How do we show people our products if we can’t meet them?

By Frank Buckley, IDSystems
For the last 20 years at IDSystems we have relied heavily on exhibitions and events to demonstrate our architectural glazing systems, until COVID-19 struck and forced us to completely rewrite our marketing strategy.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine Autumn/Winter 2020
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How do we show people our products if we can’t meet them? 1

Exhibiting our award-winning glass sliding doors and German made bifold doors at shows across the country, such as Grand Designs Live and The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, have been a core element of our strategy and the perfect way to demonstrate our products to a motivated and engaged audience.

As we all appreciate, being based in Norfolk has many benefits, but for a company installing doors across the length and breadth of the country it does have some geographic drawbacks. The challenge therefore has been to continue to engage with our customers without having the luxury of doing it on a face-to-face basis.

Video, video, video

To overcome our lack of direct contact with customers, IDSystems has turned heavily to video content and digital channels. With a complex and technically detailed product offering, attempting to explain the nature of our door systems using words alone requires significant engagement from our customers.

Replacing paragraphs of text on our website with short videos that have been uploaded to a new virtual showroom on our website, has allowed those undertaking an extension or renovation project to get a feel for our products from the comfort of their own sofas.

Utilising video calls

Whilst our virtual showroom has worked perfectly as an initial introduction, the bespoke nature of our glazing systems means that an in-depth discussion on some of the finer detail is almost always required. Normally this would involve a visit to our showroom to finalise configurations, exact measurements and even colours, so utilising video call technology has proven hugely valuable.

With everyone more familiar than ever on using WhatsApp, FaceTime, or one of the many other video conferencing platforms, setting up a quick video-call from our showroom has become a routine part of the customer journey. Our project advisors have quickly become experts at demonstrating products via video, and screen-sharing tools have proven invaluable for going over architect plans and confirming exact specifications.

Missing the personal interaction

The old adage that ‘people buy from people’ is especially true in our industry because the learning curve for someone undertaking a self-build project can be incredibly steep.

Customers are therefore incredibly reliant on the interactions with suppliers and experts, and removing the face-to-face interaction makes forming those relationships more problematic. Where the virtual showroom and video calls have aided us is in the humanisation of the IDSystems brand. We are more than just a website; there are real people with a real passion for our customers’ projects that work here.

For architects who we would normally meet on a face to face basis to carry out CPD training, using video conferencing and online chat tools have become invaluable, especially since the majority of practices and studios are now working remotely. In effect our specification managers have become an additional member of the architects’ teams, acting as a knowledge base for glazing specification at the other end of an online chat tool. Thus, saving valuable time and resources that would normally have been spent picking the detail out of project specifications and standards.

How do we show people our products if we can’t meet them? 5

Case studies and blogs are key

For customers starting their journey, the ability to see completed projects and case studies is an incredible resource. Social media has always been the go-to tool for researching designs and for shortlisting materials and styles.

However, adding more in-depth detail about the glazing specification on previous projects has created an extra-level of detail to our website. This has increased the performance of the site and has also become a valuable resource for customers trying to shortlist potential suppliers.

In the same way useful and engaging blog content has proven to be popular as well. Our project advisors have made notes of all the questions they get asked on a weekly basis and our blogs over the coming months will continue to answer these topics – creating trust signals throughout our website and building on our reputation as industry leaders.

Positive response from customers

The feedback from our customers has been hugely positive and the website analytics back this up. Our website visits have risen significantly, although that is not overly surprising given the reliance on digital channels. The most crucial element has been the way our digital channels have been utilised. The time on site and the average page numbers viewed has nearly trebled as the video tools have driven the types of engagement that would normally have required a face-to-face meeting.

Frank Buckley is the CEO of IDSystems. Their award-winning sliding doors, bifold doors and glazing solutions are fitted on renovation, extension, and new-build home projects across the UK. For more information E: info@idsystems.co.uk or visit: idsystems.co.uk/virtual-showroom/ and take a virtual tour of the showroom

How do we show people our products if we can’t meet them? 9

Frank Buckley is the CEO of IDSystems. Their award-winning sliding doors, bifold doors and glazing solutions are fitted on renovation, extension, and new-build home projects across the UK. For more information E: info@idsystems.co.uk or visit: idsystems.co.uk

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