1ST Pricing News Page
E Business Evolving
From March 2001 Window &
Few doubt E-commerce is coming to the window and
door business. Talking to a variety of experts, however, you get different
views of what it might look like. Will dealers sell to builders,
contractors, and even homeowners via the Web? Will manufacturers? Will the
Internet spawn new distribution channels? Or is the Web simply another
part of the infrastructure used to conduct business in traditional ways?
It depends on who you ask, but the answer may be yes to all those
Targeting building professionals and
consumers, 1st Windows has been established as a subsidiary of California
Distribution Center, Inc., to sell name-brand windows at wholesale prices
over the web (www.1stwindows.com).
Although not available to customers nationally, currently products from
Milgard, Superior, International Windows, Atrium, Andersen, and Marvin can
be purchased on-line.
Douglas Lopez, president and founder of the Signal Hill, CA, based firm,
notes that it is in negotiations with a number of other window
manufacturers as well. The company plans to offer licensing of its system
to other manufacturers and dealers, he explains, but it chose to go
on-line on its own to demonstrate that it could be done.
Lopez emphasizes that the company does not plan to work around existing
dealer/manufacturer relationships. “Our goal is to help the industry. We
want people to go on-line with us,” he states.
“We’re a traditional brick-and-mortar window dealer,” Lopez
continues. “We knew no one believed window orders and purchases could be
done yet. Everybody thought it was still two years away.”
Now that 1st Windows is on-line, he reports, it is generating significant
interest from all types of window and door companies. “When it comes to
E-commerce, they know they need something,” Lopez states. Unlike other
E-commerce businesses which have approached the industry, he notes, the
company’s goal is to provide a system that benefits everyone.
Manufacturers are responding positively to the company because it is not
out, he explains, “to ruin the industry.. Manufacturers want to protect
their dealer base.”
The company is simply trying to develop a system which allows products to
sold on-line. It’s up to the manufacturer how the transaction is
structured, according to Lopez. If they sell direct, they can continue do
so, if they sell through distributors and dealers, they can continue to
handle the sale as well, he explains.
He envisions the technology being used by contractors and homeowners to
order products, and by dealers ordering products from the manufacturer.
Eventually, he states, the site will be structured so that users enter the
state where they are located. That will determine the choices of product
offerings from various manufacturers and dealers.
To date, users, including both contractors and homeowners, have been
overwhelmingly positive, Lopez reports. They particularly like the fact
that the site “empowers” them to do pricing. Since going on-line in
May, he continues, business has been increasing approximately 30 percent
each month. The site also continues to add new features, such as more
extensive information about window selection, he points out.
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