A close shave on the internet

Anyone who still has doubts that the internet is not the most liberating innovation in humanity’s history needs to be buried in a time capsule.

The proof of the pudding is everywhere but one cutting edge initiative demonstrates it better than most. It is the Dollar Shave Club (DSC) www.dollarshaveclub.com.

The brainchild of Californian entrepreneur Mike Dubin, DSC is getting men all over the world to rub their faces admiringly while getting a warm feeling in their hip pocket (where their wallets are, silly!).

Bristling at the outrageous over-pricing of razor blades supplied by the global brands Gillette, Wilkinson Sword and Schick, Dubin went for their throats. His business model is simplicity itself: subscribe to one of a choice of three blade cartridges and receive a pack of blades each month for a comparatively dirt cheap price.

Oh, and rather than a set of steak knives, you get a slick handle for the razor FREE!

Okay, so some things don’t change. But you have to admire the guy’s chutzpah. Check out his video – which is rating off the meter – and appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humour that appeals to today’s new breed of online consumer shoppers.

Frankly, it is stupendously satisfying to think of Gillette et al getting all in a lather because some cheeky upstart is successfully challenging their multi-billion dollar near monopoly. Research by Euromonitor says the global market for shaving products was worth around $15 billion two years ago.

When you consider the costs shaved from the traditional business model – marketing, packaging, transport, logistics – it is easy to see how margins can be trimmed. In fact, the very simplicity of the DSC model suggests their own profitability is foaming luxuriantly.

But the innovation goes deeper. Once Dubin created his internet presence and began to attract a following, he had venture capitalists eager to join the ride. So much for taking a detailed business plan to your local bank manager and begging for kindly consideration.

A trip to the shops to buy our groceries is not under threat just yet but the future of shopping is clearly coming to us on a screen real soon.