Gone are the days when manufacturing, distribution, sales, research, marketing and development all happen under one roof. Founded in 2011 and recently acquired by Unilever for $1 billion, tech start-up Dollar Shave Club has reshaped the retail and advertising industries. Dollar Shave’s business strategy is to use unique technology to circumvent retail establishments by using the Internet to sell shaving products directly to consumers.
With only 190 employees, Dollar Shave has over three million subscribers. With the aid of free advertising provided by technology and social networks, decentralized companies such as Dollar Shave are able to successfully create a brand and develop a steady customer base with very few employees and for a relatively modest investment. In bypassing retail and shipping products directly to subscribers, Dollar Shave has made quality razors cheaper and more convenient to buy, especially for men who aren’t keen on shopping. Online branding allows such start-ups to cut out the expense of retailing and significantly reduce the cost of advertising. Savings are further compounded by low-cost Internet sales. Naturally, other small brands in consumer goods are building on the online start-up’s success, disrupting the retail landscape and demanding the attention and concern of big brands and retailers. Read more in this New York Times article.