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P&G 'uberises' laundry

News, 22 July 2016

CINCINNATI, OH: Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, is trialling a number of initiatives that bypass traditional retail routes as it seeks to connect directly with consumers.

One such, which the company has dubbed the "uberization of laundry", involves Tide Spin: customers in parts of Chicago can use a smartphone app to order laundry pickup and delivery from Tide-branded couriers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Another is the Tide Wash Club, recently launched in Atlanta; this is an online subscription service for Tide Pods capsules which are shipped free at regular intervals.

"[We use] every opportunity we can to learn about consumer habits and practices and our experiences on Tide are consistent with this," said a company spokesman.

The Tide Wash Club pitches the company directly against similar services offered by Amazon via its Subscribe & Save service and Dash buttons, while Tide Spin targets younger consumers who may be living in apartments without washers or driers.

P&G is by no means alone in exploring new ways of reaching and engaging consumers who are increasingly comfortable with the options that digital disruption throws up, as Unilever has just demonstrated with its $1bn acquisition of Dollar Shave Club.

Last year, P&G launched its Gillette Shave Club in response to the success of new online subscription services such as Harry's and Dollar Shave Club.

"It was probably on the radar but we weren't necessarily having the right conversation around what might disrupt us," said a person familiar with the company's thinking.

Think tank L2 noted that Dollar Shave Club had generated three times more monthly searches than Gillette in the second half of 2014, and that as Gillette's site traffic declined by 65%, that of Dollar Shave Club rose by nearly as much.

"By upending the traditional CPG retail process and pursuing strategic investments in digital, Dollar Shave Club was able to edge ahead of its competitors," it said.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, L2; additional content by Warc staff