Clean toilets. Crisp sheets. Fresh-smelling clothes. All some of the finest things in life – things that, while we don’t think of them every day, we really couldn’t live without.
There’s one thing that enables all of this, of course, and – while it may not be the most obviously glamorous industry – it’s certainly a profitable one.
We’re talking about selling cleaning products. But is it right for you?
Below, we explain how to sell cleaning products online. We kick off with why selling cleaning products is something you should consider. Following that, we’ll take you through our step-by-step guide to help you ideate and build your cleaning product brand – then how to construct, supply, and promote your online store.
In 2021, the US had the largest cleaning supplies market in the world. US businesses also generate the most revenue in a global cleaning products market that, in 2022, was worth more than a staggering $185 billion.
All that means there’s opportunity to clean up in a thriving market – both domestically and overseas.
The number one reason to get into the business of selling cleaning products, though? That there will always be a demand for them. Certain tools and technologies will come and go; certain fads will rise and fall. But human beings will always make mess. They’ll always need to clean, and – by extension – always need cleaning products.
Why not be the one to sell it to them?
Ready to start selling cleaning products?
Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to sell cleaning products – and how to mop up the competition!
First up? Finding your niche.
Your niche, essentially, is the unique slice of the cleaning products market you’ll be attempting to target. It’s a blend of your interests and passions, the makeup of your audience, and the subset of problems you’re planning to solve for them.
In the cleaning products space, for example, you could choose to specialize in cleaning for a specific type of business, industry, or location – such as hospitals, banks, sports facilities, or construction sites.
You could also select a product-based niche – an interesting approach revolving around a cleaning product designed for a highly specific purpose.
To find a niche:
- Weigh up your interests and passions: what are you interested in? What direction do you want to take your cleaning products company in? This is important – you’ll be driving the company, after all, so you need to feel invested in the niche it’ll be operating in.
- Carry out competitor analysis: what are companies already doing in the various cleaning product niches? Where are the gaps – and how could you fill them?
- Conduct market research: pull together a focus group, or incentivize a portion of your target audience to fill out a survey. What are their needs and pain points? How could your new cleaning products business solve them?
Let’s face it – the cleaning products market is a big one. And when you enter the market, you won’t be doing so as a major player. You’ll be up against the likes of Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Colgate-Palmolive – established industry giants.
What drives these companies’ success? They all have established brands. And, if you want to stand out from the competition and carve your own distinct niche in the space, you’ll need to do the same.
A brand encompasses the way customers perceive your company. On a base level, yes – it’s your name, logo, color palette, tone of voice, and the range of symbology you use to represent your business. But it’s also so much more.
Your brand is the promise you make to your customers. It’s not only what your business looks like, but how it behaves, speaks, and presents itself to the world.
So how can you go about creating a brand for your cleaning products company?
- Design a logo and color palette: these will form the backbone of your brand’s visual identity – the symbols and hues they’ll come to associate with your company, your products, and your services.
- Define your brand’s essence: this is your brand’s key characteristics and motivators, distilled into a brief statement or list of qualities.
- Shape your brand’s messages: what core ideas do you want your brand to be expressing at every touchpoint with your customers? Come up with four to five.
- Analogize your brand to an archetype: is your brand the Creator? The Magician? The Hero – or perhaps the Outlaw? Brand archetypes help you drill deeper into your brand’s qualities and unique ‘personality’.
With all this information, you can put together a branding package to consolidate your cleaning product business’s unique new identity. For a more detailed take on how to build a brand online, though, we’ve pulled together a step-by-step guide.
With your niche defined and your brand in good shape, it’s time to get your hands on the actual cleaning products you’re going to be selling – or at least decide how you’re going to get them to your customer.
Here are three ways you can handle this side of the business.
Dropshipping is a form of selling where you don’t actually own – and therefore don’t have to pay to store – your inventory.
Instead of needing to rent or own storage space (usually in the form of a warehouse) for your products, you simply facilitate the sale through your online store. Then, the dropshipping supplier ships the product straight to your customer – no need for you to handle any inventory at all.
Dropshipping has big benefits when it comes to ease and convenience – and it can help keep costs manageable. However, your profit margins will be lower. And, because the supplier handles packaging and shipping, you’ll have less control over the logistical side of your business – not to mention your brand!
Create the Products Yourself
Of course, you can simply make your own cleaning products to sell. This is an ideal avenue if you already have a product in mind, or if you have the technological skills and general wherewithal to design and build (and ultimately, patent) a product.
And why not? There are plenty of examples of niche cleaning products carving out commercial success in an uber-specialized area. These include:
- Gutter cleaning tools (ideal for getting in the rivulets human hands can’t reach)
- Electronic cleaning brushes (perfect for unclogging lint-filled iPhone charging ports)
- Sonic sink scrubbers (as speedy as they sound)
- Window vacuums (why not?)
For more info, our guide to creating a product to sell online should help!
With white labeling, you’ll pick an “off the shelf” product – i.e one that already exists, that’s made by an external supplier – and sell it as your own: in your own packaging, with your own brand’s colors and logo.
White labeling is a good option for smaller businesses – especially ones that don’t have the budget to create their own products, but want to retain the kind of control over their brand that dropshipping doesn’t allow for.
Next, it’s time to set up an online store, and start showcasing – and selling – your cleaning products to the world.
For this, we recommend using a website builder. They’re easy to use (most rely on drag-and-drop interfaces, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy) and let you get online in quick time.
For beginners, we recommend Wix. According to our comprehensive in-house research, it’s the best overall website builder – and you can get online for free. However, we suggest diving into one of its eight premium plans, which range from $16 to $59 per month, for more features and functionality.
If you’re planning to be selling more than 10 products, give Shopify a go. Popular with our users and known for its ability to support big inventories, Shopify doesn’t have a free plan. But its premium plans – which range from $29 to a whopping $299 per month – offer value for ambitious cleaning product companies looking to scale.
Next, it’s time to set up an online store, and start showcasing – and selling – your cleaning products to the world.
Setting up your online store is only half the battle – you still have to promote it!
Before that, though, you’ll need to figure out how to ship your products to your customers – which means you’ll need to figure out what your shipping rates will be.
Shipping rates are how much you’re going to charge your customer – on top of the cost for the product – to ship their order to them. The types of shipping rates out there vary. You could choose:
- Exact shipping costs: charging your customer the exact amount of the cost to ship their item to them via a courier, or through regular postage.
- Free shipping: a great selling point for your customers, or to attract new business – not exactly sustainable in the long run, though!
- Flat rate shipping: a single, fixed fee for particular orders or products.
- Calculated shipping rates: relies on real-time shipping quotes – from a range of different couriers – to provide your customers with the cheapest rates.
You can also choose a shipping rate based on price and weight. In this case, the type of packaging you use will make a difference to how much you charge. And if you’re dealing in larger, heavier cleaning products, this type of shipping rate won’t be as appropriate or cost-effective.
Needless to say, finding the right shipping provider is crucial. For starters, you need them to be reliable. After all, if they mess up and deliver an order late or to the wrong address, it’s your brand that will cop the bad press – not theirs!
Want everything you need to know to boss your shipping? Check out our guide to shipping products for the full lowdown.
With your store set up (and, hopefully, fully stocked) it’s time to get the word out – to shout, far and wide, about your new cleaning products store. But how?
Get Stuck Into Content Marketing
Posting regular blogs – particularly ones that are relevant to your audience, your niche, and the cleaning products industry at large – is vital.
When your brand becomes known for engaging, interesting, and informative content, you’ll find customers beginning to come back – and realize that you’re building a dedicated and loyal community.
Of course, posting regular blogs – particularly those optimized for keywords and search terms important to your brand and industry – won’t do your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts any harm, either!
Spread the Word on Socials
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok are all fantastic places not only to build your brand, and start a conversation with your followers. But for selling cleaning products, too – and you can learn more with our guide to making money on social media.
On social, you can run competitions – incentivizing potential customers to share your posts with their friends, or like your page to earn prize entries.
On top of this, you can share user-generated content (UGC) and use hashtags not only to get your posts in front of a wider audience, but to explore the wider terms and trends they’re most interested in.
Work With Influencers
It’s 2023 – and if your business wants to at least keep in step with the competition, you’ll need to tap into the burgeoning influencer market.
So engage an influencer to post about your products and brand – or, if you’re on something of a shoestring budget, look into the growing micro influencer market. These are influencers with fewer followers, but more of a laser-focused niche. And who tend to come with lower fees – and an extremely loyal audience.
Despite being dominated by some heavy-hitting brands and companies, the cleaning products market is thriving – and, as long as humans have a desire for clean countertops, unclogged gutters, and sparkling showers, it always will be.
How to sell cleaning products online, then? Let’s recap those six steps:
- Choose a niche
- Create a brand
- Source your products
- Set up an online store
- Set your shipping rates
- Promote your online store
That’s just about all from us. But before we sign off with some quickfire FAQs, let us say good luck – and enjoy!
With a well-defined niche and brand, a professionally set up and promoted online store, and the right products and shipping rates, there’s no reason your cleaning products brand can’t compete with the best.
You should only make your own cleaning products to sell if you know exactly what you’re doing – and ideally, have professional training or education in the field. If in doubt, engage someone who does. (Or better – source your cleaning products via an alternative route, like a supplier!)