I am glad that some issues of “Sofa Analytics” raise very sensitive issues, as can be seen from the comments and letters. Thank you for both, it is extremely important. A couple of weeks ago I touched upon the topic of the fact that goods that are produced for other countries are “better” than those that are sold in Russia. Many people believe in this myth even today, they are convinced that they definitely cannot sell anything good to us.
One of the frequent comments I received was proof that things are not so simple and, for example, washing powders are very different. Here are a few comments to kick off today’s story of how manufacturers go for tricks to make more money. For example, here is the following line: “Washing powders are EXACTLY different … I just worked in a large wholesale company, and when they brought in 6-kilogram packs of a certain type of washing powder, they were bought by the employees themselves and practically did not get into stores. The composition was radically different from the same powder (in other weights) made in Novomoskovsk. Novomoskovsk did not make 6-kilogram ones ”.
Another comment, and again about washing powder: “As for shampoos and powders, there was an examination, which showed that they are still different. Some chemicals are banned in Europe. ” I also received several letters in which there was a reference to the FAS and their demand to stop unfair practice when products for Russia, in particular, washing powders, are in a different capacity.
There are so many questions that you can bury yourself in that you are simply amazed. I’ll start with a simple statement that can open up this topic a little and remove a lot of questions – in describing the fact that the products are the same, I always proceeded from the discussion of the same product lines. That is, the factory in conditional Warsaw does not adjust its production to the country for which it produces the goods. As well as the production of products directly depends on the recipe, which differs in each country, and such production is local with rare exceptions. Pulling a certain absolute statement out of context, one should not extend it to all phenomena and goods on our planet, at least this is not true. I really hope that the ability to think is not a lost skill among our readers.
Let’s try to figure it out with washing powder, a great example to show another phenomenon that many people do not know about. The Federal Antimonopoly Service issued a warning to Procter & Gamble, which produces Ariel powders, that their composition, detergency or labeling on packages differ, since, according to the labeling on Russian packages, the dosage for washing is 1.5-2 times higher than for Europe. And there is clearly some kind of disorder.
If you include “common sense”, then it turns out that this is exactly the case, in Europe the powders are better, therefore they are enough for a longer period, they have a completely different composition. This is precisely the food for maintaining the myth that is so popular and discussed by us in that issue of “Sofa Analytics”.
Take a look at the photo of the Ariel Germany packaging, note that the 1.35 kg powder packaging is designed for 18 washes (75 grams per wash).
In Russia, a 4.5 kg package is designed for 30 washes! It turns out that we need 150 grams of powder per wash.
Ariel washing powder in Russia is produced in Novomoskovsk. It is difficult for me to recall the year when P&G began to produce this line of powders in Russia, and the Internet does not give a clear answer to the question. But this is not so important. The washing capabilities of powder from Germany and from Russia are about the same, you will not notice much difference in real life. The curious can conduct experiments by bringing such a powder (we did this a couple of times, there is no difference – it was left after living in a rented house, I didn’t want to throw it away, so we took it home). The most meticulous can even study the technical parameters, how it lathers, how the foam is formed, and this can also be done in the laboratory. You will not find striking differences.
I am confident that P&G will easily deflect accusations that their product quality is different for Europe and for Russia, but will not be able to explain why labeling with recommendations differs so much. I have a banal explanation, since this business technique is described in many textbooks and came to us from exactly the same industry.
By changing the recommendations for using the powder, you instantly increase your own sales. The rate at which the powder is consumed increases (not everyone changes their habits, but many follow the manufacturer’s recommendations), as a result, large volumes can be sold. The explanation lies on the surface, but many do not realize that this happens in a huge number of products that we encounter on a daily basis.
We use toothpaste every morning and every evening. A tube of pasta has become commonplace in every home, although a hundred years ago they mainly used tooth powder, in my childhood I still met it, but it was of an outgoing nature. Colgate-Palmolive faced market saturation in the middle of the 20th century, and the company was looking for ways to increase sales of toothpaste. The solution was ingenious – they enlarged the hole in the tube by 20%, people used to press on it, but there was more paste on the toothbrush.
Another trick that changed sales and made them higher was consumer education. No, this is not about what is important to brush your teeth and how to do it, the manufacturers cannot be blamed for this, they explained the need for oral hygiene. But there is one more curious point – this is the amount of paste that is needed on the brush.
How much paste do you think you need on a toothbrush? How much paste do you put on it? The answer may surprise you, it is not obvious and widespread, moreover, it contradicts the habits of many people – this is a small pea that you place in the center of your toothbrush. And this is how most people in the world apply toothpaste to the brush.
It has become a cultural habit that manufacturers have formed. Doctors see nothing wrong with this (much is not enough!), And manufacturers sell about 2-3 times more toothpaste than they could with old habits.
Let’s take a look at another familiar unit, a coffee machine. I have completely different machines, from a small Nespresso to a giant Jura, where you can prepare a completely different aroma and richness of coffee. Each automatic machine sooner or later informs you that it needs to be cleaned, somewhere it is cleaning the system, somewhere in addition, decalcification plus cleaning other systems is required. Do coffee machines have sophisticated systems that assess wear, the hardness of the water you are using, and other parameters? I have never met such systems in mass models, it is always a kind of averaged value set by the manufacturer. And here is exactly the same story as with the powder, in Europe the machine can serve three hundred capsules, in Russia it will ask for cleaning after two hundred. Not all manufacturers, not all models, but this behavior is also encountered. Why is this important for the manufacturer? The question is that they sell branded car cleaning products for car care. By and large, this is a penny product, but you can almost double its turnover, and this will be a serious increase in sales.
The conscience of the manufacturer is also clear here, since the cleaning requirement is not imperative, it is often a blinking (and annoying!) Indicator, but the machine will prepare coffee. Even realizing that there are still a hundred capsules until the real moment of cleaning, since I have purified water with a minimum amount of impurities, you still clean the car to remove this icon. By adjusting only one parameter, namely the cleaning recommendation that is sewn into the coffee machine, the manufacturer can easily achieve growth in its sales.
There are more than a hundred such examples, when a manufacturer or supplier of certain services plays along with themselves in order to increase their income. Let’s look at a very different example that characterizes the Internet. Video today, like nothing else, loads communication channels, the higher the resolution, the more traffic. And this is where the fun begins, since you can always set different resolutions in the settings and it is important how the content provider sets it by default. A provider that counts traffic and has some kind of service with video content always strives to turn the quality to the maximum (remember a tube of paste!), This will allow him to eat traffic from your tariff plan as quickly as possible. An operator that offers unlimited Internet and is not interested in loading their channels to the maximum, on the contrary, will set the default permission to medium settings. Handsomely? The usual life in IT, when all scenarios are twisted in the image and likeness of other businesses in order to increase the company’s revenues.
There are a huge number of industries where the product is not consumed by the buyer, but bought for future use. For example, no one buys medicines at a pharmacy in order to immediately take them in full. Each of us has a home first-aid kit, in which there is a standard set of medicines – for the head, stomach, antipyretic, throat and so on. How to get people to consume more in this case? After all, medicines are dead weight, and until they run out, you will not buy new ones. The answer was also found here, medicines have an expiration date, which is set not by the state, but by their manufacturer. We can say that in pharmaceuticals competition, on the one hand, is high, on the other hand, everyone is interested in the mechanism for increasing sales to work.
Pay attention to the left valve, the expiration date for activated carbon is indicated there! When properly manufactured and stored, activated carbon can be said to be eternal. But most manufacturers indicate an expiration date of three years.
Cool? Not that word. Iodine can be stored for more than ten years, nothing can happen to it when closed. The shelf life is set on average at five years. Why? The answer is typical – it is beneficial to increase sales. It is possible that you know enough about this issue and do not throw away the activated carbon. My children think differently, they, sorting out the medicines in the home medicine cabinet, focused solely on the stated expiration date and were surprised that you should not throw away activated charcoal, paracetamol and a number of other medicines.
In the 70s, the Earth was depicted as a very popular version of the future in science fiction literature, where power from states passed to corporations. And there were a dozen or more reasons for such assumptions – this is international influence, financial resources, but also the ability to influence the culture and way of life of different states. The above examples can be seen as isolated cases, but they are not. Corporations have created new habits for customers as they allow more products to be sold. Nobody cares how much toothpaste is needed on the brush. After all, this affects sales, and if you talk about it at every corner, then irreparable will happen, the cash flow will decrease, and this cannot be allowed. Corporations are already shaping consumer habits and telling what is “right”. As a conclusion to this material, I would like to recall a successful guerrilla marketing campaign, which is directly related to washing powder. This is a story about how often jeans should be washed. After you have worn for three days? A week? Month? Various publications provide data that on average it is 5-7 days, and this will be normal. Just to think about the effectiveness of this guerrilla marketing, I will note that before the wave of publications about the need for such washes (this is not the newest history of our market, today we already see publications in the wake of publications) the time before washing was arbitrary, many people determined it by eye. And it averaged about a couple of weeks, now the timing has changed, as have people’s habits. This is another grimace of the consumer society, when they create a request for “right” behavior and inculcate it through beautiful stories about cleanliness.
Tell us in the comments what stories you have encountered in products, perhaps services, where manufacturers are trying to increase their sales by changing consumer behavior, by educating their customers.
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