Although code drives many of these sales, the advantages appeal to other buyers. “Once the benefits are explained, most customers are interested,” says Therma-Tru’s Contat. “We see these products’ use moving inward from the coasts, but the price premium is harder to justify away from the coasts. Those most interested in them are those who have some familiarity with the issues. If you’ve always lived in a quiet neighborhood and never had a break-in, those issues may not arise in selecting new products. But if you’ve had issues, those will be big concerns.”
Technology Aids Features
Glass technology has been offering new possibilities, but that has died down recently. “Glass advances seem to be slowing,” says Weather Shield’s Koester. “A few years ago, there were incredible advances, but now the technology has maxed out to some extent. The next step down the road is having glass as part of the entire home system, so it can absorb and save heat or dim at various times of the day as needed. That will be the next leap, but it’s probably a bit away from full market acceptance.”
Therma-Tru has expanded its line of taller, wider doors with 8-foot styles in the Classic-Craft Rustic (shown) and American Styles collections. The Rustic Collection includes new styles in 3′ x 8′ and 3’6″ x 8′ sizes with select wider glass options. They feature warm Southwest and European styling and a rustic feel.
Advances are coming, says JELD-WEN’s Wagner. “The exciting thing we see on the horizon is smart glass that changes opaqueness and performs other duties. Right now the price points are too high for more consumers to considering adopting it. As glass technology becomes more price competitive, we’ll see rapid adoption of new types.”
ODL’s Fowler agrees that more is coming. “We’re looking at different technologies that could provide more control for glass viewing. Either we or other companies could be out with something in the next year in that regard.”
Technology is not limited to the products themselves. “Manufacturers are producing a myriad of software programs to help customers order windows and doors without making mistakes,” says ProVia’s Albaugh. “There are apps and online ordering systems that can even put customer pricing on the page. Lumberyards are asking us for it. They don’t want to have to eat mistakes because something was ordered incorrectly or they forgot to ask about options or ordered incompatible options. Doors can offer a very complicated order when you get into caming and hardware options.”
Those advances, often with lower awareness, make it imperative that dealers know their product lines and point out all features. “There’s a mixed bag of needs, and those need to be communicated, especially with customers willing to increase their budget to get features they value,” says Therma-Tru’s Contat. “Customers are willing to take more time to explore options today, so there’s an on-going opportunity to increase awareness and generate an upsell to better meet the customers’ needs.”