Creative Strategies for Beating the Winter Slowdown
If you read DWM, you know that the door and window and housing industries are definitely looking up. We have been reporting many good news stories of increases in business, expansions and more. It is not my intent to bring us down from this long-awaited “high” if you will, but I do wonder how the impending winter season and slowdown in door and window purchases, may affect overall sales.
However, on the flip side, there are a few incentives that creative door and window companies can put into place that may help beat the winter blues.
What about Small Business Saturday being held November 30, 2013, this year? Consumers are encouraged to support local small business by shopping at a small business. I asked one president of a Wisconsin window dealer if he planned any promotions around this and he was unaware the date even existed.
“We are open on the Saturday after Thanksgiving but have not actively promoted it as part of Small Business Saturday,” adds Jim Lett, owner of A.B.E. Windows and Doors in Allentown, Pa. “We have found that our business traditionally slows down at this time of year for a couple of reasons. One is people are more focused on shopping for the holidays. Secondly, people generally don’t want their house exposed to the elements by replacing doors and windows in the winter. We do continue to work through the winter but at a much reduced volume.”
I, along with Lett, would be interested to hear if others are finding success promoting Small Business Saturday. If yes, what do you offer to get homeowners in the door?
Another initiative that some window companies may be using to help boost those winter sales is promotion of the door and window tax credit that expires at the end of the year (Look to dwmmag.com next week for more on that story.)
Tyson Schwartz, vice president, sales and marketing at Soft-Lite Windows and Doors, says some of its dealers have inquired about it, “but it doesn’t have the legs it did in 2009/2010.”
Still, Schwartz says sales are up at Soft-Lite but “the tax credit has not had much if any effect on our year. I would say it has been minimal because many people have already taken advantage of it.”
Two other industry representatives, one from a window manufacturer and one from a door manufacturer, told me that once the amount of the tax credit was reduced, it reduced the effectiveness of using it as a promotional tool. “It’s just not a major incentive for sales to consumers,” said another. Both companies do have pages on their website dedicated to the tax credit, however, should dealers be interested in using this as a promotional tool or if homeowners are looking for this information as well.
What are you finding in your area? What promotions are you putting in place to encourage door and window purchases through these slower months?
At Simonton Windows, the company offers its dealers tips for selling windows during colder weather. This includes educating homeowners that windows can be installed effectively in colder weather. According to Simonton research, the approximate time a rough opening is exposed to “the elements” during a standard double-hung replacement window job is around 15-20 minutes.
The company also encourages its dealers to provide gift cards for consumers who book a window replacement job with you before the end of January. This allows them to have cash on hand for the holidays, while providing you guaranteed business during one of the slowest months of the year.
I would love to hear from you to hear what creative strategies you employ.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and this year, more than ever, it is nice to have good news to be thankful for.