Evian is launching a home delivery service through an innovative fridge magnet. The water droplet shaped magnet is called “Smart Drop” and connects through your WiFi network for ordering the type of water you want, and your choice of delivery day and time. It is currently being tested in parts of France right now, specifically Paris. There has been no plans to launch the Smart Drop outside certain parts of Paris and close by suburbs, but we would have to wonder how successful this magnet can be if it comes to Canada. This may be a good idea based on European’s consumer and shopper behavior, would this item find success in Canada? The Smart Drop essentially cuts out the retailer to make buying water easier at home, so how does this affect Canadian retailers?
Retailers may react unfavorably toward the Smart Drop’s launch in Canada. evian would now be competing directly against the customers where they list their products. As a function of retailer consolidation in Canada, Canadian retailers typically hold more power than their European counterparts. Losing one retailer in Canada (ie. Loblaws/Superstores or Wal-Mart) could prove to be very significant. In addition to losing the evian bottled water sales, retailers are also afforded less opportunities to build a grocery trip sale with the “evian consumer”. This potentially takes out sales from fruit, bread, and a broad assortment of other grocery products.
On the other hand, it may not have as dramatic an affect as described above. evian could alleviate the problem by incorporating location services into the Smart Drop magnet, suggesting closely located retailers that may have evian on hand. This way, evian would be partnering with the retailer to reach the consumer rather than competing for the same consumer. Better yet, evian would branch out to become the delivery service for the retailer, helping deliver not only evian water but a variety of items to the consumer at home.
At the end of the day, this may simply be a novelty item for consumers to play with once or twice. It may not be sustainable since consumers still end up going to the grocery store for other products and bottled water exists as a grocery list item. The only consumers that may end up using this Smart Drop magnet long term would be die-hard evian consumers, but even then they would still need to go to buy other grocery products.
Retailers should have less to worry about than the worst-case scenario described above.