Window covering dealers are reporting increased awareness of motorization from both residential and commercial customers. And why not? The ability to control light, views and privacy with the push of a button is very appealing, especially when motorization can control horizontal as well as vertical movement.
But most customers have no idea of what to ask for and worry that motorization
will entail wires running up and down their walls to reach out-of-the way electrical
outlets. Many customers wonder if it is even possible to add motorization after
the window coverings already have been installed. Many think it is only an option
in new construction while walls are open and accessible.
This is where you come in. These customers look to their window coverings professional
for guidance in selecting a product that will offer them the convenience of motorization
with easy installation, trouble-free application and no need for replacement.
Yes, it also helps sales if the motorization is available on products that have
a large selection of stylish options.
Motorization used to be costly and complicated. Installation required professional
electricians. This has changed.
The potential for sales of motorized window coverings has exploded with the introduction
of low-cost battery-operated systems, which have greatly reduced both the price
and the complication factors.
In recent months, two leading manufacturers in the window coverings industry—Techniku,
Inc., Broomfield, CO, and Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, Upper Saddle River,
NJ—have teamed to provide a powerful and reliable battery-operated motorized
option for several lines of Hunter Douglas products. Techniku is an international
company that designs, produces and markets interior window covering automation
solutions and controls.
PowerTilt™ battery-operated remote control motorization was introduced
by Hunter Douglas at the International Window Coverings Expo in Baltimore, MD,
in early April. The system tilts blinds open or closed by means of a hand-held
remote control, making it ideal for large windows, hard-to-reach places and for
the elderly, physically challenged or those who are simply looking for more convenience.
The system allows slats to tilt fully in both directions smoothly, efficiently
and relatively quietly. It is designed to operate up to three blinds individually
with one remote control from as far as up to 50 feet away. Its infrared receiver
eye features an adjustable clip that can be hidden anywhere on or around the
MATCHING MOTORIZATION TO
Battery-operated motorization solves installation problems because it does not
require complicated wiring. For example, the PowerTilt system operates with four
AA-size batteries. Lithium batteries can provide up to five years of use and
are installed in the headrail at assembly, so the system operates as soon as
the blinds are hung.
This system also can be retrofit into existing blinds in a matter of minutes.
Just by connecting the receiver to the battery pack and programming the remote
it is operational, making it convenient, easy-to-use, safe, quiet and discreet
with an easy-to-hide infrared receiver eye. In addition PowerTilt motorization
is backed by the Hunter Douglas lifetime limited warranty.
But as important as easy installation, ease of use, convenience and safety is
to the homeowner, there is more to selling motorization options. The systems
themselves must be matched to the product. For example, the PowerTilt remote
control for half-inch and one-inch aluminum blinds is small and very quiet. The
Powertilt for two-inch blinds is strong enough to easily handle the additional
Automated window coverings also must be offered on the right product and for
the right application. Since May, PowerTilt has been available on select higher-end
Hunter Douglas Alternative Wood Blinds and Country Woods® product lines.
And as of September, it has been available with most styles of the new Modern
Precious Metals™ aluminum blind collection.
“PowerTilt . . . is an important addition to Country Woods and Alternative
Woods Blinds and Shapes lines and our new Modern Precious Metals aluminum blinds,
adding increased value to these products,” says Greg Farr, vice president
and business unit manager of the Hunter Douglas Window Coverings Division.
ADVANTAGES OF TIMING DEVICES
Another level of convenience and security can be added to automated systems with
the option of timing devices. PowerTilt is available with a timing device that
may be programmed to open and close window coverings at specific times of day,
thus protecting furnishings, floor and wall coverings, and art from harmful ultraviolet
rays that can cause fading and damage to fabrics and wood when rooms are flooded
with sunlight. Moreover, it may be programmed using a holiday mode to open and
close shades at different times each day to make it appear as though someone
is at home.
Timing devices are yet another advantage that can be used to up-sell customers. “With
PowerTilt we are significantly enhancing our offering and providing dealers with
a great sell-up feature in an already popular category,” says Farr.
IMPROVING THE BOTTOM LINE
By adding motorization to window coverings, dealers can add real value to products
they are selling and enhance their profits. With few dealers in each market presently
specializing in motorization, you can set yourself apart. For your customers
there’s the opportunity to eliminate manual controls. This is especially
appealing both to parents and pet owners, as cords present a safety hazard to
children and pets.
In addition, in many situations manual controls are difficult to access when
furniture, built-ins and plumbing fixtures are in the way. Motorization is the
ideal solution for large and hard-to-reach windows, and an excellent way for
dealers to improve their gross margins.
Timothy Bates, president and CEO, Techniku, Inc., brings 20 years of business
leadership to the company. He has been essential in building businesses that
excel and become market leaders, from Fortune 500 companies to start-up operations.
He holds advanced degrees in business and engineering. He is responsible for
all aspects of Techniku's business including partnership development and strategic
Tom Santer, product brand manager, Hunter Douglas Window Coverings Division,
brings 10 years of consumer product marketing experience, the last five in the
window coverings industry. Most recently, Santer coordinated the launch of EverWood® X-tra.
He is involved all aspects of product development and strategic planning.