Anne-Marie Busch, K2’s Marketing Manager, talks about what it means to sell orangeries in today’s climate, and provides some hints and tips to help on the road to success.
1. Why sell orangeries?
Quite simply it comes back to supply and demand. Give the homeowners what they are asking for. There is a real buzz in the industry for orangeries, and there is no doubt that adding them to your product portfolio will at the very least get people through the door and generate enquiries.
2. Aren’t conservatories easier to install?
May be...you could argue that it depends on what you are selling now.
The increase in bespoke shapes and higher value installations means that conservatory retailers are now used to dealing with more complex installations, such as solid builds, large openings / bi-folds, complicated roofs. So it would be fair to say that a lot of the orangery roof solutions are no more difficult than these.
The K2 orangery is engineered to specifically ensure that there is minimum work to be done on site, resulting in limited disruption for the homeowner.
3. Understanding the key differences between an orangery and a conservatory
This might sound somewhat obvious, but be aware that some homeowners won’t really understand what these differences are:
Structure: true orangeries vary considerably from a conservatory as the complete roof will rest on structural supports (either integrated structural aluminium legs bolted to the foundations, or structural brick columns) rather than the window frames.
Visual: there are a number of key visual differences between a conservatory and an orangery. Internally a large soffit / ceiling space around the perimeter of the room is created, allowing for the inclusion of down lighters and / or speakers and greater options to personalise and decorate the room. The K2 soffit is 604mm deep and 510/560mm high (Rio and Venetian).
Externally, the walls / frames might not necessarily look different to that of a conservatory, depending on the customer’s design preferences. The key difference will be at the roof level, where you will have a large gutter area (543mm wide for the K2 Venetian) or flat roof area (625mm for the Rio), with the actual glass roof sat in the middle – the lantern (rather than extending all the way to the frames)
4. How to best sell orangeries?
To achieve the best results a variety of communications tools can be used:
Websites, professionally designed, are a fantastic way to present a company. The inclusion of the best installations in a gallery, good, practical information about the products sold, contact forms and how to find you are some of the key elements that will make a difference. Consider making the site viewable on mobile devices as over 50% of smartphone owners use their phone to browse the internet.
Google adwords: bring traffic to a website by advertising on Google. After all some 80% of all UK purchases are now researched online so this is an opportunity not to be missed.
Advertising: printed advertising can be carried out in the publications most suited to the product and its target market. Unique telephone numbers or reference numbers should be used to allow you to track the results more effectively.
Showroom: The orangery should be given pride of place in the showroom, with literature available for visitors to take away.
Direct Marketing: Existing customer databases are probably a company’s most valuable asset. They should be used to maintain regular contacts with them to promote upgrades to orangeries, glass roofs etc. Email addresses can also be collected online via the website. Always remember to abide by the “opt-in” requirements.
Social marketing: we might not necessarily like it, but we can’t avoid the fact that sites such as Twitter and Facebook are now an integral part of the communications-mix with more and more people expecting to find businesses on there.
Promotions and PR: special offers, competitions, open days are great ways of getting people through the door, and generating enquiries.
The potential customer will need reassurance about the system used. Most people about to invest 10s of thousands of pounds would probably prefer to know exactly what they are buying, so point them in the direction of your preferred orangery systems manufacturer, K2! (http://www.k2conservatories.co.uk/orangery-styles/overview)
In summary: Orangeries are currently perceived to be a luxury item; the systems companies, like K2, are currently working hard to bring the product to a wider section of the market, in the easiest possible way. This will benefit both the trade and homeowner by highlighting the skills, value and quality that we as an industry can provide.