When shopping for custom window treatments you will be faced with the decision of whether you want to purchase from a big box store or from an independent retail dealer. The big box channel is much, much different than the dealer channel. As such, your expectations should be different. What should your expectations be for the big box channel? In short, you should expect a lower quality product that is not necessarily intended to be the perfect solution to your custom window coverings needs. Below we explain exactly why this is so.
Most big box stores will present their window treatments as being of the same quality as what you would purchase via the dealer channel, but they’re not. Big box stores will advertise their window treatments under well-recognized brand names, when in fact the product is coming from low-end subsidiaries that happen to be owned by well-recognized brands.
To draw a parallel, let’s pretend that there’s a conglomerate that owns numerous brands in the restaurant industry. Their brands range from top-end restaurants to fast food restaurants. You would expect a different experience at the top-end restaurant than you would at the fast food restaurant, correct?
What big box stores are doing is presenting the fast food restaurant under the same label as their top-end restaurant. Their steakhouse has the same name as their $1 burger joint! They do so because it creates the appearance that their fast food restaurant provides the same quality as does the top-end restaurant. They’re relying on the fact that their customers won’t ever eat at both restaurants, and in doing so, discover the difference in the level of quality.
The simple fact is that when you purchase window treatments at a big box store, you will almost always be purchasing cheap product manufactured by a subsidiary in China or Mexico. The subsidiary-conglomerate shell game allows big box stores to then package the product as if it is top-end product, when it’s actually much closer to bottom-end than it is to top-end.
Top-end product is available almost exclusively through the dealer channel. Products sold through the dealer channel will have a longer life expectancy, a better warranty, and a better overall quality. If these are not primary purchase decisions as you shop for window treatments, then the fast food window treatment route is a fine option.
Expertise & Customization
When you’ve got 42 different aisles of stuff, you’ve got employees that have to know about 42 aisles of stuff. When you’ve got one aisle of stuff, you have employees that have to know about only one aisle of stuff. This means that they can achieve a specialization and a true mastery of their one aisle of product.
The custom window coverings industry is an especially intricate industry. It takes a dedicated individual that is willing to tackle the intricacies of the industry. And even then, we often say that it takes 3-4 years working in the industry before everything clicks. Mastering the industry likely takes even longer than that. It’s not surprising then that big box store employees cannot master the custom window coverings industry. This is just a function of the big box store business model, and no slight to big box store employees.
For this reason, some big box stores will partner with a window coverings dealer in the area to offer in home consultations. In this scenario, the dealer – while an expert – is confined to selling the cheap product that is available via the big box channel. This means that the dealer isn’t necessarily expertly addressing your needs. Instead, they’re taking your custom needs and fitting them into a ready-made solution.
This truly is a shame when you consider the wide variety of options and the versatility of window treatments. The level of customization available via the dealer network is virtually limitless.
If you want the absolute best solution, as well as the absolute best product, there really is no decision – the independent retail dealer is the only option.