Sonya Awning April 29th, 2018 - 12:09:05
Bettering the Customer Experience Retractable awnings can create a more pleasant outdoor experience. This has subtle but tangible effects on customers. The area around entrances is cooler and shaded, protected from rain, and generally more pleasant to be in. The primary function of a better customer experience is better foot traffic. The stylishness of the awning makes customers want to browse, and the glare, heat, and rain protection makes it more comfortable for them to do so. The sun protection has a dual utility, though. The UV protection (since suns rays never reach the interior) preserves window displays and interior furnishings and prevents fading. Even the inside of the store is more appealing for customers, and the heavy investment in signs and merchandise is protected from passive sun damage.
Longevity. Fixed awnings have a fabric lifetime of five years or less because of constant exposure to the sun, snow, rain, and wind, all of which can fade or tear the fabric. Retractable awnings have a huge advantage in being able to retract - the fabric can be protected in adverse weather conditions. Combined with options like a motor and sensors (for light, wind, rain, and motion), the awning can be closed automatically in conditions which would normally damage the fabric or frame. Retracting the awning when its not in use, like on shady or cold days, cuts down on sun damage to the fabric from UV exposure. With a retractable awning, the average lifetime for the fabric is 15 years - three times better than a fixed awning. Since retractable awning frames have warranties of up to 25 years and motors have warranties up to 5 years, motorized retractable awnings offer a really excellent cost investment.
Retractable awnings were quick to catch on in Europe, from open air markets to apartments and homes. In fact, the classic lateral arm awning is called a California Style Awning in Europe - and a European Style Awning in the US. Now, the retractable awning market is decidedly driven by Europe. Millions of retractable awnings are sold there annually and are found on the majority of homes and businesses, even being considered in the architectural design process. The highest quality manufacturers, most innovative new designs, and emerging trends are coming from European companies. By comparison, the awning market in America has been limited to mainly commercial buildings. Substantially fewer awnings are sold in the United States yearly - less than 50,000 - so the market, according to the Industrial Fabric Association International, is only about 2% saturated. Theres room for a change.
Awnings have been common for more than 2000 years; retractable awnings have been around for almost 150 years. While the history of using awnings stretches far back in Europe and retractable awnings are commonly used there today, theyre rare in the United States - despite the fact that retractable awnings were invented in the US. This uneven adoption has led to an exposure of design options in Europe - intricate frames, new types of retractable frames, bold colors, and luscious patterns - while America, treating awnings as a practical afterthought, has stayed more conservative. A Quick History Some form of awnings has been around for millennia, starting in Egypt and the Middle East and spreading across the Roman Empire. Most of those were fixed canopies of mats, skins, or fabric bolts hung over poles. In the mid-1800s, shop owners began using movable awnings, which simply bunched up the fabric when it was taken down. In the latter part of the century, they began rolling awnings on a tube, cleanly retracting them and keeping the fabric safe. With minor variation, this is the same basic design used today on lateral arm retractable awnings.