While the industrial and commercial markets for cleaning have witnessed remarkable growth, the domestic/residential market still remains an unorganised selling space. There are ranges of products listed online as well as in the trade channels. However, efforts to educate the customer about the right equipment for the required job is certainly not among the top three priorities for industry players.
The Indian Market has Eureka Forbes Limited with a host of other local brands and as well as multi-national companies like Bosch, Phillips, Black & Decker, Panasonic and Morphy Richards competing for a share in the consumer business pie. The sales effort for all the brands are highly dependent on channel partners’ effort and interest in their brands- which translates to margins and ease of sale (better understood as Brand pull) essentially in that order. The customer piece in the bargain sits down below in the list. Not much effort goes into communicating with the customer and helping them buy a machine with the correct specifications and features in line with the usage in the clutter of products. This in turn leads to low usage, users struggling with attachments and therefore leading to minuscule domestic replacement market. The AMC Market for cleaning products also continues to remain very limited. Most of the differentiation is around features and price; benefits of usage, post purchase on-site training / demos are most often not on the priority list.
The cleaning equipment are products with high utility and efficiency wherein the user of the machine saves a lot of time and does a better job as compared to manual cleaning. It’s therefore important for all industry to consolidate the “Why Machine “ and “Which Machine” communication and then get to the “My Machine” space. If the customer is talked into buying an under-specced or an over specced equipment it doesn’t help. For the industry to grow and also get a fair mindshare of the customer it is important that there is a focus on usage. Using a service team to drive this with 3 mandatory services (charged or FOC) is a good way to increase customer interaction. This can lead to Q&A or objection handling or query solving discussions between the user and the seller which in turn can improve usage and therefore from a low priority buying decision the product moves to a high usage and important house hold product
Cleaning as a process has evolved over the years and the equipment, its need and importance is understood much better now. The difference between cleaning and hygienic cleanup (removal of dirt, dust and bacteria) is a concept which is gaining popularity too due to awareness as well as exposure.
For example, wet and dry dusters/mops can easily be replaced and one can have five star hygiene standards at home. It takes very little training and an observation to handle these do it yourself range of machines.
It is therefore important for the domestic user to identify the right machine in line with the surfaces and environment. The industry players have a vital role to play every time they communicate to consumers. The existing industry players haven’t even scratched the surface of this immensely potential market, it’s not exactly a low hanging fruit but – One company just needs to break away from the conventional methods and talk to the addressable market in very clear and intelligible language and walk away with the first mover advantage and a sizeable share of the growing market.
The Author has over two decades of Leadership experience in the Consumer Market – Traditional Channels & Modern Trade and is looking to help companies set up operations and grow in the Domestic Cleaning space.