BUS 6611 Troy University Analyzing Business Model Of Dollar Shave Club Case Study To answer the following questions, no reference is needed. 1. Apply the
BUS 6611 Troy University Analyzing Business Model Of Dollar Shave Club Case Study To answer the following questions, no reference is needed.
1. Apply the four Is framework: idea, invention, innovation, and imitation to describe the wet shaving industry in the United States over the past 100 years.
2. What market opening did entrepreneurs, such as Michael Dubin with Dollar Shave Club, use to enter the industry? How did they enter the industry? What type of innovation did they use, and why were they successful?
3. Why did Unilever offer $1 billion (in cash!) for Dollar Shave Club?
4. At what juncture of the industry life cycle is the razor-blazed industry situated? Explain your answer. MiniCase 2
Business Model Innovation: How Dollar Shave
Club Disrupted Gillette
The entrepreneur Michael Dubin founded Dollar Shave Club using a business model innovation by providing
an online subscription-based mail-order alternative to in-store retail purchases of razor blades. Many
customers were not only turned off by Gillettes premium prices, but also by the inconveniences that in-store
purchases entail. Given that packs of razor blades are a prime target for shoplifters, many stores lock them
in glass vitrines, much to the dismay of customers who have to hunt down an employee with a key to access
WHILE MOST of our attention is captured by fancy high-tech innovations such
as the iPhone or Teslas sleek electric vehicles, innovations need neither to be
high-tech nor radical to be successful. Until recently, Gillette, the company that
invented the safety razor and the razorrazor-blade business model, dominated
the $3 billion U.S. market for wet shaving with some 75 percent market share.
Yet Dollar Shave Club, which began as a fledgling startup with an initial budget of
$8,000, disrupted the powerful Gillette with a low-tech innovation and is gaining
market share rapidly. How can the powerful Gillette, a unit of Procter & Gamble
with annual revenues of $65 billion, be beaten by a brash startup? Gillettes
pattern of innovation over time led to overshooting in the market, resulting in a
product that became overengineered and too expensive.
The entrepreneur King Gillette invented the safety razor some 115 years ago and
also came up with the highly profitable business model of selling the razor for a
low price and charging a premium for replacement razor blades. This razor
razor-blade business model, so named to commemorate its origins, has now
been widely adopted. When introduced, the safety razor was a radical
innovation, allowing Gillette a temporary competitive advantage. To sustain this
advantage, Gillette followed up with incremental innovations, mainly by adding
more blades to its razor until there were not one but six! As a result of this
innovation pattern, Gillettes newest razor, the Fusion ProGlide with Flexball
technology, a razor handle that features a swiveling ball hinge, costs $11.49 (and
$12.59 for a battery-operated one) per razor!
This pricing exposed Gillette to low-cost disruption. The high-end, highly priced
offering of the market leader is not only overshooting what the market demands,
but also often priced too high. Does anyone really need six blades on one razor or
want to pay over $10 for one cartridge?
Seeing the opening provided by Gillettes focus on the high-end, high-margin
portion of the market, Dollar Shave Club established a low-cost alternative to
invade Gillettes market from the bottom up. With an $8,000 budget and the help
of a hilarious promotional video that went viral with 25 million views,
entrepreneur Michael Dubin launched Dollar Shave Club, an ecommerce startup
that delivers razors by mail. After the promotional video was uploaded on
YouTube in March 2012, some 12,000 people signed up for Dollar
Shave membership within the first 48 hours! The company also raised more than
$20 million in venture capital funding from prominent firms such as Kleiner
Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz, among others. Dollar Shave
Club followed up with advertising on regular television in addition to its online
campaigns and has expanded its product lines with the introduction of additional
personal grooming products.
Dollar Shave Club is an ecommerce company that uses a subscription-based
business model. As the companys name suggests, its entry-level membership
plan delivers a razor and five cartridges a month for just $1 (plus $2 shipping).
The member selects an appropriate plan, pays a monthly fee, and receives razors
every month in the mail. Dollar Shave Club is using a business model innovation
to disrupt an existing market. Technology is defined as the methods and
materials used to achieve a commercial objective. The technology or method
here is the business model innovation, a potent competitive weapon. The
entrepreneur identified the market need for those who dont like to go shopping
for razors and certainly dont like to pay the high prices commanded by market
leaders such as Gillette.
Procter & Gambles competition also took notice. Unilever, P&Gs European rival,
has long stayed away from the U.S. wet shaving market because Gillette was so
dominant. But noting how Dollar Shave Club disrupted the market, resulting in
Gillettes rapid market share decline, Unilever saw its opening into the U.S.
market. The Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer products company, with some
$61 billion in annual revenues and thus roughly the same size as P&G, offered a
whopping $1 billion in cash in 2016 to buy Dollar Shave Club. Not too bad of an
offer for a five-year-old startup! Dubin happily accepted the offer and sold Dollar
Shave Club to Unilever.
With sales of razors and razor blades moving rapidly online, Unilever is hoping
to leverage this business model innovation to unseat Gillettes dominance in the
U.S. market. Gillette is not sitting by idle: It responded swiftly by offering its own
subscription-based service (Gillette Shave Club) and by lowering prices up to 20
percent, a move that was unimaginable in the past few decades. Successful
innovations also lead to imitations. A mere two years after Dollar Shave Club
started, two entrepreneurs founded Harrys, another online, subscription-based
mail-order business for shaving equipment. After Target invited Harrys to put
flashy displays in all of its stores in 2016, its business took off. This was a smart
move on Targets part, because it allowed it to put some competitive pressure on
Gillette, which has historically held a near-monopoly position as a supplier with
its 75 percent market share. Similar to Dollar Shave Club, Harrys business is
growing rapidly. As a consequence of increased competition, Gillettes market
share in the $3 billion market for razors and razor blades has declined from
some 75 percent (in 2010) to below 60 percent (by 2017), and continues to slide.
1. If you buy shaving equipment, do you purchase it in a retail store or online?
Explain your choice.
2. Apply the four Is framework: idea, invention, innovation, and imitation to
describe the wet shaving industry in the United States over the past 100
3. How was Gillette initially able to gain a competitive advantage? Was Gillette
able to sustain its competitive advantage? If so, how?
4. What market opening did entrepreneurs, such as Michael Dubin with Dollar
Shave Club, use to enter the industry? How did they enter the industry? What
type of innovation did they use, and why were they successful?
5. Why did Unilever offer $1 billion (in cash!) for Dollar Shave Club?
6. Do you think online startups such as Dollar Shave Club and Harrys will
continue to steal market share from Gillette? Why or why not?
Purchase answer to see full