Anne-Marie Busch, Marketing Manager at K2 Conservatories, discusses the benefits of selling replacement conservatories as a way forward in an economic climate where the sale of high volumes of standard white U-PVC has been reduced by nearly 2/3rd.
We are all aware of the latest figures; 100000 conservatories to be installed in 2010, an enormous drop from the ¼ million installations per year we enjoyed over the last 10 years. But rather than dwell on this we need to look at ways to address it. And the solution is in the problem. Let me explain…
A mature market
The conservatory market is now mature; this means that it has reached a state of equilibrium, with an absence of significant growth. In practical terms this tells us that we as an industry we have installed such a high number of conservatories that sales have levelled out to only provide a limited number of opportunities.
In parallel to this change in demand we – the manufacturers and fabricators – have worked hard to develop better systems. They are not only easier to install, but they give the end-user a product that is longer lasting, suited to a wider range of designs, and introduces colour to what was the realm of white or basic woodgrain effects. The question is, how do we upsell them?
Whether market maturity is due to saturation or an overall lack of interest for the traditional white uPVC product is a matter opened to debate, but one that provides opportunities in both cases.
With conservatory installations having peaked at around 250000 per year we are now faced with the original generation of first time or even 2nd time buyers (who have become more knowledgeable about the conservatory products available) looking for something different, something better.
These buyers can be divided into 2 groups:
The refurbishers: They will typically be looking to upgrade polycarbonate with glass, generally high performance glass like K2’s Celsius range which includes products for both the roof (Celsius Blue and Celsius Plus) and the frames (Celsius Clear).This sale can easily lead to the full replacement of a roof to ensure structural integrity, but overall the homeowner will retain the same conservatory footprint.
The replacers: taking the view that less and less homeowners are interested in the traditional conservatory, we therefore have to address the needs of those that want an innovative product.
It is no longer about replacing panes of glass, but providing a conservatory that delivers far more than space. It is about lifestyle aspirations, design, being different, as well as durability, usability, and long-term investment.
Innovation - key to successful replacement
K2 Conservatories has long been working towards providing a suite of products that will deliver all of these requirements. As pictures can say more than a thousand words we are using two projects that illustrate perfectly how the concept of conservatories has evolved.
Both were uPVC, Victorians, with a polycarbonate roof, in a woodgrain finish. And neither property truly benefited from the design or finish of these products.
Project 1 – the Gable. Classical transformation.
The classic design of this conservatory was chosen as the best option for a traditional cottage, with its sturdy, yet simple lines.
Using K2’s aluminium roof system, and featuring our portal eaves beam – ensuring that the bi-folding doors open flawlessly –, this superior product is further enhanced by the use of our Celsius glass, providing a much more usable, airy space, all year round. It is finished in an off white special colour for a softer look.
Project 2 – contemporary design
A remarkable interpretation of how to provide true style in the shape of a conservatory. Initially a simple Victorian, with no ambition other than providing some additional space, its owners wanted something that would be more in keeping with the property, both in and out.
At this stage it is worth noting that the installers (Heaton Conservatories – Bolton) won the contract because they proposed such an unusual design.
The roof ridge was specially manufactured at 41.7 degrees, designed to be perfectly in line with the house’s roof line. The other half had to take into account the balcony, and so with the help of K2’s design services, this unusual, yet striking, roof was created.
It uses the K2 Aluminium roof system. Designed and engineered by K2 Architectural’s Tim Burton, it features 130mm portal eaves, 70mm structural corner post, 200mm front eaves, and 165mm high eaves with lantern support.
Black powder coated externally, with standard white interior, it has also been entirely fitted with K2’s high performance Celsius Blue glass, which, in addition to the comfort it brings throughout the year, also provides a little privacy when looking in from the outside.
The result is strikingly modern.
We are not saying that replacement is the only way forward, but it is one way to keep on moving ahead and should be considered as a key element of your marketing strategy. It will bring real benefits to your business and true added value to the homeowner. And if you need design advice K2 will always work with their customers to ensure the best possible result.
Anne-Marie Busch gives an update on the changes taking place at K2 Conservatories.
It is with regret that K2 Conservatories are saying goodbye to Charles Fox, Sales and Marketing Director. Charles has been with K2 for many years, covering spells with K2 USA and the UK. Family commitments have forced him to make this decision, as all those that know him will be aware.
Commenting on his departure, Charles says:” I have enjoyed my years working at K2. Over time we have introduced some fantastic products into the market. I am sure that the future for K2 and its customers will be exciting. I look forward to supporting the company wherever possible into the future!!!”
We hope you’ll join us all in wishing him all the best for the future.
Sharon Owen, who has been with K2 since the company started in 1999, has been promoted to Sales Director. This is a key appointment for the company. Having built her skills at the sharp end of the business, selling bar length, she eventually became National Sales Manager for K2 Glass. She has been a driving force behind the success of Celsius Performance Glass. Sharon has an intimate understanding of the business, with a down to earth and highly professional approach that will fit in perfectly with the K2 philosophy towards customer service and the need for a proactive, hands-on strategic leader.
Again, I am sure you’ll join us in wishing Sharon a lot of success in her new role.
To support her Andrew Nichols has been promoted to National Sales Manager, from Regional Sales Manager (South). Andrew has been with K2 for over 8 years.
In addition, Tony Leach has been promoted to Operations Director, from Logisitics Manager. He is another long standing K2 employee who has been a key member of the management team.
On a final note, Sally Fielding, Managing Director, adds:
“Charles will definitely be missed by his colleagues and our customers, but he will continue to be an ambassador for K2 out there in the market place.We expect the coming months and year to be busy with new developments and these new appointments will ensure we are ready to face the market at full strength and, more importantly, with the right people in place.