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Aqualisa is a major U.K. manufacturer of showers. Its managing director, Harry Rawlinson, recently launched the latest innovation in the shower industry known as the Quartz shower. The Aqualisa Quartz shower depicts quality, cost, and ease of installation. During its testing, the product garnered great reviews. But its early sales proved to be a disappointment. Rawlinson must decide whether to divert his strategies insofar as product positioning is concerned in the realm of its existing product line.
Youngme Moon; Kerry Herman
Harvard Business Review (502030-PDF-ENG)
January 16, 2002
Case questions answered:
- What is the Aqualisa Quartz value proposition to plumbers? To customers?
- Why is the Quartz shower not selling?
- Aqualisa spent three years and €5.8 million developing the Quartz. Was the product worth the investment? Is Quartz a niche product or a mainstream product?
- Aqualisa currently has three brands: Aqualisa, Gainsborough, and ShowerMax. What is the rationale behind this multiple brand strategy? Does it make sense?
- What should Rawlinson do to generate sales momentum for the Quartz product? Should he change his marketing strategy to target consumers directly, target the DIY market, or target developers? Should he lower the price of the Quartz? Or, should he do something different altogether?
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Case answers for Aqualisa Quartz: Simply a Better Shower
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Summary – Aqualisa Quartz: Simply a Better Shower Case Study
Around 60% of UK households have showers. The primary customer pain is low water pressure and fluctuating temperatures. Most products in the market (electric showers, mixed shower valves, and integral power showers) do not address those issues fully or each has its own drawbacks. Moreover, many of these products would be challenging in terms of installation for the plumbers who, oftentimes, have to decide which shower to install. Consequently, a UK-based top-quality shower manufacturing company Aqualisa launches the Quartz shower to satisfy customers’ needs.
Before Aqualisa Quartz, plumbers needed about 2 days to install a shower. The installation involved significant excavation. Plus, “a bungled installation often required a second visit, paid for out of the plumber’s pocket”. Therefore, the plumbers would try to avoid unexpected issues during the installation. For that, they would work with the same brand and would be reluctant to innovations.
Quartz introduced ease and significantly reduced installation time (from 2 days to half a day. It did not involve excavation or require so much experience for a successful installation. The reduction in installation time allowed plumbers to install more showers.
The ease of installation allowed master plumbers not to waste time on it and send their apprentices instead, which allowed them to spend time on more complicated, thus, better-paid tasks. The reliability of Aqualisa Quartz not needing as many repairs frees plumbers from spending unpaid time on servicing. Put simply, the value proposition for plumbers is saving time and effort and the opportunity to earn more.
The main issue that consumers faced was poor water pressure and fluctuating temperature. Before Aqualisa Quartz, there existed 3 types of products (electric showers, mixed shower valves, and integral power showers), but they weren’t perfect. Some involved bulky visible elements, some did not improve water flow, some required consumers to manually adjust them, some had to be installed by wall excavation, and some were expensive. Consumers were complaining about the issues regardless of the model or brand.
Aqualisa Quartz addressed consumer pains, plus with added features. With the Quartz shower, water pressure and temperature were reliable and consistent. The consumers did not have to manipulate the temperature anymore, it was automatic, which had unexpected psychological benefits. It was easier and safer to operate, not being exposed to the risk of, for example, being scalded by hot water.
The processor could be located anywhere and elegantly hidden. It could be installed in any position, therefore good for bathrooms of any size. Quartz was much easier and faster to install. Moreover, it did not ask for excavation, which helped save time and money. Anyone does not have to wait for so long to get a shower.
Because the installation was easy, Aqualisa Quartz was also a…
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