This Luxury Bath Company Dominated the North American Market By Going Online
According to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity at the Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, home remodeling spend will have increased by 8.6% by the end of the year, a massive surge from last year.
Of course, add-ons and renovations are the driving force behind many aspects of the Home and Housewares industry. As Richard Caplan, Director of Marketing at Aston, a luxury bath company, states, “Renovations are a primary reason why we exist. Bathroom renovations are one of the top two ways [consumers] can increase value in [their] homes.” In fact, 26% of U.S. respondents (28% worldwide) of a survey conducted in 2014 said that they were planning a bathroom remodel or addition over the next two years.
“Bathroom renovations are one of the top two ways [consumers] can increase value in [their] homes.”
Aston has been a global luxury bath and shower brand for over twenty years, providing decorative plumbing fixtures all over Asia and Europe before establishing themselves in the North American market. “We’ve pretty much developed into the fastest growing frameless shower door and enclosure brand [online] in the United States and Canada,” boasts Richard. “The demand has outgrown the supply in many instances.”
Promising custom-styled, completely frameless, ready-to-install shower doors and enclosures, the Aston brand stands proudly behind their expertly crafted, elegantly engineered designs. Consumers looking to breathe new life into their bathrooms are not only enamored by the contemporary designs but are impressed by the high-quality, yet completely affordable solution. Richard explains, “[A family] could go to their local glass and mirror shop and get a custom shower for $3500 – $5000. [But] we have over sixteen-hundred models that are pre-fabricated [as well as] ready-to-install luxury fixtures that can cost homeowners just a third of that. It leaves more room in their budget for other home remodel projects, bathroom or otherwise.”
While Aston takes much of the grunt work out with their beautifully modern, minimal hardware and zero framework collections. That’s not to say customers can expect a drab, pre-fab, one-size-fits-most look of “cheaper” quality doors on store shelves. “[We use] the same quality tempered, thick, ANSI clear or frosted glass as the custom-job local shops,” assures Richard. “[We utilize], strong 304 grade stainless steel hardware in three desirable finishes. Quality and design-wise, we’re pretty close to identical to [custom-made projects] and our warranties are just as competitive. The “wow” factor these doors create when guests see the installed, finished product in our end-users’ bathrooms is very satisfying.”
The customer knows best
“In the last few years, we’ve grown exponentially. We’ve met the demands of all our customers and homeowners, in a timely and effective manner,” Richard states. He also adds that by “customers,” he means major online retailers like Home Depot Canada online (at which Aston is largest-offering vendor for shower doors) and a score of other trusted online retailers.
Through extensive research and development Aston is able to meet their customer’s demands. As such, when a retailer gives feedback or asks that a certain model be modified in some way due to popular demand, Aston does their best to heed their request. “We don’t tell anybody what they want,” Richard declares. “Everything pretty much comes to us in some industry-related funnel or another.”
When asked how Aston maintains the promise of a luxury item at an affordable price that is sure to fly off the shelves of retailers and elevate the look of any bathroom, Richard breaks it down thusly, “It’s really three-pillar model, building the trust [with our customers]. The first pillar, is producing and delivering beautiful, high-quality products. The second pillar, is providing top customer service to the end user as well as the retail customer. And the third pillar, is accurately describing, merchandising and standing behind the product.”
Keeping up with the omnichannel consumer
With products that stand heads and tails above the rest, seeing the amount of media exposure Aston has been able to amass over the years comes as no surprise. However, we still had to ask: how does a brand go from being new to the North American scene to being proudly splashed all over the likes of HGTV, DIY Network and (much) more?
As it turns out, Aston’s marketing strategy is just as modern as their design. “Aston’s primary channel right now is e-commerce,” Richard explains. “The people watching online or at home have their laptop or their computer right in front of them, [then they] go to the show’s website, see the item, and buy it right from the same seat they were watching TV from. That combined with third-party home/design blogs, social media and other devices create a winning formula that drives the brand.”
It’s true. Omnichannel shoppers are quickly becoming the bread and butter of commerce and brands and retailers are scrambling to keep up. However, for Aston, there is no scrambling but rather a perfect synergy between all media channels. The end result? Having a well thought-out online presence has served them well, allowing them to connect with today’s “I see it, I buy it” consumer in a way many companies still strive for.
A word to up-and-comers
Finally, we asked what, if any, words of advice Richard had to bestow upon any up-and-coming brands, bath-related or not. “My advice is to work lean and smart, see what others are not doing,” he begins with no hesitation. “Be professional and courteous to everybody because you never know when it’ll payoff. Be willing to listen because, at the end of the day, the customer is the most important thing in the world. Without them, there is no you.”
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