David Simnick Soapbox

Why Amazon Lost Its Hand Sanitizer

If you suddenly had hand sanitizer for sale, where would you sell it?

David Simnick, founder of Soapbox had to face that exact question recently. You’d think the answer would be obvious – Amazon, right?

The title of the article kinda gives away the answer. Soapbox did not sell its hand sanitizer via Amazon. And the reason why they chose another retail partner is fascinating.

Let me backup for a sec.

Clearly, in the world of coronavirus, hand sanitizer has become super-important. We all want it. We all need it. Nobody can find it. Not consumers, and not even the hospitals on the front lines of fighting COVID-19.

Soapbox Takes Action

The folks behind Soapbox saw a need and stepped in to address it.

As David shared with me, the company was able to work at record speed to create a brand-new product. Soapbox had never even offered hand sanitizer before the outbreak of COVID-19! In the span of just a couple weeks, they went from idea to production to product delivery.

And why were they able to move so quickly? Two reasons:

First, as a small company, Soapbox is nimble. They were able to shift fast and get stuff done without a lot of bureaucracy. Since they are already a company with a strong social mission knit into its fabric, their team was predisposed to care about delivering a solution in a time of need.

Second, they have built great relationships with vendors. Those relationships enabled Soapbox to take action and succeed where bigger companies tried and failed.

The story is fantastic. David shared it with me at the virtual book launch for Keep Your Customers. You can check out the video below:

Back To Amazon

Soapbox determined that half the hand sanitizer they produced would be allocated to hospitals. But who would they choose to receive the portion allocated for retail sales?

The easy answer would have been Amazon. After all, that’s the go-to channel for consumers looking for disinfecting products these days.

But they chose Wegmans Food Markets, with locations throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England. Why?

As David shared, “Amazon’s a great customer. But we never talk to a human. We talk to an algorithm. So for us, we can solidify a serious, long-term relationship with…one of the biggest retailers in the world OR we can satiate an algorithm. And you gotta know who’s going to be loyal and who’s going to look at you as a number. Literally as a number.”

Relationships helped Soapbox create, produce and deliver a brand new product in a matter of weeks. And relationships were the main driver behind the company’s choice of retail partner.

Relationships drive better business.

It’s a great story.

But wait, there’s more! Since the book launch, Soapbox has made their hand sanitizer available for direct-to-consumer purchase.

Purchasing hand sanitizer from Soapbox is a win on two fronts: You’ll replenish your supplies (if you still have any), and that’s good. But even better, you’ll support a company that will donate a bar of soap for every product you purchase. The more you buy, the more good you do in the world. (Just to be clear, I make no money from this recommendation – I’m sharing because I care about your health and Soapbox’s mission.)

Grab your hand sanitizer from Soapbox before they sell out: https://www.soapboxsoaps.com/collections/hand-sanitizer/products/6-pack-travel-size-liquid-hand-sanitizer-4oz-each