Andrew Penny, January 28 2020

Hot Towels & New Markets

Click to listen to Hot Towels & New Markets podcast.

There is nothing quite like wrapping yourself in a nice warm towel after stepping out of a long hot shower. It feels so good that I am surprised that towel warmers are not a standard fixture in bathrooms everywhere. They are, in fact, a rather scarce niche product. You might think that this subset of the population that indulges in the luxury of towel warmers would be a nice tight niche market with buyers everywhere conforming to the same profile.

But it is far from it. 

In the North East US where homes are older, and poorly insulated, bathrooms are cold so a towel warmer is bought as a space heater – with a warm towel as a bonus. In the humid South East US, towel warmers are used to dry towels to avoid that stinky smell. In California, towel warmers, along with bidets, are all about the bling! Hey – check out my sweet bathroom man... (BTW If you would like a really nice towel warmer, visit our friends at ICO Bath here).

So, even though you have a product that sells well in one geography, you would be foolhardy to think the next geography can be won with a simple a copy & paste approach.

Selling to the same type of client in a new location sounds straightforward, but before you launch, here are five things to think about:

The value that your various clients get from your product or service may be very different (see the towel warmers story above) depending on who or where they are.

Competitors may be in a completely different class. And, by competitors I mean, more broadly alternative solutions (you could, after all, dry your towel on a line).

Distributers, resellers and support services will be different.

Time Zones can be tricky. If you need to provide immediate response to clients how do you do that if they are 12 hours ahead or behind you?

Currency is always a difficult challenge. Do you price in local currency, your own currency, an international currency such as the US dollar or perhaps bitcoin? And how do you ensure that clients in other countries see your pricing as fair.

So, the next time you step out of the shower and grab a towel off the rail, think about how other people in your target expansion markets are experiencing their towels and what it can teach you about your acceleration plans.

Thanks for reading,
Andrew Penny

This blog is the fourth in a series providing serious ideas that will involve a bit more effort than our last series on ‘easy things to do now’. If you missed them – you can read them all here

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Written by

Andrew Penny


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