Thursday, 31 March 2016

Selling Mosaics for Fun and Profit

Because we've just received new mosaic samples from our factories we've been unpacking them and thinking hard about how to sell mosaics.

Mosaics are expensive which is why they are often only used in decorative strips. But precisely because they are expensive compared to ordinary tiles they represent a great opportunity to increase your margin.

Here's how you do it...

1. Play the safety card. Ask whether the customer has children or seniors at home. Shower floor tiles should be no larger than 15cm and 10cm or smaller is recommended but first prize is mosaics. There are two reasons for this: One is so there are enough grout lines underfoot to provide traction for slip resistance. The other is that you need small tiles to cover a sloping drainage floor.

2. Play the beauty card. Glass tile, with its jewel-like qualities and multiple color options is an attractive sell. Given the price differential even the addition of a decor strip around the bathroom and say the shower floor can increase the value of the sale by up to 30%. Remind customers that the footprint of their bathroom is really quite small; generally only 6m2.

3. Play the design card. For a clean, continuous look advise your customers to use the same material on the bathroom floor and the shower pan. This floor expanse is only broken up by the curb. Mosaics throughout are safer and much more attractive.

4. Then also remember to up-sell to the best quality adhesives and grouts.

The beauty of this approach to selling is that you're not selling your customer short. On the contrary you're offering the best professional service.

The benefit is that your customer leaves with a higher opinion of the purchase they've just made which means that they will talk about them and in all likelihood be back for more... and you've increased your profit by 30% or more!

All the best,

We're working on our new mosaics range now. Look out for it soon.

I promise you...this technique works!   ...Really well.
The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Grout and About - 7 Fixes

We've been grout and about testing tile adhesives lately. Because we've set up a tile sample-making workshop next door we tested various tile adhesives to fix tile samples to our cardboard folders and eventually decided on flexible adhesive which is normally used for mosaics. 

All this gluing led us to thinking about grout. I'm sure you have had customers come in complaining about grout problems. Grout can turn a good-looking tile job into a bad one. Furthermore, no matter how grout is applied, problems can crop up. Fortunately common grout problems are usually easy to fix. For each problem below there's a cause and a solution you can advise your customers to follow. If it is necessary to retile a section, always advise customers to employ a qualified and reputable tiler.
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Latex caulk
  • Pre-mixed grout
  • Grout saw
  • White vinegar or speciality grout cleaner
  • Stiff bristle brush
  1. Fix minor grout cracks. Grout cracks are the most common problem. House settlement or improper underlayment installation usually cause small grout cracks. Minor cracks can be fixed by this process. Run a bead of latex caulk across the width of the entire crack. With your finger push the caulking into the crack. Wipe any extra off the tile with a wet sponge. Sprinkle dry grout onto the caulked area. Use a finger to rub this in. Drip water on the area and blend. With this method if the tile moves again the caulk will stretch to help hide the crack.
  2. Fix low grout. Low grout spots are created when the installer wipes to much grout out of the grout joint during installation. To fix, wet the grout with clean water and re-grout, blending the new grout into the old. Wet grout bonds with new grout better than dry will.
  3. Fix powdery grout. Soft powdery grout is caused when the installer does not use enough water when mixing the grout. The only solution is to use a grout saw or knife and remove the problem grout. Re-grout these areas with properly mixed grout.
  4. Fix pinholes. Grout with pinholes is caused when the installer uses soupy grout. Too much water was used during mixing or the installer left too much water on the joints while wiping. As the grout dried the water evaporated leaving holes. The solution here is to dampen the holes with water and push grout into the holes with a finger. Wipe off extra grout with a damp sponge.
  5. Fix discolored grout. New grout that is discolored with dark or dirty looking spots, is caused when the installer added too much water to the grout and then let it sit in the bucket to thicken up. The colorant separated and clumped together, creating uneven color. There are two solutions. The first is to remove bad grout using a grout saw then re-grout. The second is to use a grout stain to even the color. This usually means you have to paint all of the grout.
  6. Fix two different colors. If a tile was repaired and the wrong color grout was used you can do one of the following. Remove the wrong color and replace with the new one, blend the new one into the old one, or stain the new grout the right color.

  7. Clean dirty grout. Dirty sanded grout that has not been stained can be cleaned with white vinegar or speciality grout cleaner and a stiff bristle brush like a hard toothbrush.
All the best,
The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

A Wonderful Variety in a Single Porcelain Range.

We recently filled an order for a wide variety of tiles for a hotel construction project. Some tiles were for floors, others for feature walls in social areas like lounges and restaurants. Yet others for floors in circulation spaces. Most tiles were specified as cement-like finishes in tones of grey.

In addition there was a requirement for accent tiles in much brighter colours.

When the client saw the variety available within the range and spotted these hexagon tiles they were entranced. The hex tiles were immediately added to the order.

Some apparently ordinary grey tiles an fact have fairly subtle patterning etched in. These are used as accents in otherwise plain areas. What a difference they make!

What is perhaps most remarkable is that all these tiles come from a single range, they are simply digitally printed, cut and finished in different ways. The bodies are all top grade porcelain.

If you or one of your customers have a project requirement like this, get in touch with us to discuss your needs. We can customise one or more container loads for you.

Visit our recently updated KREM website to see our new inkjet designs.
All the best,The Link International team, KREM tiles.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Dealing With Buyers' Remorse.

What is buyer's remorse?
Buyer's remorse is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item such as a car or house (or a major home improvement like tiling). It may stem from fear of having made the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller. The point for us in the tiling business is that buyer's remorse can lead to product complaints and unless you are aware of the psychology happening in the customer's mind you may end up pressured into accepting a complaint as real when in fact it is spurious and simply the result of the customer having second thoughts.

Although excited at the time of the purchase, once they've spent a lot of money, many people feel a deep regret and concern that they made the wrong decision. Buyer's remorse takes many different forms, most of them typified by a high level of anxiety. The buyer then seeks to reduce that anxiety by somehow regaining control.

The psychology.
Psychologically, buyer's remorse makes perfect sense. A consumer switches from one state to another when making a purchase. In the state before they've made the purchase they have choices and influence, so they experience a degree of power in the world specifically they have purchasing power. After the purchase, however, all options have vanished. They no longer have a choice. Buyer's remorse may set in as they see themselves locked into a single decision, which may or may not have been the best. No longer acting from a position of control, many people react by seeking to distance themselves from the purchasing act, to reaffirm their sense of having had a wide field of choices. Buyer's remorse is, in this way, seen as a very simple state of cognitive dissonance, where the desire to retain complete control and infinite possibilities clashes with the reality of actually exerting that control by limiting those possibilities.

One way in which buyer's remorse may be expressed is a customer returning to the tile store and complaining about the tiles they bought after installation. They may manufacture faults in their mind in order to justify their uncomfortable feelings of buyer's remorse. This can be dangerous for both the supplier and the retailer. Although we should make every effort to evaluate product complaints we should be careful to ensure we are dealing with a real fault and not simply the buyer having second thoughts.

An example.
Here's a real example: A particularly houseproud customer with an impressive and beautiful home recently installed highly polished pure grey porcelain tiles throughout  A couple of weeks later they submitted a complaint that the tiles were stained and dirty looking. On investigation they did indeed appear dirty looking. The problem was just that, the tiles hadn't been cleaned properly. The colour and sheen of the tiles were such that the slightest mark was obvious.

The fact is that the customer was having buyer's remorse because the difficult-to-keep-clean tiles were not living up to their expectations. It was turning out to be a major effort to keep the tiles looking perfect. There was no fault in the tiles whatsoever, rather the particular choice; grey polished porcelain was unsuitable for the image the customer wished to create. A less glossy, perhaps patterned tile would not have shown the dirt as readily.

So... beware of buyer's remorse.

All the best in your business and your relations with customers.