When Dollar Shave Club was sold to Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion, it served as proof of concept for the direct-to-consumer business-model trend.
Now, two years later, the DTC brand has expanded from offering only razors to selling skin-care and hair-care products, toothpaste and more. And now, as personalization and wellness have come to dominate the beauty conversation, DSC is looking at how it can continue to create proofs of concept in those areas, according to Dennis Bernstein, brand innovation leader for Dollar Shave Club.
“We understand that guys’ needs are more individual than they’ve ever been; guys don’t want to be told, ‘Here’s a blanket product that all guys need to use.’ The mass-market approach is not what guys are looking for anymore,” he said.
Bernstein spoke with Glossy about how Dollar Shave Club is looking to innovate with new products and delivery mechanisms, wellness-focused content, and a celebration of customer diversity.
How are you seeing men respond to the wellness movement?
Guys are taking a more active approach than what they have done [before]. We’re not just seeing it in one particular aspect, but from a dual-pronged approach — both from the mind as well as the body. We’re seeing guys looking for solutions from physical products as well as mental-engagement products that will give them balance and equilibrium to keep going in their day-to-day lives. We looked at and took an approach from both sides of that equation. We’ve looked at physical products — [such as] our Wanderer products — where guys can transport their mind to wherever they want it to wander because of the sensorial nature of the products. We are also able to provide guys with content and our magazines, which we ship with every box, allowing them to learn new things they can use in their day-to-day lives and tackle whatever responsibilities they have.
How is Dollar Shave Club investing in personalization, and how do you see it evolving?
We’re taking this head-on as we look at ways to solve the needs of our members and bring new consumers into the fold. Our Get Ready campaign that ran this summer is at the heart of what this is. Guys get ready differently every day, and we need to provide them the tools they need, whether it’s the physical products or content, that will allow them to customize their personal and unique routine.
From a personalization standpoint, we are looking at it in several different ways from physical product — we want to deliver on that unique routine for guys and give them a customized set of products that address their individual needs. We want to understand what types of pain points consumers have and how we can deliver with subsets of products that address those needs. Even from a content standpoint, the ability to personalize the content based on what they may already be interested in or things they may have engaged with before, and then leverage that to provide content for our app — that allows for them to experience something they are interested in, rather than providing things they are not. There is more to come at a later date with those things, as well as other initiatives, and we are looking at our site experience and our membership models and how they are working.
How else is Dollar Shave Club trying to communicate with its customers, in addition to using original content?
We have a social media team where their focus is driving consumer engagement. We are trying to understand if there are needs and wants or desires consumers have that we are able to help solve, either through physical products or by providing the right content and stories. We can then help answer those big questions that consumers are having. We also leverage the members themselves. We have a panel we utilize, not only for [getting feedback on] physical products and better understanding on where there are gaps in the marketplace, but also to get a better understanding of consumers and leverage those trends to bring things to the broader consumer market.
What do you think about the increase in brands catering to male makeup? Do you think it could succeed in the U.S.?
We have followed the trends happening in Asia and Europe, and other markets with the indie beauty and cosmetics. We believe there are other opportunities to be a trendsetter in those places; makeup and skin-care products aren’t necessarily where we see guys going in the U.S., but different types of delivery mechanisms for products are really where we see potential opportunities to build on our portfolio — we’ll be focusing on benefits our guys are looking for in the personal-care space, versus focusing on makeup.