Procter & Gamble to Test Online Store to Study Buying Habits

Procter & Gamble Co. plans to launch an online store that will sell key brands, aiming to study consumer buying habits as it counters moves by traditional retailers, which have reduced the variety of brands they carry.

P&G spokeswoman Tressie Long said the company sees the new online store as more of a “learning lab,” where it can study consumers’ online buying habits, rather than as a direct source of sales growth. P&G, which already sells its products online through the Web sites of such retailers as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), says it will share what it learns with retailers that carry its brands.

P&G’s new “eStore” will start as a pilot using 5,000 consumers in coming days. The site will carry only P&G products but will be owned and operated by PFSweb, an e-commerce service provider. Pricing on the site will be at the discretion of PFSweb, P&G says.

Not every P&G product will be available via the site initially, although big brands including Tide, Pampers and Olay will be sold there.

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