Dropps Shifts to Omnichannel Model with Improved Unit Dose Products

The “OG” of unit dose laundry is rolling out to Wegmans and Walmart.com with updated bio-based dish and laundry formulas in shelf-disrupting, plastic-free paperboard packaging.

Dropps, the pioneer in unit dose laundry detergent, is taking a major step today: it will expand beyond dropps.com and Amazon to include  fast-growing grocery chain Wegmans as well as Walmart.com. The B Corp is also touting new biobased formulations, new fragrances and newly designed plastic-free paperboard packaging.

The new look is symbolic of the forward-thinking nature of this Philadelphia-based company.

Launched more than 30 years as a direct-to-consumer brand, Dropps has become a top performer on Amazon.com. In fact, the brand, has become the fastest and largest growth brand in the dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent pod categories and Amazon’s top-ranking sustainable brand in dishwasher detergent, according to sources cited by the company.

Industry veteran Alastair Dorward—who has been with Method and other brands—is chief executive officer at Dropps. He joined in 2023.

“We are at a wonderfully exciting moment in Dropps’ history. I feel like I’ve been standing on the shoulders of some giants,” Dorward said, noting the efforts that Founder Jonathan Propper and the entire team put into the creation of Dropps as the first liquid laundry pod and their skill at building a very successful online business.

“The brand has a broad appeal and it offers a very compelling opportunity for us to take the next step,” Dorward told Happi.

That next step is to compete in the grocery aisle—the place where most consumers still shop for laundry and dish detergent.

According to Dorward, while customers find a subscription very convenient, the majority still prefer to buy in brick and mortar, either in-store or by ordering online and picking up at the store.

He said that more than 80% of sales in the category still occur in these channels—and the time is right for Dropps to broaden its access.

“Let’s fish where the fish are,” Dorward said.

Formulation Updates

Dropps has made changes to prepare for the launch—from inside the pod in terms of formula and fragrance to the outer packaging.

The USDA Certified biobased formulations deliver efficacy that matches the conventional players, according to officials.

“We have figured out a formulation that is on par with what you would expect from a conventional brand at a price point that is accessible,” Dorward said.

Odor + Stain Biobased Power Pods
in Crisp Breeze is a best seller for Dropps.

Dropps’ vision, he noted, is rooted in what something the brand calls “clean clean,” described as high-performance formulations made with scientifically-proven ingredients that minimize waste. Products are formulated without phosphates, chlorine, phthalates, dyes, preservatives, sulfates or parabens.

The new formulations in laundry and dish care have proprietary pod technology that offer the highest concentration on the market, according to officials.  

“We’ve stripped out what’s unnecessary,” he said.

 What’s more, they are Leaping Bunny certified and septic safe.

“We are excited to be launching with USDA certified, Leaping Bunny certified, which I think has become table stakes.”

According to Dorward, approximately 30% of US communities depend on septic systems. But septic systems can be very sensitive, and if something goes wrong, “it can be truly disruptive for a household,” he said.

Dropps has added new fragrances, as well as odor elimination technology in laundry. The new scents are Crisp Breeze and Lavender Meadow in Odor + Stain Laundry Detergent and Lemon Citrus UltraWash Dishwasher Pods.

Shelf Appeal

Dropps has made major upgrades to the packaging, moving away from what Dorward called the brand’s “functional DTC packs” to new plastic-free paperboard packaging that’s designed to standout on the store shelf with a new drop-like shape. This will be important as Dropps will be stocked alongside other brands.

This strategy is something that Dorward knows well from his time as founding CEO of Method.

Dropps is using a box, a departure from the containers that are much more prevalent in unit dose.

“It is a sea of plastic—either plastic bottles or plastic tubs. We know there is a large consumer movement to move away from plastic,” said Dorward.

Cardboard is more likely to be recycled. According to some estimates, only 9% of plastic gets recycled in the US, compared to 68% of cardboard.

“We do a much better job in this country in that form,” Dorward said.

Dorward noted that boxes are used in the UK.

“We think the US market is ready for that shift…we love to be that leader‚ not just in the pod itself, but in the secondary packaging,” he said.

Dropps Team Expansion

Dropps has come a long way since it was launched by Propper in 2006 and now is ready for the next level.

“I inherited a wonderful team—some very capable and experienced team members, but we’re doing something different. Going from direct consumer to omnichannel requires some different muscles,” Dorward said.

The team at Dropps includes Sangita Forth, who is chief marketing officer, and Kelly Gervin who is VP of supply chain. Recent key hires include Patrick Harewood as senior director of R&D, Kristine Naylor as senior director of customer marketing and Sally Clarke, who is onboard as creative director.

“We’re excited to transition from a leader in direct to consumer to a category leader in omnichannel,” Dorward said.

Product Availability

The core assortment of laundry and dish products now available at Wegmans and Walmart.com include:

  • Odor + Stain Biobased Power Laundry Detergent Pods in Crisp Breeze
  • Odor + Stain Biobased Power Laundry Detergent Pods in Lavender Meadow
  • Free + Clear Biobased Power Laundry Detergent Pods in Unscented
  • Oxi Booster Biobased Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover Pods in Unscented
  • Ultrawash Biobased Power Dishwasher Detergent Pods in Lemon Citrus
  • Ultrawash Biobased Power Dishwasher Detergent Pods in Unscented

For retailer locations consumers can check the Dropps store locator.

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