Proud of its family-run origins, 2F Srl of Altavilla Vicentina (Vicenza, Italy) aims to expand its customer base and strengthen web communication. The engineer Damiano Fanton, son of the owner Sergio, tells us the story. He joined the company in 2012 and now holds the position of Commercial Technical Manager.

You represent the third generation of door and window installers, is that correct?

Yes, although the company was founded by my great-grandfather who was a carpenter. In the 1960’s, with my grandfather, the company specialized in the production of wooden windows. In 1974 my father started working in the company in various positions and since 2000 has been the sole owner of 2F.

Should you present 2F in just one or two sentences, what would you say?

I would say that 2F is a company that has as its strength in its basically family-run character. We are a working group of 15 people, but the client who comes to visit us does not find an industry that overbears it with a set pool of products. It finds greater flexibility, the opportunity to speak directly with the owner, the possibility to make products or structures that others do not make for strategic/organizational reasons.

I believe that any client, whether a private or a professional, finds in us a more fertile environment. We are manufacturers that have the ability to assess the feasibility of certain products or installations, thus giving the client a targeted and solid solution.

Who are your clients?

Currently 60% of our clientele consists of private individuals. Why? Because in the last two years the private sector has received on average a greateramount of information. The private client who wants to buy windows for his or her own home, before deciding who to go to, enquires about the materials, then enquires about the company, the type of service, the suppliers, etc.. Sometimes I meet private individuals who know my suppliers better than I do.

Those who come to us hardly care about PVC because they have already made a choice. They visit us as well as 2 or 3 of our competitors, and then evaluate us and these other similar companies based on the same parameters. The private is a difficult customer, however, precisely because of this high level of information. The private client acquires a lot of data, but often connects it in the wrong way, skips some passages, matures opinions that are difficult to correct.

The number of small-sized carpentries we used to serve has plummeted due to some closing down and others turning into furniture manufacturers, etc..We have reduced the number of companies we had been working with for a long time, and the same goes for the retailers.

I think that in the last two years, wooden door and window salesfor resale has become impossible due the very low purchase costs of PVC products. I myself believe that the retailer finds more convenience in choosing PVC, because thisovercomes many of theparticular problems related to the wooden product itself, to the installation phase and to the training of the installers.

To install a wooden window you need specialized installers, otherwise the results are bad. We have four qualified interior installers who, in addition to having attended the CasaClima course, really know how to handle wooden windows.
Architects and designers are in a category by themselves, more specifiers than clients actually.

Which requirements are more specific of private clients?

The window or door must be made well, full of options, must cost little, zero delivery time. If the private individual could choose the installers too, it would do so. Of course, not all clients require all of these elements at the same time, but the average client has reached a very high – sometimes unreal – level of demand. For the client, the company must be a kind of “deus ex machina” in every aspect.

On the other hand, nowadays there is no one who buys only a window: the people who come to us buy at least the window and the shutter. Others call for insulation monoblocks, interior doors, etc..

Your market of reference?

Mainly the North-Eastern area of Italy, called“Triveneto”.

For how long have you been a TWT partner? Which aspects of this company do you like especially?

We have been Rekord clients and nowa TWT partner since 2006. The aspect we like the most is the chance of having direct contact with the agent and with the TWT management. This is a key factor for us, because it allows us to solve any issues very quickly. With the merger, we find ourselves interfacing now with a much larger company but I hope TWT will not lose this direct contact with its historical clientele.

Are you developing any projects together with TWT?

In the last 2-3 years we have developed new window and door products together with TWT, such as the 92 mm co-planar window. We have also invested, and are still investing significantly, in wood-aluminum windows and doors that are also co-planar, with flat geometry both on the inside and on the outside.

Which of your products are the most popular?

The dedicated wood-aluminum window and the classical Clima 80 window certified by CasaClima with three seals and triple glazing. This product meets all of the most common requirements and tastes.

Which marketing and communication strategies are you putting in place to tackle the current market?

We try to maintain a constant and coherent level of communication through the Internet via our website, our blog and our newsletter. We have outsourced this function to an external company. We also invested in advertising in publications but it was a fruitless experience. Nowadays, when advertising through the press, unless you invest in a highly structured and significantly large campaign, nothing comes of it.

Next year we plan to widen our sphere of communication through the social media, especially the ones in which the visual impact is key.I am convinced that the client must see the finished product, namely the window or door fully installed in a house and in its destined environment.

The technical and technological aspects are no longer a novelty for anyone because to be placed on the market and sold, the product must have given characteristics and minimal performance levels imposed by law, so where’s the difference? The difference lies in the perception of the product set in the context of reference.

How do you see the market now?

The market today is in a situation of slow dynamism. There still are niches in which business moves, where one manages to set up more or less fruitful projects with architects and designers. In general, one must continue to focus attention on all channels and all prospects.

At this time, in the residential sector, out of 10 private clients, 2 buy wood-aluminum products, 2 buy wooden products, another 1 clients buy high-end PVC, while the remaining 5 clients buy PVC windows that cost exactly half of what the most economic kind made with other materials costs. Once in a while the aluminum window is also chosen, although this kind of product is preferred mainly for industrial and commercial buildings.

How did 2018 go, how is 2019 going and what do you forecast for 2020?

We could have obtained more from 2018, but unfortunately we had some personnel problems that affected the result: two of our employees left on maternity leave and we had to invest time and resources to find two new employees and train them. In our line of business it is actually difficult to find qualified personnel for any position.

Things are going better in 2019 and for 2020 I hope in further improvement. I realise it seems obvious, but we are engaged in a few projects that should give us additional satisfaction if they succeed.

Can you tell us more about these future projects?

We are setting up a contract with a USA contractor, and I think it will take off soon. We also plan to widen our pool of clients by intercepting a few professional figures of the sector via direct sales initiatives. And finally, as I have already mentioned, we intend to improve our communication via specific social media networks.

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