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Lessons Learned: The Bat Door Feeds on Conservation of Energy

Battic Door, based in Massachusetts, has 15 years of development. With a $ 5,000 investment in a credit card, owner Mark Tyrol has turned his home insulation ideas into annual sales of $ 1.5 million.

"I found a manufacturer locally, and I created the website to sell the product.The first day I opened the site, I sold my first product. "

This first product was an insulated loft cover called "Battic Door". Designed to meet new international energy conservation codes for sealed access points, the R-50 cover insulates retractable ladders and attic door hatches.

Mark Tyrol

In the space of one year, the Tyrol recovered its initial investment of $ 5,000. Since then, he has acquired a 7,500 square foot warehouse to distribute a range of home energy products. This includes vent covers, pet door insulators, furnace insulators and the exclusive US distribution of the Fireplace Plug, an inflatable firebox insulation that has generated over $ 1 million in sales. in five years.

Tyrol still works as a senior engineer at FM Approvals, an independent testing and certification service. But in the morning, evenings and weekends, he continues to grow Battic Door through direct fulfillment, online retail partnerships, influence marketing and related products.

"The theme for us is an effective and economical way to make your home more comfortable by stopping the air currents.As a business, we have been able to attract a more wide public on our website.The addition of other people's products has been a good way to expand.Someone might be looking for a stair cover from us, and buy something more.By having more than 60 products with a general purpose and theme, we are able to attract people to our website that are likely to find something they like. "

Patents and Trademarks

Tyrol owns four trademarks under the Battic Door brand.

"I learned a lesson the hard way.I started selling a product that I created to test the market.After some success with the product, I've learned a lesson. I filed a patent – and I realized that because the product had already been sold, it eliminated the possibility of obtaining a patent for it. "

He was however able to receive a trademark for that. He has since hired a patent attorney and offers this advice: "It takes a lot of time and expense to secure intellectual property (intellectual property) .Prepare to spend $ 10,000."

Reseller distribution chains

Initially with its website, Tyrol expanded its e-commerce business by adding online channels.

<img class="wp-image-150188 size-full" src="" alt=" The Battic Door, an insulated staircase-attic cover. "Width =" 252 "height =" 188 "/>

The Battic Gate, an insulated loft cover.

"I've added eBay, Amazon, Rakuten, Sears,,, Facebook, and many others.In the past 15 years we have increased from 20 to 25 % per year, on average, of adding new online portals. "

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About 60% of Battic Door's revenues now come from these channels.

"Each of these merchants, from Walmart to Menards and Amazon Canada, has their own portal to download orders, then you process the order and download the tracking and shipping information. a billing process to confirm the shipment. "

Marketplaces charge a fee for each item sold. Amazon, at 18%, is "by far the most expensive channel." But the popularity and safety of the Amazon Web site and the exposure it provides outweigh the costs "Other chains, like Home Depot and Walmart, pay an agreed price for each item sold.These portals also pay for shipping.

Each portal is different, in other words.

Get the contract

The first reseller of Battic Door was Home Depot. Tyrol submitted a supplier request and was selected to do a product demonstration – "essentially a sales pitch" – at The Home Depot headquarters in Atlanta. The Tyrol financed the trip with the profits of Battic Door and went to its first official Battic business trip.

"We were lucky, we had an interesting product and we gave a successful presentation." The next step was the integration of merchants.

"Once we did that, because Home Depot is a very strong channel, we have been invited to several e-commerce channels."


"My wife and I take care of the case, and we have up to six part-time people who come to help us, two of whom have been with us for a while. know how to work on their own tasks and help us. "

Tyrol obtains the components of the products it manufactures from American manufacturers. The components are made for Battic, and the Tyrol and his team are assembling and packing.

Accomplishment and Expedition

About 90% of the products sold on are stored in its warehouse. Even products that Tyrol does not manufacture are bought in bulk and stored there.

"We give priority to ship each order on the day of arrival, and by the same day, before 3 pm, from Massachusetts, many orders arrive the next day – even with standard ground. "

"To speed up this, most of our items are pre-packaged and ready to go." We pack the items in separate boxes. "For many items, we put all pre-packaged boxes in a larger box to send to the dock. loading where our carriers – UPS, USPS and FedEx – come and pick up all day long.We also ship pallets by truck, but for large size orders from contractor.

"Most people do not want to pay for the shipment, I do not blame them, I feel the same, but we try to be very transparent, we do not hide the cost of shipping. 39, shipping in our item price .what we do, it's add shipping, and they can choose the speed and cost.We do not increase the costs of shipping. shipping, and we find that customers appreciate this transparency. "

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The "Influencing the Influencer" program has become the most effective and cost-effective method of marketing Battic Door. It's a mix of trade shows and direct mail.

"We took a booth at an architect exhibition to introduce our product.We did it for two years, and we went from a handful of projects to Over 100 projects to date.Once an architect specifies us for a project, they often specify us for their next projects.Therefore, it's really paying off. "

Rather than offering wholesale prices, Tyrol offers free shipping for large orders. And that concludes the case.

"As a direct result of our marketing program of influence, my sales have increased by about 50% in each of the last two years." I picked up dozens of new accounts that continually buy products.Many customers tell me that they were referred to us by their architect or code manager, which confirms the success of our marketing program of influence. "


Tyrol used the builder of the Dotster website to create his original website, which he still uses.

"After about five years, I hired a consultant to update the site and add new graphics.Through the years, I taught myself enough that I no longer used a builder of site and that I am modifying the code directly. "

The site receives more than 2 million visits a year. Tyrol updates all its content. The website generates about one-third of Battic Door's annual sales.

Instead of an on-site shopping cart, Tyrol chose the "Buy" buttons of Mal's eCommerce.

<img class="wp-image-150189 size-large" src="" alt=" Battic Door uses "Buy" buttons that bind to the evil eCommerce instead of an on-site cart. "Width =" 570 "height =" 611 "/>

Battic Door uses" Buy "Buttons that point to Evil E-commerce instead of a trolley on site.

Each button connects to the secure server Mal – landing on a basket page with the Battic Door logo and the selected product added.

The "Buy" buttons of connect to a Cart page at Mal & # 39; s E-commerce, where buyers can make their purchase.

From there, buyers can change their order, continue shopping, or switch to the payments section.

With Mal's secure server, Tyrol can sell unlimited products without separate scripts, application installations or SSL certificates. It's free for a basic account. The "Premium" accounts are $ 8 per month (or $ 86.40 per year), which allows the Tyrol to integrate shipping costs in real time (by UPS WorldShip, FedEx Ship Manager and USPS Stamps) and credit card transactions via its merchant account.

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"I've been with [Mal’s] for 15 years, offering great support and functionality, dealing with international sales from Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. There are other carts suppliers, but we are very happy with Mal & # 39; s and the support and integration that they provide. "

Tyrol launched a mobile site – "The .mobi site was a quick fix" – to respond to changes in Google's algorithm. But this site is now replaced by a new responsive version via Dotster, which adjusts the size of the screen according to the user's device.

Beyond Dotster and E-Commerce Mal, Tyrol and his team use QuickBooks for accounting, GoToMyPC for accessing the remote desktop, and Construction Market Data for prospects.

Key Decisions: Good and Bad

Tyrol's first good decision was to "decide to start Battic Door's e-commerce in the first place". He purchased from Dotster on January 4, 2003, and over the next few weekends created the first Battic website.

"My wife had no idea what I was doing and she was bored, thinking I was wasting time surfing the internet." She was quick to see the value of Tyrol's e-business vision. "In one year, she has become a vital part of the business."

Another good decision cited by Tyrol is its partnerships with online provider portals. "We increased by 300% adding additional sales channels."

Regarding bad decisions, the Tyrol remembers an initial plan for "10 salons in a year to present our EZ Hatch.In addition to the high cost, it was exhausting to do as many shows! In addition, some shows were poorly followed or followed. "

He also learned from the failures of the product: "We had an insulated fan cover product for the whole house that was not working for [enough of our] customers. But we have redesigned the product and it is now one of our best sellers.

Indeed, in the past 15 years, the Tyrol Door Battic eCommerce business has been all about "lessons learned."

"I am a training engineer, so the development – the" how are we going to do this part "came easily to me. But marketing and shipping, the trademarks and the patents and everything else was a process.It has been learning non-stop since. "