Talk about a soft landing. Kleenex, the Kimberly Clark-owned facial tissue brand, is quietly entering the skin-care category.
The brand has developed five stockkeeping units focused on facial cleansing, including cleansing wipes, water-activated exfoliating cushions and eye-makeup-remover pads. After a test launch with a consumer focus group in August, the products officially became available for sale last month exclusively on kleenex.com/facialcleansing.
As of now, no plans for brick-and-mortar entry have been announced, but Kleenex intends to roll out its facial-cleansing products to online retailers by Q2 of 2016 — though none have been determined yet. Until then, the focus is on a direct-sell approach. “We’re testing in a real environment in the digital space,” said Kleenex senior brand manager Eniko Olah. “We’re going to take what we learn and scale up.”
E-commerce, Olah said, is where Kleenex plans to capture a new kind of consumer for its skin-care line — a different profile from the brand’s current shopper. “There’s some overlap, but [the average Kleenex consumer] wasn’t the basis of our targeting and segmentation,” said Olah, noting that when it comes to this launch, the brand is concerned more with psychographics than demographics. “She likes to experiment [and] healthy skin is really important to her,” said Olah. “It’s really about how she’s approaching this category.”
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Marketing efforts are also being directed digitally, with major investments going into paid social media and search promotion, and a paid content strategy with bloggers set to launch in Q1 of 2016. “The person we’re targeting is really heavily involved in terms of browsing or buying online,” said Olah.
Prices range from $5 for oil-blotting papers and cotton pads to $8 for the three cleansing products — exfoliating cushions, makeup-remover pads and cleansing wipes.
Kleenex’s foray into skin-care will be an experiment in expansion for Kimberly-Clark. “We’re focused on getting entry into the [skin-care] category right now,” Olah said. “We do [product] research all the time, and understanding domain expansion is really critical so we can apply [that] learning to the rest of the company.”
Kleenex projects a retail sales volume of $50 million during the first three-year-period its skin-care products are on the market.