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October 15th, 2021 by Bryan

Residential: A Renewed Opportunity

By Manny Hondroulis

It is often said that everything comes around full circle. The window film industry is no exception.

Prior to the housing crash of 2008, most flat glass window film dealers were heavily involved in residential installations, overwhelmingly preferring them to commercial. After all, who wouldn’t prefer the higher margins, faster payment terms, and shorter sales cycles associated with the residential market? Then the inevitable happened. An economic downturn occurred as housing values plummeted. The residential window film market dried up quickly.

By 2014, data suggested that consumers were spending money on their homes. New kitchens, baths, additions, and other improvements were being made. Yet window film didn’t seem to be one of those spends, at least not on a needle-moving basis. Seven years later, it still doesn’t seem that the residential window film market has returned to its pre-2008 levels—at least not on a relative scale when compared to commercial.

Fast forward to 2020, the unexpected happened—COVID. A pandemic that forced consumers to stay (and work from) home has made them more aware of their surroundings. Now comfort, privacy, security, fading and glare are on every homeowners’ radar. The industry’s collective telephone started to ring; this time, for residential inquiries.

Not every dealer may be positioned to benefit from the spike in demand. After all, many of us have been out of practice, save for the occasional residential call throughout the years, but there are steps we can take.

Digital Marketing

It is important to make sure that your digital presence reflects your commitment to the residential market. Ask yourself the following questions. How strong is the residential content on my website? Am I posting pictures of residential installations on Facebook and Instagram? Am I doing any digital advertising geared toward the homeowner? Am I targeting the correct keywords? If, after an honest self-assessment, you don’t believe that your digital presence would install confidence in a residential prospect, contact your digital marketing company to discuss improvements.

Traditional Advertising

When installing film in a housing development, do you install a lawn sign advertising your business (assuming your clients provide permission) to neighbors? Do you place hangers on neighboring front doors (assuming the law or homeowners’ association allows)? Does your truck have your logo, or is it fully wrapped, for neighbors to see? Do you send mailers making residents aware that you recently tinted a home in their neighborhood?

Cross-Promotion

How many automotive dealers make the most of every customer interaction by promoting residential films? Are your automotive clients even aware that you can also tint their homes? Is there merchandising in your waiting room advertising the benefits of residential window film? Many window film manufacturers offer marketing materials for your showroom that communicate the value proposition of flat glass films.

Sales Presentations

How effective are your sales presentations? Are you bringing the appropriate demonstration tools? Are you able to show your prospects what window film can do? Keep in mind that the reasons for purchasing window film for residential applications are different than for commercial. Furniture fade and comfort are typically the two biggest reasons why a buyer wants window film for their home. Do you have the proper sales tools (BTU meter, heat lamp, UV tester, thermometer, etc.) to show the performance of the films you are  promoting? Not only do consumers want to see what film looks like, they want to feel what it can do.

These marketing and sales suggestions were commonplace before 2008. But as the industry shifted to creating and responding to commercial demand, many of us forgot the basics associated with a successful residential business. So dust off your old residential business plans, update them to include the latest strategies in digital marketing, and work to get back to pre-2008 levels. It would be great for the consumer … and the industry!

Manny Hondroulis is the vice president of Energy Distribution Products in Baltimore.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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