When running a business, you often here the phrase “The customer is always right!” or “The customer comes first” to emphasize that appeasing customers are the key to a successful business. The phrases are self explanatory, and one does not require an MBA to understand this. However, Tide recently made a change to its detergent product where it’s priority was to appease the retailer, in this case Amazon, forcing consumers to take a back seat to retailer needs.
Last month Tide unveiled their new cardboard box packaging that weighs 4lbs less than its plastic counterpart and requires less packaging material to ship with, meaning cheaper shipping costs and a higher profit margin. Sure, it looks weird and is often compared to box wine but if you want to order detergent from the comfort of your home your going to have to get used to it. This is a prime example of how retailers can be more influential than consumers should they become large enough.
I know this does not sound like great news us, but it can lead to an overall positive effect. In this situation, less packaging also means less waste leaving a positive impact on the environment and since Tide is not the only company to face such a dilemma, it should be expected to see other companies follow suit. The flip side of course is that changes could easily have negative impacts as well, leaving us in an awkward position if we wish to continue purchasing the product.
Regardless of the change being positive or negative it is not a good feeling for us to be taking a back seat to major retailers. What is worse is that there may be nothing more we can do but accept whatever changes are thrown at us. All I can say now is stay tuned to see how all of this unravels.