Almost every industry has been hit by digital disruption and shaving clubs are trying to do the same to the razor market.
Popularised by Dollar Shave Club in the US 2011, they aim to offer a cheaper alternative to razors by signing people up to a subscription. And they have done a fairly good job of pulling in consumers. In the US, the market leader Gillette has lost share for the last six quarters and even launched its own shave club in a bid to tackle the disruption head on.
Now shaving clubs are coming to the UK. But it isn’t Dollar Shave Club, recently bought by Unilever, that has made it across the Atlantic. Instead it is a brand called Harry’s, which has made quite a splash with its marketing approach.
The brand was launched by best friends Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield. Raider has form in disrupting traditional markets – he founded online glasses retailer Warby Parker.
The idea came about due to how “tedious”, the process of buying razors had become. Because of their value they are often locked away in cabinets or feature security tags making the shopping process longer. And they can seem expensive.
But changing that has not been as easy as Raider and Katz-Mayfield expected. The category is incredibly “complex”, requiring a lot of specialist knowledge, particularly when it came to the blades. The two nevertheless decided to launch the business in 2013, using “their faces as a testing ground” for developing new products.
Fast-forward four years and Harry’s now has three million customers in the US. Its products are available in-store and online. But the brand is predominantly known for its ‘shave plan’ subscription service.
It works like this: customers can sign up to the service for £2.95, and will be sent a handle, blade, shave gel and a travel blade cover.
Following the trial, they will be automatically enrolled on a subscription plan (although customers can modify or cancel ahead of their first payment). The subscription costs vary dependent on people’s individual needs, and can therefore be paid every two, three or five months.
The brand is hoping to jump on a growing consumer appetite for online services, with research conducted by Shorr Packaging showing that subscription boxes have become increasingly popular…