For today’s blog, we present to you the inspiring story of ‘Dollar Shave Club’. This story will not just leave you feeling inspired but you’ll also enjoy reading every bit of it.
The first subscription-based company, Dollar Shave Club, delivers new razors and other grooming supplies to your home every month through email, all for the low price of just $1.
Mark Levine and Michael Dubin formally debuted Dollar Shave Club in April 2011. Gillette and Schick controlled 70% of the razor market at the time. Unilever, however, paid $1 billion to acquire Dollar Shave Club in just five years.
Yes, a D2C startup with such a straightforward product entered the market, competed with a major brand like Gillette, and prevailed. Today, we discuss their inspiring rise from poverty to affluence and the lessons other brands can take away from it.
How did it all begin?
At Sports Illustrated Kids, a division of Time Inc., in New York, Michael Dubin worked as a digital marketer. Prior to the financial crisis of 2009, when Dubin lost his job, everything was going smoothly. He began frantically submitting applications to several business schools but was rejected by each one of them. He then began assisting businesses with their marketing initiatives, such as producing internet videos.
Then, in 2010, he met Mark Levine at a party who worked in product development and wholesaling. Mark disclosed to Dubin that he had an excess of 2,50,000 razors and needed his assistance in selling them online. Dubin had his plan in mind right away.
As razors are something that is used on a weekly or biweekly basis and needs to be changed often, he considered the issues that individuals might be experiencing. He immediately thought of two things: high prices and the "hassle" of visiting a store. As a result, he came up with the idea of a subscription-based business model where the entire consumer purchasing process is automated and tailored. What if consumers could conveniently receive razors at fair pricing every week or month at their doorstep?
Then, Dubin made a deal with Mark Levine and contributed his money, which totaled about $35,000, to the creation of the website dollarshaveclub.com, which went live in July 2011. Dubin connected with bloggers throughout the first six months after the website's introduction in order to assist them in spreading the word. And without investing any money in promotion, this assisted them in gaining their first 1,000 subscribers. But he later released a video that became highly popular.
What D2C Brands can learn from Dollar Shave Club?
Even though Dollar Shave Club has a novel marketing scheme, its approach to improving the customer experience is superior. They may teach all direct-to-consumer brands the following lessons:
Lesson 1: Take Advantage of the Power of Storytelling
Excellent storytelling may provide brands a significant competitive advantage. In the instance of Dollar Shave Club, they used narrative, particularly through videos, to create a community.
With the release of its first video, which starred Michael Dubin, the brand hit its first milestone. Since its release in March 2012, the video has received over 27 million views. The storytelling in the video was also a major factor in its success. Dubin conveys all that a viewer can relate to throughout the film to keep them interested. Dubin's interaction with the crowd, continual attention to the camera, and mockery of the razor blade industry as a whole are amazing. It is humorous and speaks directly to the target audience's problems.
In the first 10 seconds of the video, Dubin sells the main value proposition of DSC i.e. “For a dollar a month, we send high-quality razors right to your door.”
Apart from this, Dubin clearly states the benefits of their product: “Each blade has stainless steel blades and an aloe vera lubricating strip….”
The $4,500 Dubin used from his savings to produce this launch video paid off handsomely for him. YouTube was so popular with this video that the company's server crashed within the first hour of its release. Additionally, in the first 3 days, over 12,000 individuals signed up to receive their product—the straightforward razor.
Lesson 2: Put your attention on providing a fantastic customer experience.
Dollar Shave Club (DSC) has been concentrating on its customers' problems ever since it opened. They were aware of the frustration caused by intermittent, pricey razor purchases. As a result, they developed a novel business strategy whereby they sent $1 worth of razor blades to consumers' doorsteps each month. They reinvented the customer purchasing journey by removing the need to leave the comfort of your house to acquire razor blades every time.
If you take a look at their website, you can also see how much of a focus they have on customer demands. As soon as you land on the homepage, you are asked to take a quiz for a personalized grooming experience – “Tell us what you need to get ready, we’ll do the rest.”
Depending on the answers you select, it gives you a recommendation on the products you should use to “look, feel, and smell the best, along with the total price and frequency.
There are many sections on the website, such as product pages, with clear CTAs to make it simpler for users to place an order. Even if you only want one product, you get to choose how frequently and when you want to receive it.
You feel like a member of the club since they have made the purchasing process so simple. Customers have the option to quit their membership whenever they want, and they provide personalised combos and a 100% money-back guarantee.
Lesson 3: The key is 'Consistency'
The message of DSC has consistently been the same whether it is in their TV advertising, internet advertisements, or posts on Facebook, Instagram, etc. They simply concentrate on using humorous content to communicate their value proposition—convenient, less expensive shaves.
Lesson 4: Talk to people.
The majority of the marketing work done by DSC focuses on amusing, witty postings or videos that appeal to the audience's shared beliefs. You laugh at their punchline, and you want to see their advertisements again. They are really engrossing and speak in a way that their audience can understand. They are never “salesy”.
You can learn from the consistency in their brand language even though we acknowledge that not every brand can reflect such a personality. Being bland and generic is possible if you are overly courteous or cautious. Being a little unique can help you attract attention. Additionally, if you are uninteresting, your rivals will definitely outperform you!
Today, Dollar Shave Club is not just a razor company but a lifestyle brand. It has added many more personal grooming products such as creams, soaps, shampoos, etc. A perfect storm of success for Dollar Shave Club was produced by the company's unique offering and innovative marketing approach. Their tale is both uplifting and entertaining!