Image from: Man Shaving Face / Shutterstock
Nothing works quite like humor to give a fledgling business a publicity boost. But does this particular venture have staying power or is it just a flash in the pan? In March, Dollar Shave Club opened its doors offering men a convenient and potentially cost effective way to replenish their razor blades. To generate buzz, the company launched a brash and cheeky web video (below) featuring its founder, comedian turned entrepreneur, Michael Dubin. Dollar Shave Club aims to capitalize on the premise that men don’t replace their razor blades as often as they should because men are either too lazy, the blades are too expensive, or some combination of the two.
The company offers a tiered subscription-based service for replenishing razor blades. There are three options to choose from ranging from $1 a month (plus shipping) for 5 twin blade razors, on up to $9 a month (including shipping) for 3 six blade “Executive” razors. The blades are sourced from South Korea and are claimed to be comparable to leading brands. The handle is free regardless of the option chosen.
The video above quickly went viral (registering 5.2 million views on Youtube to date) and attracted 255,000 visitors to the company’s website in March. While most visitors came just to view the video (which remains the feature on the homepage), over users 30,000 registered on the site and over 9,000 went further and actually signed-up to start the service.
Since then, the site has averaged 54,000 unique visitors per month. As DollarShaveClub aims for a piece of lucrative business owned by P&G’s Gillette and Energizer’s Schick brands, it faces a key challenge. With the impact of its launch video fading, the company needs a second act to keep its traffic growing. Maybe that’s another video, or an expanded product line. Currently the company is investing in paid and organic search marketing to reach men searching for cheaper shaving alternatives. And herein lies the rub. Of those that have registered on the site over the past 4 months, 95% had not previously shopped online for shaving products. So while the site is carving out a niche, attracting new shoppers online, it also suggests there is as of yet not a large segment of the population actively considering alternatives to their current shaving regimen.
With the rise in popularity of Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program, the appetite certainly exists among consumers to rid themselves of the hassle of repeatedly purchasing items they use regularly. For DollarShaveClub, however, it simply may be their initial target audience is not on the leading edge of that movement.
As VP of Millward Brown Digital’s financial services, retail and consumer products practices, Matt is responsible for vertical growth and strategy and the delivery of digital insights and best practice marketing consulting to leading Fortune 500 advertisers. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattpace.