Awhile back, my husband and I needed new windows and had a company come out to give us a bid. The sales rep arrived, took measurements, and then settled himself into one of our kitchen chairs the way you might hunker down into a bobsled. Two hours later, we finally had to ask him to leave.
Endless, high-pressure sales calls are an age-old feature of the home improvement industry.
But now, a entirely new purchasing model is fast approaching and our cover story in the February issue is about one of its pioneers. Normally, we wouldn’t go into this much depth writing about a single product, but One Click Contractor, developed by K&B Home Remodelers, is more than a new brand. The company, and others like it, are the future.
Here’s how it works: The customer takes photos of their home’s exterior and emails the images to the contractor. (Someone from the company can come do it as well.) They have a short conversation about goals for the project. The One Click software then calculates measurements and product specs and creates a proposal. Next, there’s an online meeting between the client and the contractor where the home—now decked out with new products via a visualizer tool—is viewed through a shared screen. Any changes the client makes are instantly incorporated. The contract is signed, and work can start, often without the homeowner ever laying eyes on a sales rep in person.
Experts are fond of saying that Millennials want a seamless online experience when buying products, but it’s not just younger people who want that. In 2016, a survey by UPS and comScore showed that Millennials make 54 percent of their purchases online, compared with non-Millennials who clock in just 5 percent lower. And while those numbers aren’t as impressive for big-ticket items, it’s abundantly clear that buying habits across all price points are shifting to the internet.
In fact, in our article, one of the principals with One Click makes the bold prediction that in the next five years, half of all exterior replacement sales will be completed remotely.
The implications are staggering. For starters, less time spent driving to sales calls and presenting to homeowners will make reps exponentially more productive. In addition, there’s nothing to stop a company from expanding its market area, provided it has workers to install the products. Finally, this business model creates a new mindset for the industry, as even late-adopters will eventually come onboard.