Can Sustainability Win More Razor Customers?

Schick product managers have a plan to win more customers
Schick product managers have a plan to win more customers
Image Credit: Tom Fassbender

So just exactly how much time do you spend each day thinking about shaving? If you are like the majority of people, probably very little. What’s even worse, from a shaving product manager’s point-of-view is that we probably spend even less time thinking about the equipment that we use to shave with. Over at Schick their product managers want us to start spending some more time thinking about how we are going about this whole shaving thing. They think that they might have come up with a winning idea.

What Is A Sustainable Razer?

The product managers who are responsible for Schick’s new disposable razor for men and women have made and packaged it to appeal to its sustainability conscious customers. How are they planning on going about doing this? It turns out that the razor’s handle is made of 70% renewable bamboo and 30% other materials. The packaging is partly recyclable, with the paper used in its design certified as being recycled material. This product is the Schick product manager’s first effort at giving consumers an environmentally friendly option for a disposable razor.

The product managers believe that it is a matter of recognizing trends and taking the time to develop their product in a way that they feel that consumers are likely to adopt. The product managers have set a series of goals to become more sustainable by 2030, with targets including making 100% of its plastic packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable. These product managers are also in a crowd of consumer-goods product managers who are trying to make existing products more appealing to their environmentally minded shoppers. An example of this happened over at Unilever PLC last year where their product managers said that they wanted to introduce carbon-footprint details for all their products. At the same time other companies are starting to use carbon-neutral products to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The Schick product managers realize that in order to build consumer trust, their brand has to demonstrate transparency and authenticity. Providing evidence of responsibly sourced materials, reducing their amount of packaging, and removing any toxic or environmentally damaging ingredients are high on the list of desired product characteristics for today’s educated consumer. Still, there are challenges for product managers, including determining whether and when their consumers will be willing to bear any extra costs. 63% of global consumers have made modest changes to their behavior in order to become more sustainable. However, 66% said they are not willing to pay more for sustainable products or services.

Do Consumers Care About Sustainable Razers?

Product managers need to realize that disposable products might seem like unlikely candidates to have a halo of sustainability. Product managers have to focus on encouraging consumers to use long-lasting products, as opposed to creating more disposable items. The amount of money that brands Schick are going to put into marketing the sustainable products could instead be spent to educate people on the benefits of refillable systems.

The Schick product managers believe that their disposable razor is for environmentally conscious consumers who aren’t willing to make a commitment to a more expensive, longer-lasting product or prefer to use disposable razors when they travel. The thinking is that it gives customers an option and gives them a choice. It enables them really to not sacrifice on that experience that they’re used to. The best feature of this product is that it is a very low-effort way for customers to do something more environmentally conscious.

Product managers at bigger consumer goods conglomerates tend to move more slowly than startups. However, they are paying attention and finding ways to innovate. Right now there’s no brand today that has an entirely single-use plastic footprint whose product managers aren’t thinking about the implications for long-term strategy around getting into recycled plastic and reusable products. It is a major concern for everyone.

What All Of This Means For You

If there is one thing that most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, it’s how we shave. However, perhaps we should. The product managers over at Schick have decided that if they go to the effort of making an environmentally sensitive razer, they just might be able to get a new set of customers to buy it. The question is just exactly how are they going to go about doing this?

The Schick product managers have created a new disposable razor for men and women that has a handle that is made of 70% renewable bamboo and 30% other materials. Its packaging is partly recyclable. There is currently a crowd of consumer-goods product managers who are trying to make existing products more appealing to their environmentally minded shoppers. The product managers know that their brand has to demonstrate transparency and authenticity. They have to determine if customers are willing to pay to be sustainable. The alternative is that the product managers could be helping their customers to understand how products could be refilled. The goal is to give their customers options. Moving in this direction is something that everyone is doing.

The Schick product managers are right to have started to create a disposable product that is made out of recycled products. Their customers are concerned about creating more pollution and they may be drawn to this new product. The challenge that the product managers are going to have is to find a way to get their customers to agree that being sustainable is worth the extra cost. If they can accomplish this, then they just might have a winner on their hands…

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: How can the Schick product managers convince customers to buy disposable razors instead of refillable razors?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Product Manager Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How do you feel about using your computer? If you are like most of us, you can accomplish most things: sending email, attending a Zoom meeting, making a doctor’s appointment, etc. However, doing many of these things can be a challenge for older computer users. They can do them, they just need somebody who knows how to do it to show them how to perform different tasks. As the number of senior computer users continues to grow, this is opening a brand-new market that product managers are trying to determine how best to fill.