Website Closers® presents a thriving eCommerce Brand that provides a unique Do It Yourself Grouting Solution for Homeowners. The tile market in the United States is substantial, with an estimated 125 million homes nationwide. It is believed that approximately 60% of these homes, totaling around 75 million, have some form of tile flooring or grouting needs. While tile floors offer durability and aesthetic appeal, one of the biggest challenges of owning them is cleaning the grout, which becomes stained over time
Homeowners have two options when it comes to grout cleaning. The first is to hire a professional cleaning company. These experts recommend cleaning tile grout every 6 to 12 months to maintain its appearance. However, this convenience comes at a cost, with the average professional cleaning service ranging from $350 to $400 per cleaning. As inflation continues to seep into our labor economy, that will only continue to rise. Today, homeowners can spend up to $800 per year to keep their tile grout looking fresh. Tomorrow, that can be well over $1,000 annually.
The second option is a do-it-yourself approach. However, DIY grout cleaning methods present their own challenges. Many commercial cleaning products available for grout contain harsh and potentially harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to handle. Furthermore, these products often require vigorous agitation to be effective. Although there are natural cleaning products available that can be sprayed or wiped on and off, they are not typically capable of deep cleaning tile grout. Alternatives like industrial floor cleaning machines can be expensive to rent or purchase.
Ultimately, DIY options for grout cleaning either require spending more money on specialized equipment or resorting to manual labor, such as getting down on one’s hands and knees to scrub. With such difficulties and limitations, it is no wonder that the demand for effective grout cleaning products remains high.
Notably, less than 3% of Google searches are interested in hiring a professional. The vast majority are seeking an effective DIY solution.
This company answered that demand by developing a stand-up vertical cleaning machine that allows users to get off their hands and knees when cleaning tile grout and other challenging surfaces. Unlike all other tile floor cleaners, the product’s brush turns vertically so that the bristles’ edge directly touches the grout. It is the only machine of its kind that concentrates all of its energy on a very targeted area of grout while the user is standing up and expending very little energy.
The owner knew the concept was a winner but initially wondered whether consumers would see the value as he did. That question was answered in January 2019 when a modest test launch on Amazon was implemented. Within two months and with no marketing, all available units sold out. As sales increased, the demand for add-on products immediately followed. Hence, the company began developing a cleaning solution, packaging, and selling replacement brushes.
As soon as the business brought brushes to market, they, too, sold rapidly. Research indicated that demand in the market would be strong, but the sales rate far exceeded expectations.
Once the proof of concept was clear, the owner ramped up production, implemented advertising campaigns, and refined logistics. Sales have soared ever since.
The company now has systems and processes in place and is capable of scaling sales to new heights. A high-end web development partner and a dedicated Facebook and Social Media partner were hired. Additionally, the company brought on a national payment processing company and fulfillment partner. It implemented returns processing and credits systems, eCommerce reporting, a real-time 800 number, a dedicated customer service email, and banking and accounting. Furthermore, in-house video production capabilities were created for assembly and “how-to” instruction segments to help customers and reduce potential queries.
The proprietary products are manufactured in Asia by factory partners with whom the owner has excellent relationships. Products are shipped to the US warehouse and then directly to the end user or Amazon FBA facilities when necessary. Around $150,000 of inventory is maintained, and 15 to 30 orders are dispatched daily.
The idea behind the products, of course, is to offer consumers a new and better way to clean tile grout. Because the product uses vertical cleaning technology, no direct competitors produce or market a comparable product in this segment. The indirect competition includes manual cleaning methods such as mops, toothbrushes, or scrub brushes, which require substantial “elbow grease” yet are not as effective. Alternative options include orbital floor cleaning machines, which clean the tile but don’t get down into the grout lines, or floor cleaning services for hire, which is the most expensive option.
Sales & Marketing Strategy
The primary focus has consistently been on eCommerce sales through Amazon, Shopify, and the company’s own branded website. The digital marketing strategy encompasses PPC on Amazon as well as Facebook, Instagram, Google, and email campaigns for Shopify.
The second phase of the sales strategy is selling products at retail. The business has working relationships with manufacturing reps already embedded with retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Menards, Meijer, Walmart, and Target—many of whom have already expressed interest in retailing the products online.
The company does not spend money on offline advertising, which presents a tremendous opportunity for a new owner with a retail buying network. Being first to market with the right product mix, and having enough inventory on hand, has provided a steady income stream that could easily be scalable for the right company.
The typical customer is a primary homeowner between 45 and 65, seeking an effective and efficient solution for tile cleaning.
Sales remain strong throughout the year, and the owner astutely uses discounts and incentives to negate slumps during what would typically be slower months.
The owner works only ten hours weekly, focusing on admin duties for the corporation, including insurance, licenses, website maintenance, paying bills, and developing new product packages. No staff is necessary since third-party contractors handle fulfillment, customer service, and marketing.
The growth potential for ceramic and porcelain tiles, the most commonly sold types in the US, remains high and will likely increase more, leading the way for a healthy future for all participants in the tile industry.
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