Dollar Shave Club Seeks to Automate Personal Care Category With Vending Machines
Discount grooming supplies service Dollar Shave Club is moving from a subscription-only ecommerce model to physical vending machines strategically located in high-traffic areas.
More than 10 machines will be tested in various areas across the nation, all featuring six pre-bundled kits containing various Dollar Shave Club assortments spanning shave, shower, hair and skin care categories, as well as "freshen up" and "greatest hits" packages, the latter including the most popular product from each of the brand's product lines.
"We built the kits to drive awareness of our sub-brands, and so we purposely chose to craft the assortment by category," Nick Virginio, senior brand development manager at Marina del Rey, Calif.-based Dollar Shave Club, told Progressive Grocer. "The idea is that once someone pushes the button, they will realize all of the products and categories we play in besides shaving."
When approaching automated retail, Dollar Shave Club sought to provide consumers with the ease and convenience of traditional vending machines, but with the brand's own twist: Each machine features an oversized "push me" button and privacy glass that, while appearing fogged and obscuring products from view, clears to transparent to reveal products upon the push of the button.
The vending machines and products inside were designed to feature only trial-sized versions of all of the brand's favorites, thus lowering the barrier of trial and increasing brand awareness, Virginio said. The goal of the machines is to drive consumers back to the Dollar Shave Club website to encourage membership.
The four initial locations of the vending machines will be the Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn.; the Transbay Transit Center, in San Francisco; Roosevelt Field, on Long Island, N.Y.; and New York's LaGuardia Airport. According to Virginio, Dollar Shave Club selected two key verticals to focus on with the pilot.
"The first was “mass transit”; this includes airports, train stations, bus terminals, etc.," he said. "The idea here is that we can capture the traveler who is on the go and may have forgotten or suddenly needs one of our products. The other focus area we are calling 'hyperretail,' and this includes locations that feature a mix of corporate, dining, entertainment, etc. Some examples here would be malls, stadiums, office centers, outdoor parks and more."
Dollar Shave Club also is exploring the potential to place some machines in international terminals – where prospective members might be flying to countries where the brand is live. However, there are no official plans for such installations at the moment.