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Relevance is the goal: Q+A with Dollar Shave Club VP of Customer Strategy Gloria Synn

Over several years on this website, I have written about Dollar Shave Club’s email marketing and personalization, their Instagram and even their origin story. Do I keep coming back to Dollar Shave Club because of my groupie-like loyalty? Or am I so loyal because the brand does those things so well?

It’s most likely a combination of the two, with customer experience and loyalty feeding off each other. Dollar Shave Club constantly amends its membership experience to keep it that way, something we had the chance to discuss with Gloria Synn, the brand’s Vice President of Customer Strategy.

“The real pain point of going to the store to buy overpriced razors was the foundation of this company. That’s resonant to everyone,” she says. “Once they join the club, what filters brand love and loyalty is everything else. It’s beyond that functional need. Our goal is to have our members feel like we’re like the trusty, knowledgeable friend who helps them feel their best.”

Read on to learn more about Dollar Shave Club’s personalization and why that’s not the goal, where email marketing fits in and what we can expect to see from the company in the future.

ClickZ: We love the quiz Dollar Shave Club gives new members to learn their habits and preferences. Can you tell us more about that?

Gloria Synn: The membership questionnaire is a huge asset for us to inform a more personalized experience. The question is, do the members with the highest propensity take it or do you become more engaged after you take it? Either way, we like the outcome because that’s really rich information members explicitly share with us. We leverage that member profile data to not just inform which products are best for you, but different ways we can help in your day-to-day grooming.

We’re looking to do an overhaul to improve that experience even more. Instead of having members take the quiz in one sitting, we’re asking the right questions at the right time. That will really allow us to get a deeper understanding for a broader set of customers. It’s taking that concept of a membership profile from the questionnaire and infusing it across the whole site experience.

CZ: How does email factor into your personalization?

GS: The reason we’ve been so successful as a brand is, we have such a strong tonality. It’s irreverent and no BS, and people feel like we’re a trusted friend. Email is absolutely a workhorse in that regard.

Coming from other companies, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how engaged members are with our emails. It’s a great way for us to drive awareness, adoption and engagement, whether it’s a new product launching or the member profile. We’re trying to work on expanding our channel strategy for members who aren’t into email, allowing them to engage with us how they want to.

Dollar Shave Club email

CZ: How do you find the right balance between hyper-personalized recommendations and the products Dollar Shave Club wants to highlight?

GS: Everyone’s excited about personalization, but that’s not the goal. Relevance is the goal. If you aspire for all your messages to be hyper-personalized, it will seem very robotic and creepy. We’re definitely not trying to go there.

Say we have a new product that’s launching. We can still make that relevant by leveraging customer intelligence, improving relevance without the use of personalization. If we had a new and improved shampoo formula, we can create a version of that announcement for current purchasers that improves on the version they already love, while also filtering that out for, say, members who are bald.

CZ: Is there a data set that’s surprisingly very valuable?

GS: The acquisition channel is proving to be more valuable because we understand the context of how they joined the club. Then we cater how we onboard them with the right education during the most influential stage in their relationship with us. There’s a magic between the nature and nurture of what drives a highly-valuable customer. The nature part is what kind of customer this action is bringing in. Knowing that context, we know how to onboard and nurture them to create the most valuable and loyal members we can.

CZ: What can we expect to see from Dollar Shave Club in 2019?

GS: We’re working really hard this year to launch a lot more features to help you manage your plan in a more flexible way. Now you can change your frequency. We’ve broken the paradigm of a subscription being monthly. It might sound scary from a CFO’s perspective that we’re allowing members to shift the box cadence, but we want to do the right thing for our members.

Dollar Shave Club

With the calendar function, you can set the date you want your boxes to ship; maybe you’re going on a trip or need to replenish something faster. Now you have that control. We’ve also recently launched our Handsome Discount, which is essentially the more you buy, the more you save on everything in your box. We’re trying to drive more value for our members to make us their one-stop shop for their grooming needs and give them more flexibility for how they manage their plan to drive the highest level of satisfaction.

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