On a per-square-foot basis, selling a decorative backsplash can be one of the most profitable sales in the flooring industry. Unfortunately, flooring retailers often find it difficult to actually sell a backsplash job.

In my 20-plus-year career in the floor covering distribution business, I worked with many ceramic tile manufacturers and hundreds of retailers trying to find an easy method to show and sell decorative ceramic tile backsplashes. 

There are four major challenges facing flooring dealers:

  1. Retail salespeople are often not trained in or comfortable designing a backsplash from scratch.
  2. In general, retail salespeople are inexperienced at measuring and ordering the required; tile, decorative pieces and trims for a backsplash job. They can get intimidated by the thought of figuring out how many of each of these expensive parts and pieces they really need.
  3. The average flooring retailer does not have the space to properly display a selection of full-size grouted backsplash panels.
  4. Most consumers have a difficult time visualizing a tile backsplash installed in their homes. There isn’t a good method for them to view backsplash panels in their own home, next to their cabinets and countertop.

Traditionally, the tile industry creates beautiful grouted backsplash panels. These panels are designed, built and grouted by professionals, so retailers and consumers can see exactly what the finished backsplash will look like. These panels are typically 18 inches tall and come in a variety of widths, even though a standard backsplash is only 17.25 inches tall. These panels work well in showing and selling backsplash jobs. 

The downside is that these panels are expensive to make and bulky to ship. Their size and weight make them difficult to display and work with in a showroom. Also, they are certainly not conducive for a consumer to take home.

With today’s technology, there is an easier method for anyone, even the most inexperienced salesperson, to successfully sell decorative ceramic tile backsplash jobs and allow even the smallest showrooms to display hundreds of full-size grouted backsplash panel samples. All you need are the right tools.

High-definition imaging technology

I am referring to high-definition imaging technology. With this advanced technology, full-size grouted backsplash panels can be reproduced, capturing all of the color, texture and definition of the original panel. I’m not talking about your average digital camera; digital cameras cannot capture a backsplash panel with all of the color, texture and definition at a one-to-one scale that high-definition technology can. A digital photograph will shrink anything you take a picture of. In order to reproduce a digitally photographed image at full size, the digital photo will need to be enlarged to the object’s actual size. When you enlarge a digital photo, you immediately begin to loose clarity and definition of the image.

High-definition imaging technology captures an image at a one-to-one scale, meaning an 18- x 12-inch backsplash panel is captured at full size. When the panel is reproduced, it is still 18 x12 inches without enlarging it. High-definition samples can easily be trimmed to a standard backsplash height of 17.25 inches to better show the actual backsplash size. High-definition samples are reproduced with all of the color and definition of the original panel intact, so much so that you expect to feel the texture of the tile and its grout joints.

High-definition backsplash reproductions are lightweight and easy to use, and even the smallest showrooms can display hundreds of these samples. They can be produced as individual sample panels, bound in a flip-book format, strap set configuration or even on a static cling material so they can easily be hung on a wall for viewing. All of these high-definition backsplash sample configurations make very convenient and effective sales tools in both the showroom and as a take-home sample. This allows the homeowner to select a backsplash that works best with their cabinets and countertops in her own home.

As an added benefit to tile suppliers, once a perfect panel is built and the image is captured with high-definition technology, an exact reproduction is produced each and every time. As a result, there are no issues with samples in the field that don’t show the true range of color and texture.

So how can these high-definition samples make it easier to order all of the decorative parts and pieces?  Some of these high-definition grouted backsplash samples detail how many pieces or square feet of each SKU are required per lineal foot of backsplash being tiled. So if you can measure the length of the backsplash and multiply by the number of pieces indicated on the back of the sample, you can be successful selling decorative backsplash jobs. You might have to round up to full cartons, but it is my opinion that tile suppliers will add that information to the back of the sample as well. Call your current tile suppliers and ask them for backsplash panel samples created with high-definition imaging technology.