P&G Opens eStore to the Public
Back in January, a Procter & Gamble spokesperson told The
Wall Street Journal that the consumer packaged goods giant was looking
at its new eStore (www.pgestore.com) pilot project as a "learning lab."
eStore, which is owned and operated by the e-commerce provider PFSweb, launched
with a test of 5,000 consumers and offers P&G brands at market competitive
rates with a flat $5 shipping fee on all orders.
P&G has consistently maintained
it is not looking to get into the retailing business but is looking to better
understand the consumers who buy its brands. Only about $500 million of the
company’s roughly $79 billion in annual revenues comes from online channels
and most of those come from e-tailers operating independently of P&G.
Perry, vice-president of P&G’s North America operations, told the Financial
Times the eStore "will help deliver new tools, services and features
that can ultimately be shared with retailers."
Bob McDonald, CEO of P&G,
told the Financial Times in an interview
last year, "We want to maximize our sales through retailers but we also
want to be where the consumer wants to shop."
More consumer packaged
goods companies seem to be adopting the same view as Mr. McDonald. According
to Mark McGuire,the president of Alice.com, about 50 brand manufacturers are
currently having online storefronts being developed by his company. That is
in addition to the 30 that are currently selling products directly to consumers
"We are seeing a huge wave of these in the last few months, of consumer
companies saying they want to go direct to consumers, and a lot of that is
about what P&G is doing," Mr. McGuire told the Financial Times.
Discussion Question: What, if anything, does P&G’s eStores and other
manufacturer online ventures such as Alice.com mean for the future of consumer
packaged goods sales to consumers?
- New P&G Online Store Takes Off In US – Dow Jones Newswires/NASDAQ
Opens Online Product Store – The Associated Press/ABC News
- P&G goes online to compete for sales – The Financial Times
- Procter & Gamble to Test Online Store to Study Buying Habits – The
Wall Street Journal (sub. required)