Unmanned machines buzzing about at home, brooming and mopping the floor, became a not uncommon sight during the pandemic. Homeowners and consumers have grown to relish the flexibility and autonomy offered by home cleaning robots, and manufacturers have capitalised on this trend, which – even after a sharp uptick and subsequent plateauing during the pandemic – is here to stay.
Amit Gupta, Vice President, Milagrow Business and Knowledge Solutions Pvt Ltd spoke to Mrigank Warrier, Assistant Editor, Clean India Journal about the brave new world of b2c cleaning robots.
How do your b2c product offerings differ from your b2b offerings?
Our b2b range has professional-grade models with a higher Lidar, higher suction power and a special scheme for facility management companies which would rather rent than buy cleaning robots outright. While we have duct cleaning robots, pool cleaning robots and lawn cleaning robots, most of the focus in the b2c segment is on floor cleaning, which constitutes almost 95% of the market. There is a lot of innovation coming in with robots which can clean their own mops and dust bags.
How should a home cleaning robot be assessed?
There are a few things to consider while buying a robot for home cleaning purposes:
- Suction power: Varies from 1200-2700 Pascals.
- Battery backup: From 2600 mH to 3200mH to 5200 mH.
- Moving technology being used: Gyro or Lidar. Lidar is high-end tech, which will eventually become more stable and the way forward.
- Mopping technology: Whether the robot is self-cleaning or not.
Most robots clean very efficiently when it comes to brooming. Indian customers typically want both sweeping and mopping functions, and we provide this.
Indian consumers are not familiar with robots and may not be equipped to assess them. Is this a challenge?
Yes, this is a challenge we are facing, which we overcome by educating customers and conducting live demonstrations of the product.
We have a two-pronged approach. We do virtual demonstrations over video calls or give the customer the option of having a live demo in the comfort of their home, for which we charge a nominal fee. If they decide to buy the cleaning robot, we deduct that money from their purchasing price.
What questions do customers ask?
There is a five-year warranty on suction motors, so customers generally don’t ask about the life of the product. Most customers are curious about the efficiency of the product. Once this is demonstrated to them, they decide to buy the product.
Apart from floor cleaning robots, what other products are in your b2c range?
There are window cleaning options which are very good, and swimming pool and lawn cleaning robots too; however, very few people own swimming pools or large lawns. This is why floor cleaning robots dominate this segment; whether it is a home or an office, everybody cleans the floor every day.
Beyond individual homeowners, are residential communities also a focus area for you?
Yes, we have connected with a lot of society managers and decision-makers. In descending order of requirement, their need is for floor cleaning, pool cleaning, window cleaning and lawn cleaning robots.
What is your target market?
Our major target cities are Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai. The response from the first two has been very promising.
There are many progressive large corporations, especially in the pharma and IT industries, which have realised that their employees will have to work from home for a longer period of time; they are gifting home cleaning robots to their employees. We have had some very big orders and are looking to partner with more such companies.