Retailers can now closely monitor their customers’ shopping habits—how they spend their money and where—they can better position preferred SKU’s on the home screen influencing purchasing and they can set up subscription and other easy replenishment services to make repeat buying effortless. Meanwhile, consumers can more easily let retailers know what they want and, more importantly, what they don’t like. It does not take much for an unsatisfied customer to get their message out there—remember how quickly Amazon ended its first foray into diapers after a few parents posted concerns over their quality—and retailers are acutely aware of this.
The changing relationship between retailers and consumers has certainly shifted the power struggle between them. At last month’s Private Label Annual Meeting, one speaker stated that the pendulum has firmly shifted toward the consumers and in the next five to 10 years only the retailers and brands that put consumers’ needs first will survive.
And many say these needs are changing. Today’s consumers don’t trust big brands and major corporations but they crave the convenience these big players can offer. Therefore, to be successful, companies need to know what customers want whether it’s craft-style products that are local, natural ingredients or or other premium benefits like “clean” or “gluten free.”
As large retailers try to serving local consumers on a global scale, one major trend will be the demand for natural-based products. P&G is clearly aware of this. The company recently introduced a new baby care line, Pampers Pure, which includes diapers that are free of fragrance, lotion and chlorine, and wipes also featuring carefully selected ingredients.
There is no doubt that the entire diaper industry, if not the whole consumer goods market, is watching this launch closely. While natural diapers with few chemicals have impacted the North American diaper market, giants like P&G and Kimberly-Clark have not, until now, made a major play for this segment, targeting the 57% of parents who say they prefer natural products for their babies. It will be interesting to see how P&G’s efforts will fare against more traditional natural brands like Honest and Seventh Generation.