(Billion) Dollar Shave Club Highlights Value-As-A-Service

Unilever agreed to purchase Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion. The five year old company built a direct-to-consumer subscription razor blades service and expanded its offerings to include its own brand of shaving cream and after-shave lotion. Its 2015 revenues were $152 million.

My take: Wow, that’s a lot of money. Why would Unilever spend so aggressively on this young company? Because it’s a shining example of one of the key CX trends we’ve highlighted called Value-As-A-Service (VaaS). Here’s how I described this growing trend…

As consumers get comfortable with companies like Uber and AirBnB and use more iTunes apps and cloud-based applications, they are being trained to pay for things as they need them. The notion of buying something that you may or may not use in the future is becoming outdated. In 2016, we expect this consumer behavior to push more companies to break apart their offerings into bite-sized pieces. As this happens companies will need to earn loyalty more frequently and ensure that customers get value from the things that they purchase.

VaaS will require companies to build new skills, including:

  • Developing simplified offerings
  • Providing subscriptions
  • Ensuring customer value, not closing deals
  • Tapping into rich customer behavioral data
  • Accelerating the pace of learning and adjusting

Is Dollar Shave Club worth $1 billion? I have no idea. But if this acquisition helps Unilever tap into the VaaS trend, then I think its investors will be happy.

The bottom line: All companies need to prepare for VaaS


Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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