U-design, the conservatory design and quotation platform, is being used by Emplas customers to win business and make pricing for margin simpler.
Two trends are defining the conservatory market. The first, demand for replacement products, the second, the shift to lar ger installations and more flexible spaces. This contributed to an increase in total market value of 9% to £1.05bn. Figures, published in The Market for Domestic Conservatories 2017 from Palmer Market Research also highlighting that average installed prices rose by 12%.
“The figures coming from Palmer highlight the new space that conservatories are occupying”, says John Leary, Sales and Marketing Director, Emplas. “Traditional installations still have their place but we’re seeing the most significant growth coming from larger orangery and hybrid conservatories – which according to Palmer were up by 38% in 2016.”
According to Palmer, the average size of conservatories installed was up last year to 13.7m2 – a 9% increase on 2015, while those of more than 20m2 grew from 12 to 13%.
Palmer also flags the fact that glass has given ground to a new combination of materials, with more brickwork and increasingly, solid-roof constructions. “. . . The conservatories that are being installed are larger and more sophisticated”, write the report’s authors.
“These are positive forecasts but the implications are two-fold. You need a flexible product portfolio but also to adopt a more consultative approach to sales because the proposition is becoming more complex”, says John.
This for the former head of Emplas G-Award winning Conservatory Installer of the Year and Installation Business of the Year, is a mute-point. “You can’t go in and sell a standard ‘white box’, you need to walk the customer through their options and develop their understanding of price point”, he argues.
U-design – conservatory design simplified
U-design, powered by Roofwright, is the culmination of many years of collaboration between RPS (authors of Roofwright) and Ultraframe. Although the software may not be exclusive to Emplas, ‘in-house’ refinements give Emplas customers a distinct advantage. The digital tool is designed to support sales by giving live pricing information there and then in the home or showroom, as the customer’s wishes are catered and designed for using the CAD system.
“It supports anyone working in field sales in identifying customer requirement and building a representation of it, in the comfort of their own room. You can specify the design, glass, swap glass elevations for solid walls or a solid roof, bi-folds for French Doors, and give them a visual in seconds”, says John.
He continues: “It will also price it for you there and then, which can be helpful in closing any reality gap between customer aspiration and budget – you can work through the design adjusting the specification to align the design to individual affordability.”
U-design also features a technical module which allows installers to access a structural design guide using postcode for the specific property. Working on similar principles a thermal design guide means that users can demonstrate how different choices of glass and materials impact on heat loss and solar gain.
Emplas has gone step further with this core platform through four years of development through their retail installation business, T&K Home Improvements. “The standard programme available from U-Design simply allows the for CAD design and to enable the customer to price up the Conservatory Roof element of the job. Where our version differs is, that it includes additional capability, developed over a four year period with our own retail sales and surveying teams”, explains Leary.
He continues: “With our version, when the structure is designed you have full visibility of not just roof product costs but all costs – roof, frames, install costs and building works. The list goes on.
“You can also build in ancillary costings, for example for additional electrical or plumbing works, tiling or laminate floor fitting, sub soil removal and laying of patio slabs.
This, in turn, offers increased visibility and transparency so the design can be tailored to the customers budget, but also allows our customers to promote add-on services. “It’s also fully integrated with our quote creation and lead management systems”, he adds.
Quotation pack – professional quotes in minutes
Accessed through EVA, the Emplas Virtual Assistant, Emplas Quotation Pack software pulls-through detail from U-design to create detailed and professional quotes in a matter of minutes, including drawings, all relevant certification, accreditations and product specifications.
“It pulls in everything for you – terms of business, memberships of professional bodies, the drawings, it gives the consumer 15 or so pages, – it’s an almost complete schedule of work”, says John.
He continues: “It also gives you structural loadings. Surveyors in most cases will want to go out to site again and measure up independently once the job is confirmed but theoretically, it gives you everything you need to get on with the install.”
Flexible product offer
U-design allows installers to pull in a full spectrum of designs from Edwardian, Victorian, P and T shaped conservatories to Ultraframe’s ‘Livinroom’ conservatory/orangery cross-over, the LivinRoof, the UltraSky Orangery and the UltraSky Lantern and Roof Deck, both of which recreate a traditional orangery aesthetic but again, at a far more affordable price-point.
Emplas also supplies the UltraRoof380 which has been developed to tap into growth in the replacement roof market and to meet increasing demand for solid roofs in a new generation of more flexible installations.
“What the figures from Palmer show is that the conservatory sector has had to reinvent itself but the fundamental appeal remains – open, light and airy living space.
“We are in a position to offer exactly that to the homeowner in a choice of new designs, colours and finishes that fully reflect and compliment the character of their individual property but we have to communicate it effectively.
“Our version of U-design allows our customers to do that, taking them through new choices, while aligning product to need and price-point, something that’s supporting them in winning business.”