The value of differentiation

Graham Bucktrout became the Managing Director of Lecico UK in 2010. Now the 2nd largest bathroom ceramic supplier to the UK and this year celebrating 30 years in the UK, he believes the growth has come from offering his customers differentiation.

Businesses like to have a USP, a unique selling proposition, that sets them apart from their competitors and traditionally bathroom ceramic manufacturers have strived to design a string of new products to set themselves apart.  But Lecico has proved service can also provide a differentiation and they’ve grown to be the second largest ceramic provider to the UK market on the back of that strategy.

Some of us can remember the days when a new colour of bathroom ceramic brought differentiation which is no longer the case with almost 100% of bathroom ceramic being supplied in white.  In fact today the proportion of ceramic in a bathroom is vastly reduced to what it was just 5 years ago, so as one of the worlds largest ceramic manufacturers a new approach was needed at Lecico and that varied on the local market.  In the UK whilst most of the largest players have focused on product design and brand building, the Lecico approach has been split between keeping their branded offer fresh and also offering an own label solution to customers.  And it’s the latter that’s seen exponential growth over the past 5 years.

I’m a firm believer that the local merchant or retailer is the brand in their locality.  Many have been trading in that area for years and customers, be they trade or consumers, who prefer to visit a showroom or ‘bricks and mortar’ store to purchase bathroom products have grown to trust them over those years.

At Lecico we’ve found that these merchants and retailers relish the benefits of selecting their own range of bathroom ceramics, price positioned by them to suit their customers.  Products that they can have packaged uniquely for their brand and can promote as they wish to suit their businesses without parameters being set by the manufacturer.  Arguably they rarely go down this route alone and this own label collection is most commonly at the value end of their product offer but it’s still a popular solution that Lecico continues to grow and serviced efficiently.

Bathroom ceramic is not the quickest product to design, manufacture and bring to market.  New suites can take months, if not years to perfect and launch and in a quickly changing and competitive market place merchants need more ammunition to compete than simply waiting for the next new ceramic design to come out of the kiln.  An own label solution is something we’ve become experienced at offering and that’s largely because we are a small closely knit team at Lecico in the UK so are able to adapt and change quickly offering an alternative solution to our merchant customers in own label domestic or commercial products.  These products can then be promoted specifically for the individual merchant with a tailored service approach to suit.  Once set up we then provide a great aftersales service too including the support of our visual merchandising team to ensure that the product looks great and is supported by good point of sale and literature in either the showroom or shelves in the warehouse.

How do you differentiate?  Could your bathroom business grow too on the back of an own label strategy? 

About Guest Blogger - Graham Bucktrout

md of Lecico

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