A tissues branding

Click to visit The Kleenex Shop

Kimberly-Clark have recently set up an experimental e-commerce site in the UK for one of their leading brands. It’s the Kleenex shop.

“We’re seeing significant growth in the online channel through our retail partners,” Adrian Percival, senior manager of ecommerce at Kimberly-Clark UK, told Marketing Week, “and we’re determined to win in this channel, so we need to know what influences their behaviour, that’s the goal of this shop.”

Allegedly dependent upon it’s success, over a six month period, we may be in for  more from the same stable so watch out for:

  • Andrex
  • Huggies
  • Kotex

Here’s a link to a comprehensive listing of all their brands by country.

Marketing Week’s Viewpoint is somewhat skeptical

“Direct selling will never be a main revenue channel, the sale, in terms of revenue, is secondary to the experience and what it can tell the brand about a consumer. The benefits of having the capability to sell directly is the opportunity it offers a brand to build a relationship with a customer.

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No consumer in their right mind would opt to buy such mundane products as toothpaste, tissues, baked beans or deodorant directly from each brand’s specific commerce site in separate transactions rather than in one go as part of a larger shop if all they get from doing so is the product.

The reason for a consumer to buy FMCG brands direct is if the experience can offer something more valuable than a purchase. What shopping online with a retailer offers is convenience a brand must offer in valuable experience. Content, loyalty, rewards, expertise, information, advice – these are the valuable assets for direct selling.”

We found their middle paragraph interesting so decided to consult Amazon. They show 660 Kleenex products so we’re guessing that on occasion at least “a consumer” might well buy such, ahem, essential products from an online retailer so why shouldn’t the brand itself join the party!.

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On the pricing front we were marginally surprised that at least on one product the two retailers were identical! Delivery of course is another matter but the Kleenex shop seems to have a flat delivery charge of £1.95 for up to 20 items so it’s not, in our view, unreasonable.

There are many, and increasing, reasons both positive and defensive, why a consumer FMCG brand must have an active online presence and we see no reasons why that shouldn’t include an e-commerce element. We’re not wholly convinced that a stand alone direct selling site is the answer, and we agree that it will “ ….never be a main revenue channel” or perhaps the main revenue channel!

It’s an interesting venture and we look forward to welcoming many more e-commerce FMCG shop’s.

Disclosure: We have affiliate marketing arrangements with Amazon.

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