Specialist integral blind manufacturer, HiTech Blinds, has released figures which suggest the industry is missing out on higher margin sales by failing to exploit opportunities to up-sell glass specifications.
According to analysis released by the company, currently only around 10% of the more than 35,000 aluminium bi-folding doors forecast to be supplied into homes throughout the UK (Palmer), will be done so with integral blinds.
This it argues means that the retailers are missing out on a ‘golden opportunity’ to add margin, without increasing workload, by up-selling IGUs to include integrated blinds.
Ian Woolley, sales director at HiTech Blinds, said: “We’re not talking about adding any more work on an installation. We’re simply talking about adding value. IGUs are fitted and packed in exactly the same way as a standard IGU, it doesn’t require any more time on site.
“In the context of buying a bi-fold, you’re not asking the homeowner to part with that much more cash either for a product which replaces standard blinds but which does so far more practically. As a consumer why wouldn’t you go for it?
“The answer remains awareness,” he continued. “The market for integral blinds is growing and exponentially – it’s simply that it could be even greater with increased end-user awareness. We’re here to help retailers take advantage of an opportunity to add significantly to their bottom line.”
Since 2009, estimates suggest that approaching quarter-of-a-million aluminium bi-folding doors have been installed in the UK. HiTech Blinds’ analysis suggests that at best fewer than 25,000 of these would have been supplied with integrated blinds.
With growth of 7% forecast in aluminium bi-folding door sales through to 2023 (AMA Research), Ian argues integral blinds represent a high value market going forward as well as a potential retro-fit one.
“If you’re looking ahead, the forecast is for growth, so why not bump up your profitability on each bi-fold that you install going forward,” Ian says. “The opportunities are so big its margin lost if you don’t.
“Conversely, there is a massive retrofit market to go at. If only a handful of doors fitted in the past included bi-folds there’s also a great opportunity to retrospectively upsell to a solution that the end-user probably wasn’t aware of when their door was fitted first time around.”
HiTech Blinds currently manufactures around 500 IGUs with integrated blinds a week in two sizes, a 16mm and a 20mm option, which means that they are suitable for use with triple glazing, Georgian Bars and slim 24mm energy efficient units, in addition to standard 28mm units.
The operational system of this core venetian integral blind offer uses a magnet and guide rail system, lowering, raising and tilting the blinds using a single operation. This also employs a gearing system which means that the blinds are raised or lowered twice the distance of movement of the magnets.
Hermetically sealed inside the IGU, the system is also designed to generate minimal resistance in operation. According to HiTech Blinds, this reduces strain on the gearing guaranteeing through-life performance. This is housed in a slim 30mm and fully symmetrical profile, leaving only a minimal area visible once the window has been glazed.
The blind specialist also mechanically cycle-tests two blinds from each set that it makes each and every week to 10,000 repetitions. All products carry a 10-year guarantee and are available in nine standard colours plus a dual colour option, with white inside and anthracite grey outside. HiTech also offers any RAL colour on special order.
“The market for integral blinds grew comfortably by 30-40% last year,” said Ian. “That is despite still relatively low levels of potential market penetration. If retailers are looking for an opportunity to recover margin, this is it,” he concluded.