eCommerce subscription examples: Lessons from Dollar Shave Club Subscription Box

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eCommerce subscription examples: Lessons from Dollar Shave Club Subscription Box

Subscription boxes in ecommerce thrive because customers seek the experience and convenience it offers. As an ecommerce provider, when you are looking to set up a subscription box for your customers, there are several advantages to going this route. 

After all, the global subscription ecommerce market in 2022 was valued at $96.61 billion and is expected to grow to $2419.69 billion in 2028

However, whether you are exploring your options to build a subscription box or uncovering strategies to do it well, we are breaking down one of the most successful examples – the Dollar Shave Club subscription box. They are a true pioneer in the industry and their strategies can be implemented by anybody to enhance their business. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is the Dollar Shave Club Subscription box? 

The Dollar Shave Club subscription reshaped the men’s grooming industry. It placed an element of luxury and novelty while retaining the low price. 

The subscription box offers tailors to several needs of men, and now their razors are being marketed to women as well. The box provides a range of grooming products, focusing on razors and shaving needs. A consumer can sign up for the subscription box based on a frequency of their choice, such as 1, 2, 3, or 4 months. Additionally, they provide products such as hair gels, deodorants, skincare and more. 

They are among the prime ecommerce subscription box examples that set a trend and capitalized on it. They reshaped how men’s grooming should look and how it should indeed be a recurring practice, not an afterthought. They create a niche in the market with affordable products that offer quality and convenience. 

What is the success of their subscription box? 

Dollar Shave Club started its journey in 2011. But their real story started in 2012 with a video that can only be termed a marketing genius. They released the video, created with a budget of $4200, and went viral in less than 72 hours. Today the video stands at 28M views! 

The founder of Dollar Shave Club, Michael Dublin, wrote, produced, and starred in the humous video and thus launched their subscription boxes. 

The company’s revenue grew from $4 million in 2012 to $240 million in 2016, with over 3 million subscribers. Later, they were acquired by Unilever for $1 million, all through their subscription boxes. 

The Dollar Shave Club subscription box is a success story that will be remembered for years. Therefore, let’s break down the strategies they used to reach this level of success. 

Strategies employed by the Dollar Shave Club subscription boxes: 

Here is a breakdown of their 14 strategies: 

1. Easy to find the subscription 

With subscription boxes, it is essential to display the subscription option early on when the customers visit the website. It makes it more convenient for them to see the value in it and join the club. 

Dollar Shave Club prioritizes this aspect on its website and makes it easy for customers to sign up. This user-friendly approach helps grab the customer’s attention rather than wait for them to stumble upon the subscription box details along the website. 

This aligns with their customer focus approach that enables a streamlined conversion process and increased accessibility. 

2. They make the subscription boxes customer focused 

Dollar Shave Club subscription boxes can be curated based on the customer’s individual habits and preferences. This is a significant driver for customer satisfaction. 

To do this well, they provide a quiz that customers can answer based on their individual preferences. This quiz-based approach showcases their authority in understanding the male grooming industry. 

  • The quiz walks you through a series of questions based on personal choices for shaving.
  • Then it accesses the type of concerns you might have, for example, if you have sensitive skin or a recurring issue with existing razors
  • Based on responses, Dollar Shave Club recommends a personalized subscription box that is curated for the customer.

Why this works: 

  • When purchasing grooming and skincare products, customers are often worried about the type of products that are right for them, but the quiz solves this problem for them. 
  • The quiz walks them through the entire process and helps create products that further drive loyalty from customers well beyond the initial purchase 

Once customers get a recommendation for their products, they are shown how much money they will save with this kit, immediately conveying the value proposition. They also place the power in the customers’ hands by allowing them to customize the products further. 

3. They give you a detailed subscription box details 

The more information customers have about their products, the more they will be inclined to buy. They don’t want to contact customer care every other day for more information. 

This is why the Dollar Shave Club subscription box has all the details upfront, enabling customers with everything they need. As you can see below, they provide more than just the product details for their Razor subscription. 

  • They tell the customers how long the product is projected to last
  • They provide transparency about removing the product from the subscription at any time which is a relief for customers 
  • They also mention that shipping prices are included 

This transparency enhances the subscriber’s confidence in the company, and they will believe they are getting their money’s worth. 

4. Box frequency choice 

When a customer has chosen their products, it is crucial to allow them to choose how frequently they want the products. A rigid schedule with no room for change drives the customers further away from the purchase. 

That’s why Dollar Shave Club allows customers to choose the delivery frequency making the experience customer-centric. This choice acknowledges the diverse grooming routines and preferences among individuals. 

By accommodating these differences, they are a good subscription box example for integrating the subscription service easily into the subscriber’s life. This helps boost customer satisfaction as well as retention rates. 

5. The subscriptions boxes are easy to redo

Whether a customer is looking at a customized subscription box or has chosen a select few products, allowing them the flexibility to redo and customize is a sign of good customer service. 

Dollar Shave Club allows for hassle-free modification options. They enable customers to retake the quiz and even change subscriptions after initial purchases. This supports the costumes’ changing preferences over time and changes the subscription box as needed. 

This flexibility reduces churn rates, enhances ongoing engagement, and reinforces the brand’s commitment to making the subscription boxes all about the customers.

6. They provide value for money

Dollar Shave Club’s approach to their subscription boxes is spot-on – offering quality and affordability is key to winning over customers. 

They convey this across their website and showcase how customers save money at every instance. 

They establish a sense of value by conveying that subscribers can expect top-notch products at reasonable prices. This value proposition attracts prospective customers and encourages them to sign up, knowing they’ll receive a steady stream of high-quality grooming essentials without breaking the bank.

7. They show testimonials

Dollar Shave Club has a loyal fanbase, and they show it across their platforms. They strategically use customer testimonials and social media interactions to enhance their credibility. 

This is unimportant because, more than the company’s words, potential customers will believe what other customers have to say. The social proof shows customers’ positive association with the brand and builds trust. 

8. They create meaningful  and helpful content

While subscription boxes provide convenience and affordability, they can also be used to curate boxes that address specific issues. 

In this subscription box example by Dollar Shave Club. They provide grooming tips and address concerns like how to shave with acne. This shows their commitment and care towards customers. It shows how they want to provide the best services to the customers and ensure no one is left out of grooming services. 

Such content places them as a trusted source in the men’s grooming industry, enhancing their loyalty and engagement on the subscription boxes. 

9. They advertise the subscription box on social media

Social media is an unignorable tool in today’s marketing landscape, and subscription boxes benefit heavily from it. 

Dollar Shave Club has a well curated social media platform with a mix of humor and information. They advertise the subscription box products regularly on the platforms to engage their audiences and communicate the value proposition. 

They post high-quality images and videos that feature their products as enticing must-have necessities. This approach enhances the brand visibility and attracts new subscribers who engage with them on social media.

10. They are consistently witty – maintaining brand voice and tone 

If you want customers to remember you for a long time and stay relevant, then you have to be memorable. 

Dollar Shave Club’s brand voice and tone are recognizable to anyone who has interacted with them. They have stayed consistent with this brand voice and haven’t deviated since. Their branding is consistent, whether it is the use of relatable language, wit, or humor.

This consistency is across platforms – packaging, branding on walls, and social media posts. You name it, and you will see their unique voice on every platform. 

This is a great example among ecommerce subscription box examples because it helps build customer connections. Such nuances are crucial to have long-standing customer retention and engagement rates. Most long-time customers will stay on because of the unique bond they have with the brand because of such interactions. 

Here is an example of the brand’s messaging – loud and clear and is consistent since their video in 2012. 

Here is an example of their tweet. They don’t shy away from being sassy on social media keeping up with their wit. 

Here are some examples of their packaging. Every one of these is bound to make their target audience smile or at least smirk. 

11. They are renowned for their customer service

Dollar Shave Club recently celebrated 10 years of subscription boxes and made sure to acknowledge their customers and thanked them for the loyalty. 

Engaging customers even after 10 years and celebrating milestones together makes them feel included in the brand’s success. It reflects well on the brand’s customer service and how much they value their customers. 

Here is a tweet from one of their oldest customers, who was delighted with the 10 year celebration. 

12. They provide seasonal discounts and utilize their market well 

Subscription boxes are all about customers and their changing needs. Therefore capitalizing on the changing seasons is also necessary. 

Dollar Shave Club regularly utilizes the different seasons and festivities to showcase different products and discounts. 

Their holiday bundles are great to launch new products, bundle old ones with new and enhance the customer’s holiday experience. 

Additionally, notice how they specify customers to order by 12/15 to receive it by Christmas. While this is a small detail, it creates a sense of urgency among customers and assures their packages will arrive on time. 

13. They show value before subscription

The Dollar Shave subscription boxes are famous and well known, but what if someone wants to buy the products separately?

They provide this option easily as well – making it a good segway for the customers to buy their subscription boxes eventually. Customers don’t have to jump through hoops to either buy products individually or as subscription boxes.

Ease of use is a key aspect in customer service, and they nail it. 

14. They make it easy to subscribe 

While we have addressed how easy it is to buy their bundles and access their products across the website, it is worth noting how easy it is to subscribe. 

When a customer is making a purchase, they can quickly sign up for a one-time purchase or choose to subscribe to a frequency that matches their needs. 

The subscription frequency choices are spanned between 1, 2, 3, and 4 months. It is easy to select, customize and add. 

15. They make unboxing a memorable experience 

Subscription boxes can also feel like a gift from you to you. Receiving that package every month has to be a memorable and pleasant experience. This reinforces the likelihood of recurring purchase. 

The Dollar Shave Club subscription box makes the unboxing experience unique with fun quotes, quality products, and witty remarks. 


Build subscription boxes like the Dollar Shave Club that stand the test of time 

The Dollar Shave Club subscription boxes have consistently done well in the market even after 10 years. This is a testament to their quality of services and also their strategic initiatives to better the subscription boxes. 

Whether it is by showing how to curate the experience, build customer-centric campaigns or understand customers well to earn loyalty, there is a lot to be learnt from their success. 

However, if you also want to build a successful subscription box for your Shopify subscriptions app, the Appstle’s subscription app can help you reach there. 
Install the Appstle Subscription app today or reach out to us for a demo.

About the author

Vanhishikha Bhargava

Vanhishikha Bhargava

Vanhishikha Bhargava is the Content Marketer for Appstle Solutions. You’ll always find her creating content or reading up on the industry with a cup of coffee in hand, which makes her anxious at times! But stay tuned for insightful pieces. Always.

If you are looking to understand more about Appstle Inc’s products and solutions, you can get in touch with us. Our 24x7x365 available experts will be happy to assist you further.

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