The free download at the iTunes store for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch has a question-and-answer function about menstrual cycles, with a health professional replying to questions within a day. Always is also using the app as a mobile sales channel, as it has a "Shop Always" button for online purchase and store location.
The app has other content health management, and exercise as well. The company says that as part of the development process, P&G previewed it to obstetricians and gynecologists, female cycle experts, women's media and bloggers. Influencers reviewed the application to test functionality and provided comments on their user experience. Rebecca Booth, a Louisville, Ky.-based ob/gyn, was one of the participants and the inspiration behind the app with her book, The Venus Week.
Courtney Schuster, global brand manager for Always, says the company will expand the program to include information on other areas of personal care for which P&G makes products: beauty care, hair, and skin. "We decided to launch this personalized app because we hear from consumers all the time about these issues. So the main thing behind this is providing women with a way to manage the ups and downs of their cycle, and give them a channel for receiving feedback."
The app has a potentially large consumer base of women from their late teens through their 30s whose needs aren't being met through traditional channels, says Schuster. "We see mobile as the key way to connect with these women -- college-age girls, for instance, who are constantly on the go and who often don't even have time to check something on their computer, much less track their periods."
According to Schuster, the principal measure of ROI will be downloads, not sales through the mobile purchase channel; she adds that the company is promoting the app through the panel of experts on women's health who participated in developing it. "Many of them are bloggers, with their own large following."