Opening New Online and International Markets for Huet Doors
Case Study

Opening New Online and International Markets for Huet Doors

Sixty Second Summary

After 50 years of success in their home market of France and its former colonies, Huet Doors came to The Familiar for help launching their line of acoustic and fire-rated timber doorsets in the UK.

The Familiar provided strategy, design, development, and content to promote Huet’s fire-rated and acoustic-rated doorsets. We created an experience aimed directly at decision makers operating in Huet’s target sectors, providing detailed and relevant technical information to help them confidently specify Huet products to their requirements.

Under our management, the site and its content achieved seven–eight figures worth (£GBP) of annual enquiries and 10–20 qualified requests for their technical specification brochures per week.

Since then, the site achieves low seven-figures worth of annual enquiries and two-three brochure requests per week, even though work on the site has been minimal over the last five years.

Vital Statistics

Huet, a JH Industries SAS brand
1000+ employees
2 people
10 weeks for initial site; ongoing content creation and consultancy
Design Strategy
Content & Information Architecture
Creative Design
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Front-End Development
Technical Strategy
Back-End Development
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Full Story - 5 Minute Read

Setting the Stage

After 50 years of success in their home market of France, Huet Doors sought a design partner to help them expand into the UK. Huet’s Export Department, who were heading up the UK expansion initiative were drawn to The Familiar for a number of reasons.

Our strategic experience, technical and creative expertise meant we were able to deliver the solution Huet Doors would need to expand their operations outside of their primary market.

Our Managing Director’s previous experience working and living in France meant that The Familiar had an understanding of French business culture and the French language that other agencies of our kind didn’t.

Finally, our remote structure meant that we were well suited to working across various locations and time zones, minimising the cost involved with travelling to and from France for meetings and workshops.

Understanding the Problem

After a series of meetings with Huet executives, which were conducted in French, we were better positioned to understand what it was Huet were looking for.

It was clear from these meetings that they were looking for support with strategy, design, online and offline collateral, and content to support the newly established UK Sales team in their fledgling marketing campaign and launch into the UK market.

Image of information and content structure - an early step in website design
By planning the content and information architecture of the site, we understand what pages we'll need to build later on.

Due to the international nature of Huet, they required a design and tech partner who understood UK business culture, but who could work with them in their native French language and business culture. Our team was uniquely equipped to work in this way.

Defining the Problem

Working alongside Huet, we were able to define the marketing operational requirements for the project, making use of the UK Sales Manager’s in depth knowledge of the UK construction industry.

Our remote working structure allowed us to work closely with both the UK and France team, through on-site visits and off-site working at our Canterbury studio. This approach to working helps us maximise productivity and communication whilst minimising additional costs such as travel and hospitality.

We were quickly able to identify target professions and sectors and identify how the marketing and sales processes should work to best address their needs. This process made it clear to us that we would not just be working with design, but also with content strategy, information architecture, and customer experience.

This work would later inform the visual design and layout, but it also helped us identify Huet’s core strength: creating innovative, high-performance products with unique options and finishes only available from Huet.

Image of an early wireframe for the website presented on a tablet. Behind the tablet is an office hallway.
Wireframes replace content with blocks, making it easy to try multiple different layouts quickly.

It was at this stage that we were able to understand and specify constraints, such as Huet’s desire to serve a traditional fixed-width design, based on their customer’s typical journey as well as budget and time constraints.

Coming up with Ideas

A few different ideas and solutions made their way through the design process into the final product.

Information and communication was tailored specifically for the target professional groups who specify the products: hoteliers, acousticians, interior designers and architects. This direct targeting of professionals helped pre-qualify leads and reduce the number of enquiries from the general public, whom Huet do not supply.

Again, there was dedicated, relevant info on the website for each sector Huet were targeting: hotel & leisure, studios, auditoria & stadia, education, health. This targeting of professionals and sectors fed through all information on the website.

The new website included detailed, specific product information on their website, including full technical specifications. We found that acousticians and architects used the technical information when writing their own product and material specifications for projects. This led to contractors visiting the site after searching for products which match the required specifications, and requesting information such as availability, specific properties and prices.

To help professionals find the right products for their clients, portfolio items are filterable by product, sector and application.

The brochure request facility proved very popular, with professionals looking for permanent product references and material they can take on the road with them.

A screenshot of the Huet Doors website shows Brochure Request and Price Guide in prime position on the site.
Given their popularity and usefulness, the Product Brochures and Product Price Guide take pride of place on the front page.

The Price Guide facility is also hugely popular. For professionals who are used to collecting and supplying the information they need to spec out a door, the form gives them a way to add these details as they go and quickly get a rough price. The level of detail requested reassures them of Huet’s competency and capabilities as a company.

Logic built into the Price Guide diverts those potential customers that Huet doesn’t serve to more appropriate resellers or stockists, based on the project or industry they’re working on.

For consumer trade, the Price Guide has the opposite effect. Not used to supplying so much information, they are put off by the questions asked. As Huet is purely a trade supplier, this discouragement saves their sales team time in dealing with the wrong type of customer.

Following best practice, the Price Guide gathers just enough information for Huet to be able to reply with a ballpark figure, which is useful to professionals, and start a conversation about the real requirements, which is useful to Huet.

On Reflection

When Huet’s UK Marketing Team was in operation and actively managing the site with new content, the website generated seven to eight figures (£GBP) of annual enquiries and between 10 and 20 product brochure request per week, all from qualified leads.

When the board-level decision was made to disband the UK sales team and partner with a UK company to supply all products, the Export Department requested us to keep the site live, though with less-frequent updates.

Five years later, the site still generates low seven figures worth of annual enquiries and two to three qualified brochure requests per week. And although the site is UK focussed, it leads to enquiries from across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. This has lead to the site opening new potential markets for Huet Doors in the Middle East and South East Asia.

We still enjoy an excellent relationship with Huet, undertaking ongoing minor administration and management of the site to ensure that it continues to stay online.

“We are very happy to work with (The Familiar). Their design and technical skills have allowed us to present our range of products and options for unique finishes to our customers, online and at exhibitions. We have had a 40–50% increase in relevant online enquiries since (The Familiar) redesigned our website.”

Christophe Airiau, Export Sales Director, JH Industries
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