Door Trends of the ‘New World’
The return to manufacturing has been quite a journey. When we opened back up on 4th May, we had a skeleton team of staff and many apprehensions. Fast-forward six weeks and the landscape is very different to the one we had imagined so early on: all of our manufacturing staff are back at work, we’ve introduced an evening shift and recruited three people to keep up with demand, 70% of our delivery vehicles are out on the road and door sales are exceeding pre-COVID levels.
What else can you do
While this is all great news, we are all operating under a lot of strain. There are strict health and safety guidelines and safe working procedures in place and the welfare of our staff remains our top priority. We’re also seeing a shift in what products we are selling. Pre-COVID there was a 70/30 split between distribution (slabs sold directly to our fabricator customers for them to manufacture) and manufacturing (prepped doors). Now, all our customers are asking what else DOORCO can do. Levels of prepping and painting have risen by nearly 10% and customers are utilising our added-value services like glazing in droves. Compared to January, the number of prepped doors sold fitted with glass has nearly doubled. Glass sales overall are up 45% on January as customers rely on DOORCO’s added value offerings.
Another interesting trend emerging in ‘new world’ sales is the impetus on more “retail” designs. Our ultimate contemporary door styles, Inox and Monza II, are selling at unprecedented levels. While Carnoustie is still top of the chart, its lead is shortening, and the more contemporary designs are increasing. The DOORCO Glass Additions range launched late in 2019 is growing in popularity too, making up around 20% of overall glass sales.
Never before has DOORCO had so many enquiries direct from homeowners, which we’re happily passing on to a fabricator local to the customer. We’ve seen engagement spike on our more consumer-facing/ aspirational social media channels, particularly Instagram, and are even gaining with some of the Instagram Influencers. To us this suggests a focus from homeowners on investing in their homes while they’re unable to have holidays etc. But, will this last?
Peaking too soon
While sales figures are positive and the pipeline is bolstered, we are still making tough decisions on a daily basis. The media is reporting good news and bad, and there are companies that haven’t fared so well through lockdown. This current state could just be a bubble and there’s little confidence in what consumer behaviour is going to look like mid-term. You can’t be closed for 9 weeks and not expect cashflow issues. I believe by mid-August/early-September we will have a clearer picture of what the future looks like.
The conclusion of my last column remains true: businesses with strong leadership, the ability to flex and adapt and grab opportunity are the ones that will survive. Customers are looking for added value and you need to offer a solution. Never has a true entrepreneurial spirit been more important.