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In the UK, This Is Money reports that Unilever, impressed to the degree that its Dollar Shave Club has capitalized on a direct-to-consumer model that essentially disintermediates traditional retailers, plans to apply the same model to other products and categories.

The story says that Unilever plans to test a subscription model with its “gourmet tea company T2 and a growing stable of so-called prestige beauty brands.”

CEO Paul Polman says, “We’ve learnt a lot from Dollar Shave Club … We are now also seeing our online business taking off… and with our prestige businesses we see more opportunities to go direct to consumers.”

This Is Money notes that Polman’s comments “come as supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s are turning the screws on Unilever, striking mega-deals to merge or forge partnerships that massively increase their buying power with the consumer goods giant.”
KC's View:
E-commerce gives manufacturers the ability to do something that a lot of them have wanted to do for a long time - get rid of those pesky, demanding retailers. And Dollar Shave Club has shown Unilever exactly how disruptive it can be if it puts its mind to it.