Mass Marketers Will Need to Find Sampling Methods for Bath and Body Sales

Research from Mintel reveals smelling good and a promise of moisturizing skin are the leading catalysts for selling soap and shower products. The only problem for retailers like Walgreens and Target is that it is difficult to put testers out on shelves. Too often they are stolen or they get so messy that they are a sales deterrent.

The study shows merchants should start looking at novel ways to sample skin and bath products as the category comes bubbling back to life. Thirty-eight percent of Mintel respondents who have purchased soap said their decision is based mainly on scent, while 35 percent said they prefer shower products with extra moisturizers.

Mass merchants have to find ways to sample these products. Some, such as Target, have affixed products to the shelf. While this is welcomed, it does require store personnel to periodically inspect and clean the testers. Many department store merchants have also tried special units that disperse a scent in the store near where the products are sold. A leader in this market is Prolitec which has machines that duplicate the scent to help shoppers get the full impact. Prolitec has helped introduce fragrances for bebe and Abercrombie & Fitch.  Scent strips and other tools can be used at mass, too, but as of now, most retailers don’t have methods to distribute the strips.

Another avenue to build sales in bath and body is pricing. Private label should expand as shoppers look to save.  “Although many top brands have answered demand for these qualities, there are substantial opportunities for private label brands to enter this arena during the slow economic recovery,” noted Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. “The U.S. soap consumer is looking for bargains now more than ever as household budgets remain tight, therefore private label brands need to have a lower price-point and deliver lather, fragrance and significant moisturizing ingredients.”

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Meanwhile, well over half of Mintel’s respondents (60 percent) claim that finding soap or body wash products on sale or the cheapest is important/very important to them and 18 percent of soap-buying consumers say they look for the least expensive brand of soap or body wash. While this segment is often targeted toward women, men are starting to make a substantial impact in the market. That helps explain many of the recent deals with notable sports stars and body care such as NBA star Carmelo Anthony for Ultra Sheen Men Line the Dove Men Care commercials featuring former Duke star Bobby Hurley, Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Georgetown head coach John Thompson III.

Men between the ages of 18-34 report the highest usage of body wash at 58 percent, compared with 50 percent of those ages 35-54 and 42 percent of those who are 55 plus.

“Men represent a key demographic for sales of body wash products and marketers of these products should attempt to gain the attention of men to boost their sales,” added Fay. Growth should also come from natural products and buyers expect a bevy of new launches in botanicals and naturals.

People, places and things

A few words with Walgreens’ Kim Feil, about Walk with Walgreens, an online community and digital platform that enables members to log the steps they take and get rewards, in the form of weekly coupons, redeemable at Walgreens stores nationwide. The program was kicked off in New York this week.

 

WWDBeautyNews: What is the reason behind Walk with Walgreens?
Feil: Walk with Walgreens inspires people to take the small steps that lead to a well-life, making walking even more rewarding. We’re creating a simple, national walking movement — walk, log, get rewards. It’s another way we’re educating and engaging our customers to help them stay well and live well.

WWDBeautyNews: What celebrities tied into the launch?
Feil: Actress Alison Sweeney, host of “The Biggest Loser,” author of “The Mommy Diet” and a well-known proponent of healthy living and lifestyles kicked it off by leading a spirited walk through Times Square in New York. Joan Lunden is also associated with the program. Lunden is serving as a weekly contributor to the Walk with Walgreens website and was on hand for the kickoff event. We plan to tie beauty in with the program, too.

What’s in Store

Retail Therapy: A shopping trip-a-day may help keep the doctor away, not to mention the Grim Reaper, a new study suggested. Researchers there found that elderly people who go shopping daily live longer than their less shopping-prone peers. And “retail therapy” seemed to benefit men more than women, according to the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

P&G Voluntarily Recalls Some Shades of Natural Instincts: P&G announced it is conducting a voluntary recall of 10 shades of its Natural Instincts in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The company took the steps due to the chance of creating unwanted color results.

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