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Q: Increasing King of Shaves sales in the USA ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Increasing King of Shaves sales in the USA
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: willaking-ga
List Price: $175.00
Posted: 31 Oct 2005 12:42 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2005 12:42 PST
Question ID: 587148
King of Shaves ( is the UK's number 2 shaving preps
(gels, foams, creams, oils) brand, bigger than Nivea for Men and
second only to Gillette.  In early 2000 we were asked to sell the
product in the USA from Target, and from that listing have grown the
brand to be listed in about 20,000 doors including CVS/pharmacy,
Brooks/Eckerd, Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart.  However, sales are remaining at
a stubborn $2M (retail) a year in a market worth $500M, whereas in the
UK, we have sales of $15M with a market of $100M!  I know the US is a
big place, but people shave the same (normally with a Gillette razor)
and we know our shaving products are the best.  I spend 3/4 of my life
wondering how to make US men & women aware of us, without having to
spend $100m in advertising (which I don't have).  US consumers love
our products - check out - enter in 'King of
Shaves'.  So, any smart, off the wall awareness building ideas?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 31 Oct 2005 12:51 PST

I don't know how prevalent this may be in the UK, but in the US, many
retailers print customer-tailored coupons at checkout.

For example, a customer who buys diapers may get a coupon for baby
lotion.  Similarly, someone buying a Gillette razor, may get a coupon
printed out with their receipt for shaving cream.  CVS has this system
in place, as do many others.

Why not offer a coupon to anyone who buys your competitor's products,
and offer a steep discount (or even a free sample) of King of Shaves.

Yes, it may decrease your margins, temporarily.  But it's a relatively
cheap, very focused way of getting a coupon for your product into the
hands of people who might actually use it.

Let me know what you think.


Clarification of Question by willaking-ga on 31 Oct 2005 13:50 PST
hi pafalafa,

i'm pretty sure we have looked into this, but the cost is prohibitive,
eg P&G can do it, but for small companies, it can run into the
hundreds of thousands of dollars.  we recently did a week freebate
with one drugstore, and took at hit of $130,000 dollars!!!  but i will
ask my US guys.  we don't have this system (yet) in the UK at
checkout, only by loyalty card, thanks wak
Subject: Re: Increasing King of Shaves sales in the USA
Answered By: leapinglizard-ga on 31 Oct 2005 23:07 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Dear willaking,

I was going to suggest that you run a shaving contest until I saw, so it's clear you've thought of it already. A web
contest like this is a great idea because it's an interactive approach
that can pay you back many times over in word-of-mouth benefits if it
becomes a hit with a small group of trendsetters. However, I feel that
you could execute the concept much more effectively than you have so far.

First of all, there's a marked lack of branding on the website and in the
photos. There is only a small logo on the main page of
and no hint of what the product might be -- a razor? A shaving cream? A
shaving mirror? Men will like the humor of the extreme shaving contest,
but they would also be interested in the unique packaging and texture
of the product if you showed it to them. Product presentation and
information should be pervasive, making it clear just who is bringing
you extreme shaving.

Second, the extreme shaving gallery is disappointing when one gets around
to clicking on it. Most of the photos are not nearly as appealing in
composition or in picture quality as the samples shown on the main page
and on the "What is extreme shaving?" page. They are for the most part so
amateurish, and the 1-10 rating interface so reminiscent of Hot Or Not
and its thousands of imitators, that one quickly wearies of the gallery
and surfs away without forwarding the address to anyone. Furthermore,
few of the pictures seem to feature King of Shave products, and none
show the logo.

I recommend that you select only the very best submissions for your
gallery of extreme shaving. Ten spectacular pictures are much more
effective than a hundred mediocre ones. Have your graphics professionals
crop, scale, and color-enhance the winning snapshots as necessary to
improve their picture quality. Present them in a fresh, snazzy format,
not a generic gallery template. Furthermore, emphasize in the contest
description and show by example that you favor entries in which a
King of Shave product is featured, whether in actual use or merely on
display. Finally, hike the reward for winning pictures. Ten bucks isn't
enough to get most people off the couch, but if word gets around that
King of Shaves is paying $100 for a goofy shaving picture, you might
end up with a web phenomenon on your hands.

I also wanted to address an important point about the shaving market,
which is that older people tend to be set in their ways when it comes
to grooming. Few men over the age of forty want to be told that their
morning routine needs a change, especially in something as intimate as 
the shaving ritual. This is why the older double-bladed razor models
continue to sell in appreciable quantities even while a new generation
of razor technology is introduced every five years.

For this reason, I believe you should concentrate your marketing efforts
on more youthful consumers, who haven't quite made up their mind about
the best way to shave and are open to experimentation.

For example, do you have any college campus representatives? This needn't 
be a capital-intensive campaign, nor do I propose that you try to inveigle
youths into throwing something like Tupperware parties. All you need are
some feisty college kids armed with stickers, keychains, product samples,
and other inexpensive promotional materials who will encourage their 
friends and neighbors to visit the main King of Shaves website or just
the Extreme Shaving mini-site. If each campus rep has a personal code that
the referred person enters on the website -- or the code can be embedded
in the web address, whether it is printed or passed along by email --
then reps can be financially rewarded for the number of people they've
referred. The rep could get a substantial bonus, say $50, for each winning
entry submitted by someone they referred to the Extreme Shaving contest.

Also, are you courting the gay market? I believe from my own observations,
and market research has shown, that gay men are more enthusiastic 
about grooming products and more discerning in purchasing same than
straight men. Have you considered doing a cross-promotion with Queer
Eye for the Straight Guy? Why not throw shaving parties at a few gay
nightclubs? (Free admission to the club if you shave on site with KoS
products.) It only takes a few influential nodes in the social network
to get a viral buzz going.

Finally, bear in mind that sex sells. This means that in addition to
featuring shaved faces, your advertising imagery should include copious
shots of smooth chests, armpits, women's calves, and other intimate body
parts. There are few things that will get a young man hotter under the
collar than a long pair of closely shaved women's legs. You may offend
some people with even subtly suggestive shaving imagery, but they will
be vastly outnumbered by those to whom it appeals.

I'd love to try your products, by the way, and it saddened me to see
that you don't send samples to Canada. The shaving gels in particular
are tantalizing. I'll have to pass by S/HE & Co. the next time I'm in
Montreal and pick up some MagnaGel.


willaking-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
had clearly thought about the question and a very satisfactory answer, thanks.

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