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Hitting The Right Note With Consumers

22 May 2007

Eurocell comments on the latest accessories in the conservatory market and how these are helping fabricators increase their margins and improve conversion rates.

“Sales of conservatories have increased dramatically over the last decade and the market is now valued at around £1.1bn at retail prices. Although there was a dip in volume during 2004/5, consumer awareness and interest in them continues to be high with a significant number of householders expressing a strong interest in making a purchase in the near future. As the market for “no frills” conservatories becomes more competitive, many extruders are offering added-value technology products that enable fabricators to differentiate their offering and achieve more conversions to sales. The potential for growth in this area of the market shouldn’t be underestimated; including installation, the accessories market is valued at £900m which in addition to the £1.1bn for the standard conservatory sector constitutes a total market value of around £2bn.

Added value products

There will be many exciting opportunities for fabricators over the next 12 months as we continue to focus attention on developing value-added products for this segment. Much of our product development work is a result of listening to our fabricators and getting right to the heart of what their customers want. Our research has shown that fabricators were looking for value-added optional extras that would differentiate them from the competition with a distinctive and memorable offering. The key to succeeding in this area is to offer a product that has a relatively low cost but a high perceived value to the home owner. Take, for instance, our new MOOD sound system. Recently launched into the market, the patented design is priced at £90 to fabricators but has a much higher perceived value with home owners. MOOD is a defining moment in the conservatory market and is the first product for a long time that takes the whole category forward. We think MOOD will give our fabricators an excellent marketing tool to help them sell more conservatories and represents out commitment to help our customers sell more in this category.

Sophisticated technology

The technology that enabled the development of this product came from a very different industry.

Our designers were looking for a high definition speaker system that offered excellent sound quality but that was sufficiently compact and discreet to fit into our Pinnacle roofing system. Following extensive research and development we found that the best speaker technology was actually fitted in luxury yachts! Looking back, it may seem obvious as we were looking for a design that was compact, high quality and could easily be integrated into an existing or new structure.

An additional benefit is that the system is waterproof, although we feel it is a brave fabricator that tries to extol the virtues of this particular feature to a consumer and needless to say, we are fully confident that this fact shouldn’t have to be put the test!

Trade-up possibilities

The training we are giving to our fabricators, which is available on an instructional DVD, not only demonstrates how to fit the product but gives advice on selling it too. Our experienced sales trainers take you through the selling points and how these translate as added value benefits for consumers. The objective is to achieve a higher value sale by raising the aspirations of customers as well as helping to convert more enquiries. MOOD will also be very useful if a customer is undecided whether to purchase a conservatory. Offering MOOD, which at £90 is a relatively inexpensive item compared to the total order value for the conservatory may be just the thing to convince a potential buyer to proceed. In some cases offering MOOD costed as a part of the whole package may even clinch that conservatory order.

We are really excited by the opportunities that MOOD offers to help our fabricators sell more conservatories. The research we have carried out shows that homeowners would expect to pay around £250 for the system which represents a great opportunity for increased margins. We have also ensured that the new MOOD conservatory speaker system can be fitted in existing conservatories, providing an ideal opportunity to gain additional retrofit sales.

Of course it isn’t just technology that is driving product development in the conservatory market. As home owners become increasingly aware of the importance of a light, airy and relaxing living environment, they continue to spend even more time in their conservatories. Fabricators that can offer products that enhance the whole conservatory lifestyle experience, without adding to the clutter, therefore have the potential to create a very convincing proposition to customers.”

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