Now Persil washes the dirty laundry of Germans online!
Between work, commuting, extracurricular activities or domestic chores, it’s hard to find time for oneself, all the more so when one has a family to look after. By way of illustration, 65% of French families monitored by Echangeur’s Access Panel say they lack time! In fact, digital is an opportunity to find some time, hence the explosion of Click & Collect, Drive and Pickup services in recent years.
Henkel perfectly realized this need by launching “Persil Service Online”, the first home laundry service in Germany, at the end of December 2015! For consumers nothing could be simpler.
- They sign up on the geschickt-gereinigt.de site and receive dispatch labels.
- When their dirty laundry basket is full, they just tip its contents into a cardboard box, stick a label on it and hand it over to DHL. Depending on the constraints of the moment, they choose one of the different methods at their disposal: handover at home, in a DHL agency or in their letterbox or a Click & Collect locker. DHL has a network of more than 2750 Packstations throughout Germany.
- The boxes are returned to customers 3 days after dispatch. All they have to do is open it and put away their clean and ironed linen.
Prices are competitive: €2.85€ per folder, €5.90 per dress or €5.50 per tablecloth. All the more so as collection and delivery is free for 7 or more items or orders from €25.00. Indeed the forecasts are ambitious. For Stichweh and its CEO Hans-Jürgen Heyduk, online laundry services will eventually represent a potential market of 20 to 30 million euros a year. For year 1, “Persil Service Online” sales are estimated to total between 1 and 2 million euros! Enough to quickly secure a return on investments.
This is not the first time that Henkel and Stichweh have joined forces. They have offered “Persil Service Office”, a corporate concierge service, since 2011. Now operating in more than 170 companies, it is used by over 12,000 employees. However, by directly attacking the retail market this partnership is adding a whole new dimension. Stichweh has not hesitated to spend 1 million euros to develop an ultra-modern industrial laundry facility that can process the dirty laundry of all German households. But it was essential to involve a logistics partner to handle the flow of dirty laundry. Hence the appearance of DHL in the partnership. A role probably legitimized by the test run with Audi and Amazon in 2015: DHL deposits a parcel purchased on Amazon in the boot of a customer’s Audi.
Just as for Audi, Henkel “monetizes” its audience with third-party companies, thereby expanding its offering. But it is above all the impact on Henkel’s positioning that is interesting. Indeed its role is changing and taking on another dimension. From a mere vendor of washing powder, the company now brands itself as a daily household partner. With “Persil Service Online”, Henkel meets the prime objective of detergent buyers at a lower cost and with less effort, namely having clean and ironed laundry.
“Persil Service Online” is thus the perfect illustration of a service-centric economy in which the companies that win are those that meet customer expectations with service-based solutions. As Henkel Laundry & Home Care’s New Business Director Thomas Schuffenhauer says: “we offer our customers a practical time-saving solution, as part of an ever more mobile life”. This is one of the nine customer relationship trends of tomorrow interpreted in the report entitled “Innovez Service Centric 2015”: being empowered on a daily basis. It is by partnering customers and addressing their everyday problems that companies will already create the differentiating factors of tomorrow!
Obviously there was some grumbling when the launch was announced. Green organizations like Deutsche Umwelthilfe, an environmental and consumer protection NGO, serve notice the potential impact on the air quality of town centres, already congested with cars and delivery vans. However, their indictment begins with these words: “Das ist bequem”… “It’s practical”. So if even its critics perceive the benefits of the service as consumers, it’s hard to see how it could fail. The service-centric economy is no longer an utopia but a reality that will impose itself more and more.