Since launching body wash in 2018, Harry’s has found the category to be a key sales driver through its retail partners including Target.
When Harry’s debuted its body wash, the goal was to bring sophisticated scents to the men’s body wash category. It launched the category exclusively at Target and Harry’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce site. Since then, Harry’s has expanded the scent portfolio and has expanded body wash to Walmart, Walgreens and CVS. On March 14, Harry’s debuted two new body wash scents, “Wildlands,” available at all retailers, and “Grove,” as a Walmart exclusive. Across all its retail partners, Harry’s body wash increased its market share in the body cleanser category. It’s contributed to an almost 50% increase in total sales across DTC e-commerce and stores in 2021. In retail, Harry’s grew its body wash sales by over 21% between 2020 and 2021, according to Jaime Crespo, gm at Harry’s.
Target remains a key partner. According to the brand, Harry’s is the No. 3 top-selling body wash brand at the retailer. The brand declined to share what it’s two competitors are but did state they are CPG legacy brands. Target is the seventh-largest retailer in the world, pulling in more than $92.4 billion in sales in 2020. The store operates across the U.S., with 1,897 stores in all 50 states, and nearly eight out of 10 U.S. shoppers are Target customers, according to data from the analytics firm Numerator reported by Insider.
Harry’s broke down its strategy for success at Target, which centers on two pillars: sampling and endcaps.
Sampling and trialing online and in-store
Getting Harry’s body wash into the hands of customers via sampling is a key pillar in its strategy. Harry’s offers travel-size body wash in Target’s travel toiletries section. Crespo said travel is not a meaningful size of body wash sales and exists mostly as a customer acquisition opportunity.
Sampling is also important on Harry’s DTC e-commerce, which funnels into supporting its Target performance. Within the checkout section, Harry’s offers body wash samples for $1 along with three other samples at reduced prices. Crespo said there are also mystery item promotions, where customers can pay approximately $5 for an item worth more than that amount. In a customer survey conducted by Harry’s, an average of 80% of customers who tried the body wash are likely to purchase the product. In the past, Harry’s has also done product sampling with publications, including GQ via its Best Stuff Box.
On DTC, Harry’s marketing messaging focuses on offers and trials, and Harry’s is able to offer more tailored messaging as it digitally tracks a customer’s online movements. Harry’s can tell when a customer becomes hesitant on a subscription-based purchase through cart abandonment, for example, and will tailor its messaging that’s less on the commitment of a subscription and more on the option to purchase on an as-needed basis. With digital ads targeting DTC customers, assets showing a product shot against a white background tend to perform best for the brand.
In addition to encouraging physical trial of the product, Harry’s attempts to create a digitally sensorial experience. For example, each body wash fragrance has a playlist on Spotify. Crespo said Harry’s also invests in podcast ads, paid search, TikTok and YouTube, among other digital media. These ads direct people to shop through Target, other retail partners or Harry’s e-commerce site. According to Mintel’s 2021 U.S. men’s personal care report, 50% of men ages 18-24 have purchased a product that was promoted on social media in the past year.
“It’s not about one channel, but the mix that drives different impacts,” said Crespo.
When shopping for personal care products, men are heavily influenced by scent, with 40% considering an appealing fragrance as an important factor in the product they purchase, according to Mintel data.
“Some men rely on personal care products to smell nice, driving their interest in products that feature appealing fragrances,” said Olivia Guinaugh, senior beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel.
A 360-degree endcap strategy
Whenever Harry’s has endcap displays at Target, body wash is prominently featured, along with razors and razor blades.
Because Harry’s body wash sells well, the brand is continually rewarded by retailers with additional endcap spaces, said Crespo. Harry’s declined to state whether it pays any endcap fees. Whenever Harry’s has an endcap at Target, the brand executes a digital plan around it including sending SMS text messages and emailing its database of millions of email subscribers. Harry’s email open rate for active customers was on average 26% in 2021, compared to the industry average for CPG brands of approximately 20%. Messaging is based on the theme and storytelling of the endcap, which in the past have included “New year, new you” messaging and the body wash scent story. Crespo said this helps create “top of mind” awareness for when people shop in-store.
“We don’t use endcaps just to put a bunch of products out and maximize shelf capacity. We use them to break through to the shopper when they’re walking in the store and communicate a message that is visually clear,” said Crespo. “It can be at the expense of having product on the endcap, but it drives better sales performance overall.”
Messaging for in-store retail has to be broader because of the broader shopping base and limited ability to personalize messaging, in comparison to a DTC site, said Crespo. He also said that, within retail, packaging plays a “huge role” in how the products stand out. The body wash’s tall round bottles come in pastel shades of blue, red, yellow and lime green, for example.
Crespo described Harry’s customers as people who have an independent mindset and enjoy grooming — they don’t see it as a chore. According to Mintel, 24% of men agree that they sometimes use their personal care routine as a way to relax.
“As the stigma around men and self-care continues to fade, category players will have the opportunity to better appeal to men who are becoming more invested in their overall wellbeing, revealing opportunities for market growth,” said Guinaugh.