Inspiring retailers to new heights

Mark Hanson – Marketing Manager at Ultraframe – argues that it’s his job to inspire conservatory retailers and here he shows the latest product that should do just that.

By the time this magazine lands on your desk, we will have seen nearly two years of difficult times in the conservatory sector. When times are tough and retailers are unsure where the next sale is coming from, it’s easy for them to lapse into depression and despair.

I see my role – and that of the team at Ultraframe – as being about inspiring our customers to reach that bit further, to push themselves harder. This on the basis that if the retailer( or more particular his/her consumer salesperson) isn’t inspired, how can they inspire the consumer to dig deep in their wallets and buy a product that is truly aspirational?

In these difficult times, surely we need to work even harder to sell the dream, the conservatory they can relax in and wash away the stresses of the day…….

To do this retailers may need to re-evaluate their marketing tactics, and refreshing their adverts to move away from pure price/offers might be one way. Consider these straplines or headlines on a new style of adverts, along the lines of………

A conservatory…escape from the rat race
A conservatory…the only holiday home you’ll ever need
A luxury berth only a few steps from your front room – choose a conservatory

These advertising ideas need sumptuous photography to go with them, but you get the idea.

In the 25 years it’s been in the conservatory market, Ultraframe has always tried to set the pace, bringing out a constant stream of new products, some successful, some not …..but the underlying theme is one of effort, a constant need to re-invent itself, to drive forward and take its customers with it.

In the most recent past - approximately 2 years ago – Ultraframe gave the Orangery a ‘ makeover’ by launching a systemized kit which - Orangeries became one of the biggest phenomenon’s in the conservatory sector in the last 10 years.

Well Ultraframe have previewed another ‘crossover’ conservatory, this time on it’s stand at Glassex, whose doors have just closed. This time the style is called veranda, and it features an extended and oversailing eaves feature, which forms a sheltered area outside the main conservatory. Combined with bi-folding or large in-line sliders, the whole front of the veranda style conservatory opens out, creating the perfect space for family entertainment in summer.

Could Ultraframe have invented another style of conservatory? Only time will tell.

The veranda conservatory is much more than just a new conservatory style. It features the very latest roof, namely the Classic Plus. This features integrated tracks built into the internal claddings, which house new screening products made at Clitheroe called Shades. Made in one piece or as two piece ‘sliders’, Shades consist of a uPVC/aluminium lightweight framework onto which is stretched fabric or wood weave materials. These Shades are clipped into the roof to form dappled light, reducing solar glare and heat build up whilst in winter they virtually perform like triple glazing, improving the U value significantly.

So the new veranda style with the Classic Plus roof and Shades becomes something truly aspirational, not just simply a white box to be sold for £4999 fully fitted. This is bringing the WOW factor back into conservatories, and is taking the product back towards the original consumer group, the over 50’s who generally haven’t been hit as hard in the recession as the young family buyers. In the current market, it is this niche that will bear the best fruit and its one that retailers should try to target through discrete local promotion, attendance at local garden shows and perhaps product positioning, choosing someone who is a ‘mover and shaker’ in the local community and who will sing your praises to friends and family when a successful installation is made.

And so, in summary, there is a lot to be cheerful about. Yes times have been tough, but we need to pull ourselves up and get out there selling and marketing all the benefits of what we do. We have a great story, lets tell it.

Please let  know if you’ve been particularly successful with a marketing campaign.