I T & SOF TWARE
Maintaining sales in ‘lockdown’
Jody Vincent, sales director at Emplas, explains how the fabricator's new
digital remote sales support platform turns sales to orders into a single seamless
process, saving installers time – and supporting them in working remotely.
Wales imposed a two-week
‘fi rebreak’ lockdown at the
end of last month and England
has since followed suit with
a national lockdown for November – with the
potential for extended measures up to the New
Year. This creates a challenge for installers.
“We saw that lockdown didn’t turn people off
home improvements. It did the opposite,” says
Jody Vincent, sales director at Emplas.
“We saw enquiries right through the national
lockdown in March for the very reason that
people were spending more time in their homes.
“The challenge wasn’t so much lead
generation it was about our ability to service
those leads. That’s why we have partnered
with WindowCAD but also built in unique
functionality which allows our customers to sell
remotely and place orders in a single process.”
WindowCAD is an ‘in the home’ or
remote sales tool. Installers can sit down with
homeowners or connect with them remotely,
input dimensions, run through colour, fi nish and
design options and adjust glass specifi cations.
It also allows you to upload an image of their
property and swap those same designs in or out
instantaneously, transforming the sales process.
Created by Emplas’ in-house team of
developers, the fabricator has built a unique
API (Application Programme Interface), which
enables WindowCAD to talk to Window
Designer and integrate with its own digital
ordering process. In doing, it delivers a series of
additional benefi ts to installers.
First, it means that data is inputted once
and once only. The specifi cations built during
the sales consultation can be ‘pulled’ from
WindowCAD into Window Designer once
checked, approved, and the sales agreement has
been signed off by the homeowner.
“There are the obvious time and effi ciency
gains that eliminating a process gives you,” Jody
says. “but if you take a process out, you also
make it far less likely that someone is going to
make a mistake in input.”
TRIALLED THROUGH T&K
The new WindowCAD integration is the product
of an extensive trial within Emplas’ own retail
business, T&K Home Improvements.
“We’d encountered exactly the same
problems as each and every one of our retail
customers,” continues Jody. “The leads were
there but how we serviced them was, in
the beginning of lockdown, very unclear. If
you remember, it wasn’t until May that the
Government published guidance for working in
“Given this, we decided to trial WindowCAD
to understand how it could support us in selling
to the homeowner effectively without having to
be physically in their property and then how we
could integrate it with our own ordering process
to further simplify things for our customers.”
The product of a three-month development
programme, this included the delivery of a series
of refi nements to WindowCAD, drawing on fi eld
trials with T&K’s sales team and surveyors.
“There are checks and balances in the
system,” Jody continues. “You can’t, for example,
confi gure an out of specifi cation window so you
don’t get delays to orders because a sales person
has sold one thing and then the surveyor has
turned up and found out that it can’t be made.
In addition to being able to access a ‘turnkey’
solution for digital and remote retail sales
and ordering, Emplas customers can also draw
down on other retail tools created and trialled by
Emplas through T&K ‘in the fi eld’.
This includes access to its quotation pack
previously accessible through EVA, the Emplas
Virtual Assistant. Emplas’ new remote retail sales
tool can also be set to automatically create a
quotation ready to send to the homeowner.
This fully automates the process of pulling in
relevant certifi cation, accreditations and product
specifi cations from data already inputted, during
the sales consultation.
This can be tailored to each individual
customer during set up including Quality
Charter; Quality Assurance; BSi Kitemark
Licence – enhanced security and Window Energy
Ratings guide; specifi c energy labels relevant to
the order; and security overview.
It also includes enhanced security Kitemarks
and Secured by Design Certifi cation if relevant;
BSi window and door surveying license; guide to
Pilkington EnergiKare; independent accreditation
certifi cation e.g. BM Trada or other; DGCOS
certifi cate and terms and conditions.
“The quotation pack is another unique
integration. The system that we have designed
will automatically pull the data inputted during
the sales consultation into a professional readyto
go quotation and automatically send it to the
customer,” Jody explains.
“The homeowner can also return the contract
using a digital signature, which is legally binding
and linked directly to their individual IP address.
It digitises your sales process, reducing the
time that it takes to complete a sale and the
administration that has historically gone with it.
“These are direct benefi ts regardless of
lockdown status because it makes it easier to
run your business, taking out cost and giving you
“Given the restrictions that many retailers
are currently having to adapt to but also,
the opportunities and increased demand for
home improvements that those restrictions
are creating, the ability to sell remotely and
seamlessly integrate those sales into orders is a
tangible commercial advantage.”
“The challenge wasn’t so much lead generation
it was about our ability to service those leads”