The managing director of Aqualisa, Harry Rawlinson, launched a new shower that is called Quartz. Despite of its features such as quality, safety, cost of installation and ease of installation and usage, the early sales have been disappointing. The problem is not that sales are low, but the reasons why sales are not as expected. Some of the reasons are related to distribution channel, promotional strategy and positioning of the product. Consequently, the real problem here is how to boost sales. The biggest issue is having problems with reaching plumbers because they are the key players interms of being a reliable source for consumers when choosing the product.
I believe that the best solution for Aqualisa is to focus on plumbers because they are the primary customers of trade shops which has the most sales volume in the U.K. shower market. In addition to this, plumbers also work for developers, showrooms, contractors or directly for consumers. As we can see, plumbers play a big mediator role in the distribution channel and reaching the end consumers. First of all, trade shops focus on demand and they do not have time to explain the benefits of the new product. If Aqualisa get plumbers to demand Quartz, trade shops have to stock up this product because their primary customer is the plumbers. Secondly, showrooms also offer installation services by subcontracting with contractors or independent plumbers. Once plumbers are convinced and informed about the benefits of the new product like ease of installation, they will become a source of word of mouth to push showrooms to call attention to Quartz by emphasizing the low cost of installation. Similarly, plumbers will help convince developers by suggesting the new product. Lastly, consumers in the standard price range trusted an independent plumber to advise or choose a product for them. Sales will automatically be increasing by getting plumbers to select Quartz for this consumer segment. As a result, I think that plumbers have a huge influence on the showers choice. For this reason, Aqualisa has to find ways to reach plumbers and to make them loyal to the brand.
Aqualisa can reach and convince plumbers to use Quartz by implementing the followings:
• Arranging a conference for plumbers and developers: Aqualisa should invite plumbers and developers from all over the country for a weekend conference to present the benefits of the new product and demonstrate the ease of installation. The number of plumbers and developers should be identified as 5 plumbers and 5 developers from each city which will be total 500 given 50 cities in the U.K. The cost of this conference will be approximately €350,000 including the staying, traveling and sample product cost. There also must be an incentive for these people to devote their time. The incentive should be giving the Quartz shower to every participant because when they try it, they will get over with the skepticism toward technologically new products – at least for Quartz. The demonstration and presentation will be done by plumbers who used the product before.
• Giving away a free product to try: Even though plumbers suggest Quartz, some price conscious consumers might not want to buy it because it is relatively expensive compared to other brands in the product category. For this reason, Aqualisa will give a free product to those of consumers. Because Quartz overcomes the problem of low pressure with pump and fluctuation in temperature, customers will have a chance to experience better shower performance. This will also help build brand awareness, so the company can also target those types of consumers which will eventually lead more and more word of mouth.
• Providing an unconditional guarantee to plumbers and customers: Aqualisa should accept products that are returned within 6 months if there is any problem with installation or product without any conditions.