Despite receiving critical acclaim in the trade press for its innovative Quartz shower, Aqualisa Ltd. faced significant challenges in sales and distribution of the product.
Key Issues & Market Segments
Based on our analysis, the key factors inhibiting sales are: ▪ Poor to non-existent awareness of the Aqualisa brand and of the Quartz shower among customers, plumbers and developers ▪ Plumbers, who play a key decision-making role in 73% of purchases, are resistant to change and often perceive the Quartz as unreliable, based on experiences with similar products ▪ Correctly identifying the target market segments and their corresponding channels
At the core of each issue is a failure to understand the bottlenecks that the Quartz faces in the different customer segments and distribution channels. These segments are best analyzed according to the key installation decision makers. These segments include: ▪ Plumber-influenced buyers
▪ Non-plumber influenced buyers
▪ Property developers
Customers in each segment have different purchasing scenarios and needs. Aqualisa needs to have an insight into these segments to generate demand for Quartz.
As previously stated, plumbers perform a critical function in the Decision Making Unit (DMU) of Aqualisa Quartz Showers. Within this segment, the key issue is to incentivise plumbers to “push” the Quartz to the customers they advise regarding installations.
Purchasing Scenario and Customer Needs
Incentivising plumbers is a major obstacle for Aqualisa, mainly because of high degrees of loyalty to existing systems and the perception of high switching costs, higher prices and unreliable technology. Plumbers are also in high demand, which makes them especially hesitant to install products that they are unfamiliar with, or that they perceive to be unproven or a risk for follow-up visits.
Under the current circumstances, the consumer is left without much choice of shower type and often faces costly and inconvenient remodelling. With the Quartz, consumers have the opportunity to get a technologically superior product at a lower price. Plumbers would also have a greater opportunity to avoid low margin remodelling jobs.
Aqualisa’s existing marketing strategy is inadequate to align plumbers’ incentives with their own; 90% of the sales force’s time is spent maintaining existing accounts, 10% of their time is spent to develop new customers. Significant efforts should be made to educate and incentivise a greater proportion of plumbers about the Quartz.
Educational activities such as on-site presentations, mock installations, and installer testimonials could help demonstrate the value of the Quartz to plumbers. These materials should specifically highlight the fact that the Quartz’s ease of installation will allow plumbers to service more customers, expand their customer networks and make more money. These activities should also be targeted at plumbers working in multi-person organizations and in metropolitan areas.
Aqualisa should also provide financial incentives to plumbers for installing Quartz showers, such as a rebate program. Ideally, these incentives would be coupled with data collection programs so that Aqualisa could gain additional information about plumbers and further details about their installed units.
Non-plumber Influenced Buyers
While plumbers’ influence in selecting shower products is significant, there is still a considerable portion of customers (27% of mixer shower users) who choose shower products by themselves. These customers can be sub-categorized into two segments—customers in the premium segment who place a premium on style, rather than performance and customers to prefer to install their own fixtures (DIY or do-it-yourself).
Purchasing Scenario and Customer Needs
Customers in the premium segment typically browse in showrooms for...