Last week the online razor wars got more heated when Edgewell Personal Care Company (NYSE: EPC) announced the launch of Schick Hydro, an online subscription service for razor blade refills that fit their own Schick Hydro razor as well as Schick Hydro Connect refills which fit Gillette Fusion and Mach3 handles. Schick is the latest entrant to the razor subscription market, following in the footsteps of Gillette, Harry’s and the Dollar Shave Club, purchased by Unilever last summer. Initially, the Schick Hydro Connect refills will only be available online.
“The launch of SchickHydro.com and the introduction of Schick Hydro Connect are two exciting and important growth initiatives for Edgewell,” said David Hatfield, Edgewell’s Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board, in a press release. “The SchickHydro.com platform expands our digital capabilities and complements our overall channel strategy. We are confident that our growing online presence will significantly enhance consumer engagement by enabling us to deliver even more innovation and reach consumers across pricing tiers. We are committed to leveraging our unique product offerings and record of innovation to enhance our brand equity, drive profitable growth and create shareholder value.”
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“I am excited to introduce Schick Hydro Connect and our new direct-to-consumer site, which will make it even easier for men to get that smooth, comfortable shave we know they want,” said Adel Mekhail, Vice President of the Americas, Edgewell Personal Care, in the announcement. “For nearly a century, Edgewell Personal Care and its predecessors have been in the business of bringing innovation and choices to consumers, and we take pride in making quality products across the entire shave category at every price point.”
Here’s how the Schick Hydro subscription works. Subscribers choose the type of razor they want, the refill quantity (3, 6 or 9) based on how often they shave, and the frequency of delivery (every one to nine months). Subscribers also get free shipping on their orders.
Customers who don’t want to subscribe can also buy razors and razor blades on the site, but free shipping is not offered on those products. Customers who subscribe during the promotional period will receive their first razor free. The offer is available while supplies last with a limit of one offer per household. The customer pays $3 for shipping and handling.
Subscribers get three sets of options:
- Schick Hydro Connect refills for Gillette Fusion and Mach 3 handles, starting at $10 for three refills.
- Schick Hydro refills, starting at $24 for six refills.
- Schick Hydro bundles with razors and blades, starting at $26.99 for six refills.
Schick’s new subscription product competes directly with rival Gillette who offers the Gillette On Demand subscription which offers Sensor 3 disposable razors as well as refills for the Mach3 Turbo and Fusion Proshield razors. Gillette has lowered its prices to start at $8 for eight disposal razors, $10 for five blade refills of the Mach3 Turbo (handle free with first purchase) and $18.45 for four blade refills (handle free with first purchase). For each of the options, Gillette is offering the fourth order free with every subscription, and $3 off the first order for new customers.
The Dollar Shave Club is a bit different and has more of a high-end feel to it though its prices are competitive. In addition to offering razors and razor refills, Dollar Shave Club offers men’s personal care products including shave butter, body cleanser, skin care, hair styling products and more. Harry’s, which also offers complementary products, has them all beat in terms of price with blades costing about $2 or less each.
Offering more than just razors, Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club cater to different needs than Schick and Gillette, so we aren’t comparing apples to oranges here. Gillette and Schick, however, offer solely razor subscriptions. They are competing directly with each other, particularly with Schick’s Hydro Connect product which fits Gillette razors.
With the launch of Hydro Connect, Gillette has reduced its prices to be more competitive. This price differential could entice some customers to try Gillette On Demand, especially with every fourth purchase free, which will help Gillette with subscriber retention. It will be interesting to see how the the subscriptions for these two companies evolve as they try to get their share of the market.