Pros looking for new ways to reach consumers now have an additional resource to consider: TheBathOutlet.com, an online marketplace for bath fixtures, has launched its Professionals Database to connect homeowners and home improvement professionals.
Inspiration for the development of the database came from the dual desire to better serve the site’s existing homeowner customers by helping them find qualified professionals, and to give pros a new way to find potential leads, says TheBathOutlet co-founder Will Shuhaibar. Customers can use the database to search for firms, browse their past work, read reviews, and ask questions.
He adds that the company’s retail background and customer-centric model are differentiating factors in a crowded marketplace. “We want to take everything we learned about the retail business and, in a way, provide professionals a window of access to it,” he says. “Essentially, the power is in the combination of commerce and services, and that's where we want to innovate.”
Pros can create and complete their profiles at no cost. Along with basic company and contact information, users are encouraged to provide additional details about their business, link to previous work, and upload photos. TheBathOutlet will also provide free assistance to create a more engaging profile as part of the company’s overall commitment to personalized service.
Unlike many other services, TheBathOutlet doesn’t take a cut of revenue from jobs booked through the database, and has no “immediate plans” to do so, Shuhabar says. “In the long-term, we are certain our business will be able to derive value from this,” he says. “It's all about the customer experience for us.”
Pros who sign up are vetted by TheBathOutlet to ensure they are properly licensed and certified before appearing on the database.
Now that the database has moved out of the beta stage, TheBathOutlet is working on expansion. To incentivize pros to sign up for the database, the company offers participating companies a 10% off coupon applicable for all products on the site. “Our goal right now is to scale our database as much as we can, and to make this service worthwhile to both customers and professionals,” Shuhaibar says.
To that end, the company has recently improved the appearance and functionality of the profile pages and is planning to expand location-based services. “Eventually, our goal is to give businesses real-time access to customers who have made an order and need a professional to install their products.”