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Vacuums With Vision

Consumers demand for new features creates material challenges for vacuum OEMs.

Consumers have indicated that there’s nothing quite so satisfying as seeing a dust-filled canister after an hour’s worth of vacuuming. In turn, vacuum cleaner manufacturers are searching for new solutions in plastics as they integrate clear windows and dirt sensors in their products.

Remaining on top of the trend, Bissell, Grand Rapids, Mich., has introduced a new addition to its ProHeart[TM] deep cleaning units. The ProHeat[TM] Clearview[TM] Plus upright deep cleaner has a clear window that lets users see how well the unit does its job. Additionally, its housing is a rich, chromatic plum accented by charcoal gray trim and knobs.

To get the color produced rapidly, Steve Darcangelo, senior buyer at Bissell, calls on Clariant Masterbatches, Albion, Mich. “The housing for the ProHeat[TM] Clearview[TM] Plus has seven different parts produced on seven different machines, and it is vital that all the colors match exactly,” explains Darcangelo. “They’re all made from the same base resins, so we’re not dealing with the complexities of trying to match colors across different types of resins, but it’s still a challenge.”

Yes, Please Complain!

Believe it or not, you should want customers to complain.

Take the manufacturer of a vacuum cleaner which, when it first entered the Japanese market, was flooded with complaints that the bags leaked dirt. Management was incredulous — it had never heard about this problem from its buyers.

In fact, the Japanese were right. The cleaners did leak, and the manufacturer found and repaired the problem. In this case, the difference between a mediocre product and a better one lay in customer response to corporate behaviour.

Obviously, a Canadian has no more affection for a leaky vacuum cleaner than a Japanese. So, why did only the Japanese complain, while the Canadian buyers kept silent? The primary reason is that most Canadian firms are poorly organized to receive and act on this type of information, and their customers know it.

Vac Vendors Sharpen Department Store Focus

In their effort to woo the department-store market, vacuum-cleaner vendors are increasing advertising and in-store demonstrations. Beyond offering a sharp price and margin, manufacturers also must pull customers into a store.

If manufacturers don’t do the best they can on margins, we won’t be in business,” said Dan Whitney, assistant buyer for Jordan Marsh. “But ad dollars are always a big help.”

The buyer from an East Coast chain also attributed the success of Royal this year to ad dollars. “There’s no doubt that their ads are pulling people into the store,” he said.

Another buyer added that aside from ad materials, vendors should concentrate on more demo support. “You have to sell them when you have them in the store,” he said.

When Electrolux developed its concept of direct selling through retail outlets, a cornerstone of the program was and still is in-store demonstrations.

Eureka Introduces Cordless Upright: Full-size Vacuum Rechargeable

Eureka introduces cordless upright BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Eureka Co., one of the leading floor care manufacturers, has unveiled a full-size cordless upright vacuum cleaner operated by rechargeable batteries — a unique device, according to the company.

The Freedom vacuum cleaner is “a quantum leap in convenience and an entirely new product category for the floor care industry,” declared Gil Dorsey, Eureka’s new president.

“It’s the only new product that lets consumers thoroughly vacuum all their carpeting without a cord.”

The unit, which the company has been touting as “the next generation” in floor care, will be introduced at the Housewares Show in Chicago, which begins Jan. 15. Eureka said it has scheduled an array of product additions for the show.