Strip Curtains Direct is among the UK’s most prominent manufacturers of PVC strip curtain kits and has taken a very 21st century approach to doing business. Managing director Andrew Alty details how his company has tapped into the world of ecommerce as an effective means of selling his products.
Strip Curtains Direct originated from a distribution challenge faced by a local PVC manufacturer who had manufactured some PVC strip material, but at the time had no route to market for this product. I initially set about selling these materials through an eBay store which went on to become the genesis of what we are today. While sales were achieved during these early days, this wasn’t achieved in great volumes and margins were tight although I could see consumer appetite for these products to be sold online.
This led to the decision to start manufacturing and selling PVC strip curtain kits. These kits consist of a universal and easy to fit hanging system along with pre-cut strips to fit either standard-size openings before expanding to also include bespoke curtain kits. Greater success soon followed with a higher volume of sales and the efficient and repeatable manufacturing process also helped elevate margins. Following this, we explored more channels to sell our PVC kits also exploring Amazon as a means of online trading and the Strip Curtains Direct website was also launched and has since generated a lot of traffic and sales.
PVC curtains are a commodity product and I believed that this view was hampering customers’ views in this area and so created Strip Curtains Direct to address this issue with a twin focus on two pillars of delivery; Customer and Product.
With respect to customers I felt their experience when ordering a commodity product such as PVC strip curtains could be pivotal in gaining and maintaining customers. Ensuring that customer experience is a pleasant one was a core belief and time and effort was put into this area to ensure it was delivered. This customer focus was also relevant to the second pillar; Product. I was determined to bring new product innovations to market in an exciting convenient and effective way to re-engage customers in the industry and make strip curtains exciting again-if they ever were!! By giving access to these products via a modern, highly visual web platform where customers could order quickly and easily was a revolution in the industry and been a key differentiator for us. Additionally, our attention to detail and new approach to packaging and branding has a proved a real boon with regards to customer loyalty. It may seem insignificant in relation to strip curtains but extensive feedback indicates that customers really respond well to these details.
Niche and Quality Products
The manufacturing of our strip curtain kits consists of taking the PVC strip, provided on rolls, cutting them to the appropriate length and professionally attaching the hanging mechanism to make the customers life as easy as possible during installation. At all times we ensure the product is fabricated to the highest possible standards of quality and safety by highly skilled operatives.
I also saw opportunity to innovate for niche markets and one particular niche product we’ve pushed heavily in recent times is our antimicrobial PVC strip curtain, which actively kills bacteria prevalent in food manufacture as well as other hygienically controlled industries. We own the exclusive rights, in our manufacturing process, to use the antimicrobial additive from its Wales-based manufacturer, SteriTouch. Irrespective of sales, this partnership was truly something to be proud of, gaining us recognition from many industry publications.
I was also determined to ensure the customers experience of the product was good from start to finish and I am a firm believer that first impressions count. To this end I invested a lot of time and effort into creating bespoke packaging unheard of in the industry with fantastic results.
Exploring new product markets
Not only has our fresh approach made us stand out amongst our customers, but also with our competition and suppliers, as they have seen how much Strip Curtains Direct has grown. Having established a reputation for quality products and services while operating a bit differently, our focus is now firmly on achieving growth by offering new products that are complimentary to PVC strip curtains.
There is a real opportunity for this growth, not just due to existing demand but also through the function of our premises in Hyde. We have already added fly screens, industrial draft excluders, strip curtains for schools, hygienic cladding and general warehousing products such as signage and fire safety, with scope and plans to add more.
STRIP CURTAINS DIRECT
Tel: 0333 999 7171