Sometimes signs are obvious, such as customers telling us that more and more men are buying their soap. Sometimes they’re more subtle, 1-oz organic bars taking off in sales due to the influx of VRBOs and Airbnb’s into the rental market. And sometimes signs are waiting for a change in perspective, a chance to connect the dots and be seen.
How Things Were
This is one of those last examples, signs as dots to be connected. The face of the organic soap buyer is changing. Once, as recently as a couple of years ago, the customer had a familiar profile, educated about organics and the ingredients. That profile isn’t as clear anymore.
Many of the customers entering the market have a different profile. Their knowledge of organic soap isn’t based on research and prior knowledge, but experience, using the soap and liking the results. What that means is a new type of customer who’s looking for high-quality soap but isn’t familiar with the standard ingredients.
It’s the coconut oil common to so much organic soap that makes the difference for many. More and more, we’re hearing requests for a soap without it. That was never the case with traditional buyers. They knew walking in that coconut oil was part of the mix.
How the Organic Market Is Changing
Non-traditional buyers don’t have the same information or buying habits. They’ve been introduced to high-quality soap. They can’t go back to mass-manufactured, detergent-based bars. Many, though, are sensitive to coconut oil and avoid products that contain it.
In this way, non-traditional customers are changing the market. They are asking new questions and looking for non-traditional variations on the standard ingredients lists. As a result, the organic soap market is becoming more like the population at large and less like the model we’ve been accustomed to.
The changing face of organic soap buyers alters how we all look at marketing, at product choices and customer education. And with the organic market continuing to grow, it means we’ll have to keep an eye on who’s buying and what their expectations are as they make their product choices.