Alternative Approach: Buying Windows Online


Imagine buying a window online, an installer coming to your home, and you never had to leave your computer to window shop.

It’s no surprise that with the rise of technology and online shopping that this would translate to all areas—including the purchase of windows and doors. So if you don’t want to step into a window or door showroom and touch and feel the product, there are options.

Consider a company such as Window Universe in Alexandria, Virginia. After climbing the narrow steps, you enter a small, spartan space where two friendly staffers are working at computer terminals in casual clothes. A puppy lolls on the floor nearby. That’s right. No matching polo shirts. No name tags. No khakis. And no grip-and-grin sales pitch.

Call it Windows-Dot-Com

There’s a reason why this company looks a lot different than many others in the industry. Most lead generation and customer interaction occurs online, a trend that’s seen tremendous growth in the door and window industry over the past few years. While it’s hard to land on exact numbers, the increase almost certainly mirrors the surge in consumer preferences for online shopping, a revolution that’s overturned sales strategies and tactics across many industries.

For example, a recent survey of more than 5,000 online shoppers by United Parcel Service Inc. found that for the first time, consumers say they bought more of their purchases online than in stores. Shoppers now make 51 percent of their purchases on the web, according to the survey by UPS and analytics firm comScore Inc.

And then there are the millennials. According to the U.S. Census, there are about 75.4 million of these tech-savvy younger consumers. As they get older and starting buying (and renovating) homes, these “digital natives” could make online window shopping the only game in town.

Another company that has embraced this model is Zen Windows, a company with locations throughout the country—but the company does most of its business through the Web.

Scott Groves, the president of national expansion at Zen Windows, says, “Eventually all home improvement companies will realize they have to transition to our style of business model.”

Zen Windows started with two locations in early 2013 and today has 32. So what’s Zen’s secret? A window quote in five minutes, all done online, and no in-home, high-pressure sales pitch. If a customer wants to hire the company, Zen sends out an installer to measure the windows, which are private-labeled but manufactured by Soft-Lite Windows in Streetsboro, Ohio. The products arrive in less than two weeks and are installed a few days later. And payment isn’t required until the job is finished.

A Lot of Ways to Work

Like a lot of companies in this niche, Window Universe differs from Zen in that it uses the web to connect with interested customers, then dispatches a “mobile showroom” with product samples to a homeowner as part of a sales demonstration. The company’s website, www.thefutureofreplacementwindows.com, says they can come to your home, show you their products and give you a quote for a replacement job in just 45 minutes.

Window Universe also appears to be operating with little overhead. But Groves says there’s a lot more to web-based window sales than a guy and a laptop. Doing your research is important to any large purchase decision, such as this one.

Who’s Selling Online?

The companies profiled here simply serve as examples of alternate ways to purchase windows and doors. While a Google search for “online window sales” turns up thousands of hits, here’s a small sampling of others doing business online:

Window E-Store (www.windowestore.com): This Texas-based company lets you fill a shopping cart with windows before you check out. You can pre-select styles and sizes.

House of Windows (www.thehouseofwindows.com): Based in suburban D.C., they’ve been in business for 16 years. The company lets you pick products online, then puts you in contact with a sales representative.

Window Liquidators: (www.windowliquidators.com): This company’s system displays budgetary prices based on location and window type.

Windows Over the Web (www.windowsovertheweb.com): Another firm that gives you a price when you make a selection, then routes you to a sales representative within 48 hours.

Big box stores: Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards all sell products via the web.

Whether you opt to purchase online or in store, Glass.com is one resource that can help you find a reputable door and window dealer. The online locator can not only help you find the right company but an appointment can be booked directly through the site.

And no matter the method or company you choose, always do your research, and this could include looking at online reviews as well. Before you start shopping you will want to answer some basic questions:

  1. What material are you looking for? Wood, vinyl, aluminum, composites, or a combination thereof, are all options with different advantages to consider. Where you live may play a role in this as well.
  2. How much are you looking to spend? Are you willing to pay more for higher quality?
  3. What is your main goal in buying new windows? For example, aesthetics, energy savings, low maintenance, or other factors.
  4. If energy savings is a big motivator there is a great deal of research you can do on that end also. Look for the Energy Star label, for one, and if you are looking for increased efficiency look for Energy Star’s “Most Efficient” designation. There are many helpful websites as well including the Efficient Windows Collaborative.

Many of this information can be found via the Web and Glass.com offers many articles on windows and doors, in addition to this one so use those as a resource as well. In fact, book your job right from here at Glass.com.

 

© 2019 Glass.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed written permission. Questions? Contact info@glass.com.

Glass.com attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted.  You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.


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By Tara Taffera

Tara Taffera is the editorial director for USGlass magazine, Auto Glass Repair and Replacement, and Window Film magazines. Her skills and more than 20 years of experience have helped her earn numerous journalism awards, including coveted Jesse Neal Awards.

Tara enjoys spending time with her family and staying active with her husband by competing in races together, including triathlons. She also spends time volunteering in her community and with her church.


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