service calls and damaged reputations.

The showroom is the only place where you can physically see and test both the manufacturing quality and the installation standards available. Coupled with reviews, accreditations and certifications such as  “Which Trusted Trader” review status and a genuine rapport built up over conversation and the value of the showroom is undisputable.

Used to its potential, a well-appointed showroom, with highly trained staff offering genuine competence and advice in an arena where there are so many variables will remove the vast majority of buying objections. It’s the most compelling version of the cliché of having bricks and clicks.