This is an installment in a weekly series on uncommon tech innovations and implementations across all industries. Get an inside look at how other companies have changed their brands, their sales, and their retention through digital and mobile tech.
You know how it goes. The dreaded trip to the pharmacy. You go to grab some razor blades, but they’re locked in a plastic cabinet. You wait to flag down a sales associate to unlock the case and let you choose some razor blades, just so you can spend an exorbitant amount of money on a simple, necessary product.
It was an experience just like that that inspired the co-founders of Harry’s to start their company. Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield looked at the over-designed, novelty-driven razor blades filling drug store shelves and wondered why anyone needed a vibrating handle and 12 blades just to get a decent shave.
You pay for cheap razors in more ways than one. Bad blades rough up your skin and cause nicks and cuts, and that’s if you can get a proper shave from them in the first place. But you don’t need space-age branding to deliver high-quality shaving tools. At least that’s the belief Harry’s was founded on.
Today, Harry’s continues to challenge an industry standard that had been in place for far too long.
It starts with excellent razor blades.
Razor blades are the heart of any razor, and you don’t need 12 of them to do a decent job—you just need a few good ones. Katz-Mayfield and Raider tried every brand on the shelf and finally found a match in razors made in a small-town factory in Germany. They entered
Harry’s blades are precisely engineered from stainless steel to provide customers with a sleek, reliable, high-quality tool they’ll look forward to using.
Next, you need convenience.
Harry’s co-founder Jeff Raider had previously helped found web-based glasses mogul Warby Parker. So it’s no surprise Harry’s decided to do their business online. Now that they had the right blades, their business plan was simple: ship customers premium shaving packages for less than they’d pay for a standard kit at the drug store.
Business took off faster than anyone could have expected. Launched in 2013, Harry’s grew its profit five times in 2014, and they haven’t stopped since.
What we can learn.
Everyone thinks of razors as a standard, traditional—if expensive—household item. You buy them at the store. To order razors online might even seem a little silly. But Harry’s founders found a key problem with a common, crucial item and revolutionized the way people see it, purchase it, and use it. They turned razors from a contact product you pick up in a supermarket to a content-driven product you purchase from a unique online retailer.
What if we took aspects of the dealership experience customers commonly think of as contact-only and switched them up? What if your customer’s phone knew when they needed to an oil change before they did, and scheduled the service with the tap of a finger? What if instead of flipping through paper inspection charts, customers looked at a sleek electronic summary?
The auto industry is rife with opportunities to turn tedious, clumsy, razor-in-a-plastic-case experiences into easy, high-quality,