Gillette one ups Dollar Shave Club with on-demand razor ordering service where you text to order

Key Points
  • Procter & Gamble and Unilever both are going after a larger slice of the razor market.
  • Gillette's latest service roll-out includes an industry-first on-demand razor purchase option, the company announced Tuesday.
  • Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion in 2016.
Executive Edge: Razor wars
Executive Edge: Razor wars

The battle is heating up between consumer packaged goods conglomerates Procter & Gamble and Unilever, which are both hungry for a larger slice of the razor market.

The latest move comes from P&G's Gillette, which is going after Unilever's Dollar Shave Club by revamping its subscription-based service for shaving razors.

The new service will be named "Gillette on Demand," and it will allow customers to either text for a shipment on demand or subscribe to get every fourth order free.

Gillette's business has been hurt both by popular startups like Dollar Shave Club and Harry's and also by shifting fashion, which has made beards more popular. In its latest earnings report, P&G disclosed that organic sales for its grooming segment fell 6 percent.

Since being acquired by Unilever in 2016, Dollar Shave Club has expanded its product offering beyond razors to include shave "butter," post-shave moisturizer, men's wipes — similar to baby wipes — and a men's hair-styling line. What began largely as a joke has evolved into a billion dollar business.

Founder Michael Dubin once said he got into the business of selling razors because he was tired of paying for disposable products in a market dominated by so few companies, particularly P&G's Gillette brand.

But now Gillette is striking back. With the new service, getting a shipment is as easy as texting "BLADES" to a specific number.

"This new service offers the traditional subscription-only option and an additional flexible on-demand purchase option – with an industry-first re-order process that is as simple as sending a one-word text message," the company said.

The company said it surveyed men to find out what they wanted in a razor, and "ease of ordering" was mentioned time and again.

Gillette said razors ordered through the on-demand service will arrive to customers' doorstep within three business days, and price points will be flexible and "better than the other guys."

Your move, Dollar Shave Club.