What works and what doesn’t in eCommerce:
The Procter & Gamble Company announced a new online shopping site is now available for U.S. consumers. Named the eStore, the online shopping site is owned and operated by PFSWeb and will feature the breadth of P&G brands including e.g. Tide®, Pampers®, Olay®, CoverGirl®, Swiffer® and Febreze®.
P&G says sales are not the only mission of the site. The world’s largest manufacturer of consumer packaged goods, which reported sales of $76.7 billion in 2009, hopes to gain insight into consumer behavior and how they shop [Here' s a video of Kirk Perry, P&G Vice President, North America, who tells more about it]: “The eStore’s main function is to act as a “living learning lab” for developing e-commerce innovation to win with shoppers.” Prior to the national launch, the eStore was tested on some 5,000 shoppers to help guide the design and development of the ‘ideal’ on-line shopping site.
Online retailing has been a high priority for P&G Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald since he took the company’s top job last year. P&G often launched new products through direct online sales, e.g. the multibrand TheEssentials.com online retail site. For this latest and biggest venture, P&G is adding some social elements such as product ratings, shopper feedback forums or links to its Facebook brand fan pages (e.g. The Tide Fanpage here).
So the question is: If this experiment works, should retailers worry? Since the eStore could ultimately mark a major shift in the way P&G markets its brands – and the manner in which consumers purchase them and retailers distribute them.