Senior product manager for Grohe Paul Bailey explains the brassware brand has extended into sanitaryware, and most recently shower trays, with the aim of becoming a one-stop shop
Q: What is the current Grohe sanitaryware offer?
A: We have three ceramic ranges offering a good, better, best proposition with Grohe Bau, Grohe Euro and Grohe Cube. All of them have been designed to match our taps. The ceramics offer PureGuard, an anti-bacterial surface, with Euro and Cube WCs also featuring a triple vortex flush. We have just brought out Grohe-branded shower trays, as well, which go across all three designs.
Over the next couple of years, we will be making serious inroads into the traditional ceramic marketplace. We are owned by a ceramic manufacturer – Lixil – and our ranges are made in the group’s factories. The spread of products is just going to get bigger and bigger. At the moment, we have a limited ceramic range. I’m sure more SKUs will be added – we are also looking at baths – it won’t stop here.
Q: Historically sanitaryware manufacturers have extended their brands into additional categories, so how has it been being a specialist brassware manufacturer moving into wider bathroom sales?
A: The reaction has been good. We are making inroads and I think it is because of the concept of buying everything all in one go and it all matches. People do like ease of choice and the fact it is all one brand.
Q: Would you say Grohe, potentially, has greater recognition because it has been associated with showering and people tend to know their shower brand?
A: Yes. There is a lot of choice when it comes to bathrooms, which can be confusing for the consumer. So, by combining everything together – toilet, sink and tap – and behind-the-wall fittings as well, we are trying to make the Grohe brand a one-stop shop.
Q: What display expectations do you place on a bathroom retailer to sell the Grohe sanitaryware brand?
A: We are not saying to a showroom they need to take all three ranges. It may be that a retailer just shows a toilet and a flushplate. When you go into a mature market, you need to show the quality. The ‘touch and feel’ aspect is still important, so that’s why we are keen on getting it on display in showrooms.
If a retailer has a display, no matter the size, then they are included in the “Showroom Locator” on the Grohe website, to help drive demand into their showroom. It’s the second biggest searched for page on our website with 10,000 hits a month. We are doing enough in the marketplace, as far as brand awareness, such as advertising in The Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph, to be driving people into the showrooms.
Q:How has Grohe performed in sanitaryware sales, so far?
A: We are way above sales expectations – 10% higher than we thought we were going to be, which is significant. People could argue that’s because we are new to the market. The test will be in three or four years’ time when we are more established and see if we are still growing market share. But the fact that we are selling more than we thought we were going to, from a new product in a traditional and stable market, then we’ve done well.