Tom Shafer

Researching replacement windows? Go mobile

May 16, 2012

Doing business on the Internet is nothing new, but the use of mobile app technology has really taken off -- and that has not escaped the notice of the window industry. Manufacturers, distributors and dealers who embrace this savvy approach to marketing their replacement windows and doors are jockeying to come out ahead of the pack.

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Mobile apps for replacement windows

Manufacturers are driving this transformation in the way the industry does business. They have the motivation -- and the money -- to develop tablet applications. Lindsay Windows, for example, already uses iPads in its production phase. Dealers like the ease and immediacy of communicating with their suppliers, and production supervisors can respond to e-mails -- as well as access internal, web-based resources such as production information -- anytime, anywhere, even from the production floor.

Tablets have the power to revolutionize sales functions -- from manufacturers to distributors to dealers. In-person sales calls and product demonstrations are already becoming the "old way" of doing business. The skyrocketing cost of travel has hastened this shift. With tablets, it's no longer necessary for a salesperson to come to your home. If you have an iPad or tablet, mobile apps can provide you with an instant visual demo.

Window manufacturers have an app for that

Manufacturers, like Andersen Windows, already have applications available for tablets and smart phones. They recently introduced an app that either the sales force can use for presentations or a homeowner with a mobile device can use for researching a pending window purchase.

MI Windows and Doors Inc. used an iPad app to introduce their new line of EnergyCore™ windows to dealers. Now, dealers who agree to rep the EnergyCore™ window line are given an iPad pre-loaded with a sales presentation; a link to the EnergyCore™ Facebook page; and links to several YouTube videos.

For those home improvement dealers making in-home calls to consumers who don't own mobile devices, tablets give their sales presentation a "wow" factor. An in-home salesperson not equipped with the latest apps is going to look like he is "stuck in the '80s" with printed pitch books, brochures and cut-away samples -- not the impression you want from your sales rep when buying a state-of-the-art window.

As a homeowner interested in buying replacement windows, you should be researching windows even before you meet with a salesperson. Retail stores now offer displays equipped with QR Smart tags that link to video presentations from manufacturers. Those manufacturers currently offering apps for both dealers and consumers include Marvin Windows and Doors, YKK AP America Inc. and Velux America Inc.

Grab your tablet or smart phone and plug into the wave of the future in window shopping. It's already here.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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