How Dollar Shave Club Drives Adoption By Solving User Problems

In this chapter of our keynote series, we were fortunate to be joined by Alan Wizemann, current CDO of Dollar Shave Club. In this exclusive interview, Wizemann draws on his experience with three major retailers - Target, Lululemon Athletica, and Dollar Shave Club (DSC) - to discuss how retailers can solve customer problems with solutions that promote both brand engagement and technology adoption.

Rebadging the Coupon

At Target, Wizemann explains, coupons were identified as a key problem to retail traffic - drawing on the simple fact that, from a user perspective, "Coupons suck."

An in-store application named Cartwheel was Target's solution. A small internal team was formed to gather feedback from Target's guests, refine the technology, and channel targeted discount opportunities to each guest, based on their unique buying habits.

The overall result of the Cartwheel initiative was that the larger issue of reducing the length of check-out lines was resolved.

Content + Community + Activities = Commerce

A complete lack of digital was central to the executive culture at Lululemon Athletica. However, Lululemon did have something really interesting going on - a thriving community-based culture at each of its stores. Some 5,000 store guests, ambassadors (Lululemon's staff), and brand advocates were freely creating user-generated social media content, long-form written content, videos, classes, how-to content - you name it - that celebrated the Lululemon brand and experience. The problem, however, was that no one was putting it all together.

Wizemann and his team set to work creating a mobile app experience that combined everything that was working so well in stores - the classes, the content, the videos, the community - and made it available digitally. Now, Lululemon's guests not only had a way to book classes online and access content from their smartphones, but they could also share the Lululemon community experience easily. This created a digital word-of-mouth effect which drove more people to Lulu stores, and sales went up accordingly.

Club Culture Solving an Age-Old Problem

Dollar Shave Club managed to solve one of the biggest consumer problems that was flying under the radar - razors. Used by millions of people, razors were hard to buy and really expensive. The solution was as obvious as it was simple - improve access and make them cheaper. And it's an approach that DSC has extended to include a whole range of grooming and body care products.

Humor, a wealth of content, a capable army of Club Pros (DSC staffers), and a well-established digital infrastructure serve to accentuate the club/membership ecosystem of DSC, which enables the company to tailor the member experience to each individual.

Allowing Time for Your Solutions to Take Effect

In all of this, it's essential to remember that solving user problems takes time, and that solutions will only arise if you're asking the right questions.

Wizemann quotes Einstein, who sums up his thinking succinctly: "We can't solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them."

For more insights, join us at eTail Boston, happening this August 19 -22 at the Sheraton Boston! eTail is four days of action-packed stories, conversations, and connections with the top minds at America's most successful retailers. Download the agenda here for full details.

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