In the beginning of 2012, Dollar Shave Club created a video that single-handedly launched the business into the big leagues. The company itself was a small business that sold razor blades on a subscription basis. While the main appeal was initially the entertainment value of the video, there were many other contributing factors to the company’s success. Here’s an analysis of how the company went from a viral video to attracting $10 million dollars in funding.
Dollar Shave Club started by getting the exposure they needed with a viral video. Rather than focusing on a sales pitch video that focused on themselves, they created a video that focused on humor – a common ingredient in a viral campaign. They also leveraged social platforms such as YouTube, increasing the videos shareability. To date, their video has received over 10 million views.
The business model they created was aimed to solve a problem in the marketplace. Consumers were often frustrated with the experience of needing a replacement razor blade and shelling out a lot of money to buy a new one. Dollar Shave Club solved this problem through their unique value proposition. Their customers would get the benefits of being able to shave with a fresh new blade throughout the month in an affordable way.
The focus was less on the product and more on the brand. Company founder, Michael Dubin, has said “But I don’t see us as a razor blade company. We are a lifestyle company” in reference to their business model and service. This is what attracted customers to do business with them. They were sold to the idea of inexpensive blades with extra cartridges delivered every single month, not to the idea of buying cheap blades. Investors saw the opportunity in the brand and that’s why the company attracted $10 million in funding.
It uses a subscription based model. This model is one of the best ways to retain customers. In general, consumers tend to stick to a specific consumable product but there is always the risk of losing the customers to competing products. Customers that subscribe to Dollar Shave Club do not have to worry about going to the store to shop razors. This eliminates the competition because it eliminates the conversation of shopping for razors. And speaking of competition, investors think that this startup can compete with big brands such as Gillette.
There is huge potential for growth. The company is about to launch a new product called Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter. Like their razors, it will be priced competitively. There are a large number of products that can be worked into the backend from hair gels to grooming kits. Dollar Shaving Club can be more than a company that just sells affordable razors. They can be a company that cleans up the whole men’s grooming and self care aisle.
So those are some of the reasons why DollarShaveClub.com was so successful. Many businesses and brands succeed in getting attention with funny, weird or quirky viral campaigns but few get the customers they initially sought after. The reason why Dollar Shave Club’s campaign was so successful was because it tapped into a need in the marketplace and used a unique value proposition in between the humorous minute and a half video.