A Case Study on “The World’s Best Toilet Plunger”

How we sold 640,000 units of a commodity product in an already crowded market

5 mins read

In a previous article, we highlighted how our Magic Gel Ice Pack made a brief, fun appearance on BBC's Bake Off. Those brief moments came from a mix of good branding and a little luck. Today, we're shifting gears to talk about something that didn't need luck at all: our strategy to increase sales and get our product, "The World's Best Toilet Plunger," to be the UK’s best selling plunger for 5 consecutive years.

Emphasizing Sales-First Strategy

Our approach is product-neutral, but marketplace specific. The skill set for selling on online Marketplaces is the same regardless of the product, hence why we have manufactured and sold products as diverse as diaper creams, ice packs and toilet plungers.

Basically, if we can sell it, then we’re interested regardless of the product.

Our primary objective is sales optimization rather than specializing in any specific niche. We have discussed our overall strategy in depth but in brief we identify search intent, and study the sales data then work to design and manufacture a product to capitalize on the opportunity.


June 2023

The Plunger Pain Point

Consider a household with multiple children and only one bathroom. When the toilet is blocked, the pain point is obvious and immediate..

If you don’t have access to a plunger or any general plumbing knowledge your options are limited; traveling to a distant hardware store or engaging costly professional services. The most efficient solution often becomes online research followed by an online purchase.
Additionally when all other things being equal, a high need leads to a less price sensitive customer (hence why emergency plumbers charge a high rate). In general Amazon flattens the price with the high levels of competition; but there is still room to maneuver.
So we have our niche; have identified our pain points, we’re now ready to decide our sales strategy.

Market Strategy

Given the high sales volume of plungers [as shown above XXX], the competition is fierce. Our approach encompassed three of the four core aspects of marketing:

Product: The product had to receive above-average ratings; in practice this would be a 4.5 star product and a high review velocity

Promotion: We utilized both on-platform and off-platform Amazon advertising (PPC, SB, SBV, SBDA, DSP) and leveraged Google search and Google PPC for additional visibility. We also secured off site advertorials capturing those people searching for terms such as “what is the best plunger” in Google and Bing.

Place: The easy one, we ensured next-day delivery via Amazon Prime.

We chose not to compete on price, positioning our product as a premium solution. Pricing a product on an online marketplace is difficult as there are so many variables to consider; particularly with the ‘Amazon Flywheel’ where higher unit velocity leads to higher organic ranking, the solution is to secure a higher than average click through rate and conversion rate. That starts with product design.

Designing and Tooling

This style of plunger, also known as an elephant toilet plunger is much more common in the USA where they have much more low flow toilets than the traditional UK toilet’s, so the tooling wasn’t a significant expense – we just had to make amendments for the UK market.

The product was named ‘The World’s Best Toilet Plunger,’ a playful claim given its unique design advantages.

The World’s Best Toilet Plunger

Captivating Presentation and Naming

Visual representation and storytelling are vital in e-commerce. Our Amazon listing required some creative adaptation due to the shape constraints of plunger images.
Specifically we needed to take advantage of the square image format to reduce the whitespace around the product.

Achieved Results

This initiative proved highly successful, with over 250,000 units sold worldwide. It’s not uncommon to see a Luigi’s plunger in a public restroom; despite it’s size and unconventional colour.

Future Direction

If there is an area for improvement, it would be product licensing. Initial market entry required us to build consumer trust in a relatively new brand. The potential for even greater success exists in collaboration with established retailers like B&Q, Lowes, or Home Depot.

Established brands do not need the same high level of product differentiation to succeed. Thus they have a lower barrier to entry and are able to secure rankings in highly competitive niches.

We remain committed to seizing this untapped opportunity by actively seeking partnerships with established brands. Please get in touch with us here if you want to discuss your brand strategy.