Dear Raz*War, dear David, you lost a customer. Me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of your biggest fans. I don’t think I talked more about one start-up in our innovation masterclasses than yours. You launched ‘Shaving as a service’. A subscription service on razor blades. It was the perfect business model example to explain people how you could revolt within a saturated industry. Basic product, smart idea. When you launched you attacked (yes, it was a War) the big giants in the market. *David* vs Goliath, awesome story!

Years ago when you pitched your start-up on stage you pinpointed exactly what was (is) wrong with the shaving industry.

  • “You don’t need million blades to have a good shave.” You, the bearded CEO, showed Youtube movies like this that you can shave with just 2 bladed razor. Low budget, start-up style but convincing!
  • “You’re paying too much for your blades!” Packed in sealed boxes or stored behind the counter… customers are always confronted with the fact that your Gilette Mach 9 Sword Titanium Turbo Glide is costing you a limb. “Stop doing that!”
  • “Don’t waste time looking for what blade fits which handle.” Yes, I hate that, very frustrating!
  • “It’s time to Revolt, it’s time for a War! Join Raz*War – Hell yeah! I’m in!

So I joined the movement and a few days later I got the first delivery of my neatly designed pack of razor blades. #proud

Yesterday, after being a member for 2 years, I went back to supermarket and the bought the cheapest Wilkinson Sword blades that fitted my dusted handle. You lost me.

But before I go, let me give you some feedback.

1. Subscription as a service?

That story is over it seems. Today, you’re just selling 40 blades for 1 fixed price (€42,60), shipped in 1 delivery. Is this a subscription or a plan? No! But more important, this is not an impulsive buying decision anymore. +40 euro? How many A-brand blades can you buy with that? As customer you start to think. (hint: That is not what you want.)

2. Dropping monthly or quarterly deliveries

You miss crucial moments to get in touch with your clients. Hey, I even mailed your team this suggestion last year. > “Mail people 2 weeks in advance, ask them if they want something extra with their next delivery. I’m confident it will boost your upselling. A gift for a friend, an accessory,… even with an extra discount (or no extra shipping costs).

Good luck with the business”

Instead you canceled all deliveries except one. Pity. Shipments cost a buck and are a burden (I know, we’re shipping brainstorm kits world wide) but you could do so much more with this! Why didn’t you go all in and set up a monthly recurring income stream. Get in touch with your client every few weeks. Build up a relationship! For me, this client base would be the strongest asset you would have in your business model.

3. 5 blades? Seriously?

I really loved the proposition of Raz*War. No frills, just awesome blades that shave. Nothing more, nothing less. Last year Raz*War introduced a 4 blade Razor that felt already as a stretch on your business proposition. But 5? “Customers asked for more blades.” I could refer to Jobs or Ford with cliché innovation quotes but services that trie to fit every customer segment will end up with a mediocre business. I’m not sure if this is what you want. Pick a side a hold on to your vision!

Kindle vs iPad vs Sony Tablet S

By raising your prices (at least the perception of it), dropping the subscription service and by joining the race for to the 10 blade razor you’ve put yourself in a different market: The same old market of Giants you were fighting against. Within this field you’re not the strongest. People that prefer high end are willing to pay for superb quality. You were the Kindle versus iPad. Two players, different markets. But today, you’re the Sony Tablet S…

Ps: What do you think about the The DollarShaveClub.com?
Although I’ve no intel if your business is burning. David, you’re a smart business guy so you probably know how to run this business but I hope you can pivot once more.

Today I stumbled upon The Dollar Shave Club. What do you think? It’s Raz*War with a twist: a Shaving business cocktail mixed with flavors of Old Spice and Kenny Powers K-Swiss Blades. But on the other side, even they have a 6 blade razor (six!).

David, Good luck with your projects. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

(source: TechCocktail)


Posted on March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
Nick De Mey
Co-founder @ Board of Innovation
Nick is co-founder of Board of Innovation. He mainly writes about innovation tools, new revenue models and inspiring cases.
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