We had the pleasure of interviewing Drew Mansur, Director of TileCloud and Co-Founder of the company, to learn about the team’s journey and growth over time as it revolutionizes the renovation industry. But how does TileCloud market and grow its business online? We discuss the company’s experience with the popular website builder, Shopify, and learn more about how TileCloud has found success.
“It’s no good having an amazing product or service if you can’t effectively communicate it to the people who need it.”
“Mark Wilkinson, Floss Kelly, and I started TileCloud about seven years ago after some lackluster renovating experiences ourselves. We felt like there was an opportunity to revolutionize the process by bringing together tech, great customer service, and quality products that embody the Australian sense of style. TileCloud was born: an online tile brand shaking up the renovation industry with a hassle-free, design-led buying experience.
We set ourselves apart with our refreshingly simple product range, unbeatable customer service, expert design support, and inspiring content. We’re here to help renovators unleash their renovation potential.”
“Personally, having come from a B2B background into a B2C business, my biggest professional development has been in learning how to effectively communicate with retail customers. In my role as Head of Performance Marketing for the business, I have had to learn a lot about consumer psychology, digital marketing, and effective communication to make sure our messages are hitting the mark. It’s no good having an amazing product or service if you can’t effectively communicate it to the people who need it.
We’ve built good customer relationships just by putting ourselves in their shoes and thinking – what would we be feeling if their scenario happened to us and how would we like to be treated? Generally, taking the stance of higher accountability for what has happened has served us well in helping make customers happy.”
A Growing Team
“The main thought I have when thinking about our growth from a team of three founders to the current size of 26 employees is just how it seems like we are constantly hiring new team members. I can barely think of a time when we didn’t have a need for more staff.
We are proud to say we still have our very first employee working with us in the business and we regularly work with a wide range of consultants to help make TileCloud hum day-to-day.”
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“Social media has allowed us to disproportionately share our message relative to some of our biggest competitors. The meritocracy of the platforms means that if we keep creating good content, we will continue to have a prominent voice in the eyes of our customers – the next generation of renovators.”
“When we first launched the brand, we had a massive disconnect between the visual identity of the brand as it appeared on the website/socials compared to the actual product and price point we were offering. It took a good couple of years to massage that back to a place where everything was in sync and cohesive in the customer’s eyes.
I think similar to most businesses in the renovation/home improvement category, we were beneficiaries of a big uptick in renovation activity during COVID. Since then, we have also felt our fair share of the “hangover” as people have redirected their disposable incomes back towards international travel. I don’t think our experience has been too dissimilar to everyone else in the industry, to be honest.”
“The launch of our own branded products was a big turning point for the business. Moving from a reliance on local wholesalers to creating direct relationships with the factories and putting custom-designed TileCloud tiles into TileCloud boxes was a very proud moment for the entire team.
And, collaborating with Three Birds Renovations, the top renovators in Australia, has been a great partnership that we have loved being a part of. Their work is constantly pushing the boundaries so it’s been fun supporting them as they blaze a design trail in the industry. Helping support their vision with custom products has been a tricky challenge but also a major differentiator in allowing us to service their needs comprehensively. Sometimes their creative visions can’t be met by the existing products in the market, so we have worked together several times to make new products.”
“Convenience is the key. Consumer behavior is evolving towards more and more convenient ways to shop so we leveraged a website and online sales capability to meet them where they are at.
We originally started out with a custom CMS, but quickly realized that a) we weren’t that special and did not warrant a custom front end, and b) the security, robustness, and serviceability of a mainstream ecommerce website provider like Shopify was too good to pass up.
Shopify is just the industry standard. It’s a common language everyone is comfortable with and that is impactful when your business depends on it.”
TileCloud Website Gallery
“We run almost 50 apps on our Shopify store to make it all work the way we want so it’s safe to say there are a few tools we’d recommend! Probably Gorgias should get a mention as a standout. It helps us consolidate all inbound customer communications into a single platform where we can better manage and track how we efficiently deal with every inquiry.”
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“We started on Basic and have moved up through the plans to where we are now, which is on Plus. Basically, as revenue increases, the transaction fees become more and more impactful. At certain revenue thresholds, it makes financial sense to upgrade to a more expensive base plan, which is offset by cheaper transaction fees.”
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“They recently rolled back the number of Shopify Plus reps they had which meant we went from a designated rep into a group management structure. We’d love a single point of contact back.”
“It’s going to cost a fair bit more than you think. And that goes for everything – the key hire you want to add to the team, the marketing campaign you want to run, the consultant you want to engage, the new product you want to develop. Good work is expensive to facilitate.
Also, find a reference website you love and dissect the elements that make it special. Treat those elements as secret sauce and incorporate them from the beginning. To flesh it out, add your own spin whilst retaining the core features you know make a special site. This should give you something that feels both familiar and unique as you add your own flavor on top of the amazing websites that have come before you.”
“We are working on building out a more tailored offering to support builders and trade customers which we are super excited about.”