Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
The manufacturer has a larger strategy to support consumers’ organizational goals.
Only a fraction of Newell Rubbermaid’s sales come through Rubbermaid.com, but the manufacturer of storage bins and organizational products says it understands why people come to the site: They want to get organized. To that end, Rubbermaid.com has started to work with a network of professional home organizers and launched an online service that helps consumers tackle their messes.
Rubbermaid Personalized Organizing is a service designed to operate like an online diet program. Rubbermaid shoppers can get direct counseling online from professionals and choose from a weekly menu of projects, tutorials and articles that can help them get organized. Consumers earn points for the projects they complete and also can post photos of the areas they want to organize to get feedback from the pros and other site members. Membership costs $11.95 a month when paid in advance. Members receive a 10% discount on products sold at Rubbermaid.com.
The service, which launched Dec. 29, reflects Rubbermaid’s larger social media communication strategy, which focuses on helping people get organized, rather than on Rubbermaid’s specific products, says Jim Deitzel, the company’s e-marketing manager.
“It’s great because we have our web site,” he says. “There we have products that can help you get organized, and videos and blogs that can help you do that. Then consumers can go to our social spaces in Facebook and Twitter to get tips on organization. This service is one more piece of the puzzle.”
Deitzel says Rubbermaid’s Twitter feed drew posts from professional organizers from day one. Rubbermaid met the new service’s head organizer, Lorie Marrero, through her posts to the company’s Twitter feed. Marrero, author of “The Clutter Diet,” already ran a smaller online program. She and Rubbermaid now co-brand it to reach more organizationally challenged consumers.
Deitzel did not say exactly how much of Rubbermaid’s sales come from the e-commerce site.