What I don't understand

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.
MAB
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What I don't understand

Post by MAB » Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:06 am

I need someone with a business background to explain the Fusion to me.

I would say that 75-80% of the guys I know use a Mach 3 and are probably ok with it. Most of the others use an electric. Heck, even the guy who wears a beard uses the Mach 3 to shave his neck. In addition, I hear a lot of complaints about the cost of Mach 3 cartridges.

I'm sure their market research indicated something similar to this. Does Gillette really want to risk alienating all of their customers who already use the Mach 3? Isn't the release of the Fusion a pretty big risk? I doubt many of the guys I know will buy the Fusion; I don't think too many even traded up to the Mach 3 Power.

Why couldn't Gillette have waited awhile before releasing the Fusion? Is the Schick Quattro really a huge threat? Although this is anecdotal, I honestly don't know anybody who has ever used the Quattro.

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baldchin
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Post by baldchin » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:07 pm

The philosophy behind the fusion is the as the philosophy behind the first Gillette safety razor. Make a razor (buy once) to sell blades (buy many times). I believe when I undertook my Business IT course a number of years ago this was referred to as a Loss Leader. This is why Gillette gives away so many razors or cuts the price so dramatically usually very early in a product life-cycle. Who cares about the razor as long as they buy the blades.

The difference in cost to manufacture a 2 blade (or even one blade) cartridge isn't very different to a 3 blade or 5 blade cartridge. The percieved market value - what people are prepared to pay for a supposedly superior system increases often exponentionally, while the cost to manufacture generally falls as manufacturing technology improves. The new features give the advertisers something to tout even if the science falls short. So this gives Gillette something to sell at increased profits. Maintains their visibility in the market and their reputation for innovation (whether deserved or not).

So a new product from Gillette will appear periodically without fail. It has to just to maintain market visibility and hence market share.

I haven't even mentioned the Early Adopter...
Will

If it's smokin' it's cookin', when it's black it's done.

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:23 pm

On one episode of the Addam's Family, Gomez was trying to raise a large amount of money to finance a family space trip.

His answer was to invent something that cost a dime to make, sells for a dollar, and is habit forming.

Scott

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:31 pm

By this time understanding Gillette doesn't require a business degree, just a little bit of history.

Every time competition starts cutting into their business they come up with a new system that's not backwardly compatible. The system is touted as the best thing ever and the shaving public jumps at it. The razors are initially sold at disout so they can kill you on the cartridges, which are constantly getting more expensive.

They don't worry about alienating anyone because they know the market will follow them.
Joe

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rustyblade
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Post by rustyblade » Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:00 pm

Joe Lerch wrote:By this time understanding Gillette doesn't require a business degree, just a little bit of history.

Every time competition starts cutting into their business they come up with a new system that's not backwardly compatible. The system is touted as the best thing ever and the shaving public jumps at it. The razors are initially sold at disout so they can kill you on the cartridges, which are constantly getting more expensive.

They don't worry about alienating anyone because they know the market will follow them.
I just can't even fathom what the next generation will bring. Even worse, what will be Schick's answer to the fusion? My face hurts thinking about it.
Richard

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Post by dirtdude » Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:57 pm

I am certainly not disagreeing with anyone's opinion on the motivations of Gillette. However, what is happening here is a little more basic than just market share. The real battle is taking place at the point of purchase.

Gillette is trying to maintain or expand its shelf space with the major retailers that carry their products. The purpose of all new products is to capture shelf space. If the product is not on the shelf, all the advertising in the world will not help.

Sometimes this new product explosion does not work. I have noticed that many retailers just drop an old product line, for instance, Atra blades, when the product lines becomes too expansive. Does anybody really need low-carb beer? Its introduction was just a way to appeal to the Atkins diet followers and capture or maintain shelf space.

Most of this marketing does not influence the typical member of this forum. We do not normally buy our shaving products from major retailers such as Target or Wal-Mart and we are not influenced much by advertising of shaving products. We have definite tastes and we are not going to purchase a shaving product just because it is available from Wal-Mart.

I don't mean to take an elitist attitude, but the members of this forum are more thoughtful in their purchases of shaving products than the typical consumer. Some members will buy the new razor. But I don't think any member of this forum will buy it just because it is the latest and greatest from Gillette and Wal-Mart had a huge amount of shelf space for the razor.
Dennis

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Englishman
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Post by Englishman » Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:19 pm

rustyblade wrote:I just can't even fathom what the next generation will bring. Even worse, what will be Schick's answer to the fusion? My face hurts thinking about it.

Never fear Rusty... Gillette already has a plan to beat Schick at their own game..


Image


:shock: Cheers,
Rico.
~ Rico ~

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DEF
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Post by DEF » Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:23 pm

I think it's smart to try to "bookend" the competition. That is, by offering the mostest blades in a cartridge, you're sure to hook the customer segment that is simply looking for the biggest and baddest. On the other end of the spectrum, Gillette is pretty well anchored with the M3 and even with the Sensor products for the twin-blade shavers. In a world offering one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-blade razors, what is the market position of the four-bladed razor? It's neither here nor there. In introducing the Fusion, Gillette knocked Schick off the box, which in marketing is the name of the game.

As for the damage that Fusion might do to the existing Gillette customer base -- I think it's negligible. Consumers who are happy where they are will stay there, and those wanting to upgrade will give it a try. In marketing terms, introducing a product or using a distribution channel that undermines your existing sales is called "cannibalizing" your sales. I don't see much risk of cannibalization here.

I had a Fusion in my shopping basket the other night and actually went back to put it back on the shelf. They've lost me with the pricing on the cartridges. Give me 50 Feather blades, and I'll be happy for many months.

(PS: I'm both a shave geek and a 2nd year MBA student.)
Doug

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Pauldog
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Post by Pauldog » Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:52 pm

What's interesting is that the original metal version of the Atra does well on eBay, selling for about $25 or more for a new one. Of course, it helps that Gillette replaced it with a plasticky version, and there are few sellers of the metal one.

When my local grocery chain was selling them for $3, I loaded up on Sensor Excel razors, figuring that they would do all right if the Fusion made them get discontinued. I'll probably have to wait a while, though.

Too bad I can't find a source of adjustable injector razors.

I don't think Schick will answer the Fusion with an injector revival, but they could do a LOT worse.

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Post by bernards66 » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:46 pm

Doug, Well, there is one potential danger they face though. That is, that millions of guys do what you did the other night. If a high percentage of M3 users refuse to switch, the Fusion is ultimately a loser. The high cost of 'development', the massive advertising outlay, the costs of setting up, or retooling their manufacturing facilities, etc. have to be covered and to some extent maintained. If most just continue to use the M3, they're out some of that money. Then the humiliation of having to withdraw it from the market. And just because this scenario has not happened in the past, does not automatically mean that it couldn't/won't happen this time. It's a least possible that they peaked with the M3, and have now over reached themselves. As was pointed out in the initial post in this thread, an awful lot of guys are already unhappy with the price of the cartridges, and just maybe, will not be willing to pay more still. Does anyone know if the M3P was really a significent success? Are the Quattros doing well? I really don't know, but I wonder.
Regards,
Gordon

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Post by Prairie » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:18 pm

The Fusion is HUGE.

I'm working on acquiring one so I can get a review and let you guys know what I think about it.

MAB
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cartridge costs

Post by MAB » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:01 am

Again, I think the price of Fusion cartridges is a little outrageous. I just don't see the average consumer being happy with those prices. I have heard several people complain about the cost of Mach 3 Turbo cartridges. What a lot of people do is just not replace the cartridge for over a month or even longer. Of course, the disclaimer here is that "average consumer" to me right now is college students, so perhaps the actual average consumer won't mind the price of cartridges.

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Sam
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Post by Sam » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:11 am

just think of getting it stuck to you twice: the lack of a better shave and then the higher cost of getting that less than better shave.

i have the old M3t handle and about two of the cartridges i was sent. i wanted to see if, after about 18 months of DE shaving, that the M3turbo cut as close or closer or if any techniques i learned from DE shaving translated to the mach 3. well it did not. occassionally ill take it out and use it to trim neck hair, but really, when i get the SMF swap box, in goes the mach 3 turbo handle and cartridges. i can use the slant bar to shave the neck.

sam

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:58 am

bernards66 wrote:If most just continue to use the M3, they're out some of that money. Then the humiliation of having to withdraw it from the market. And just because this scenario has not happened in the past, does not automatically mean that it couldn't/won't happen this time. It's a least possible that they peaked with the M3
I think their track record in terms of financial success speaks for itself. If sales resistance becomes a problem, they just need to reduce the price. Eventually, they'll find a price where people will buy.

I've used the motorized Fusion once and my initial impression is that they've got a real winner here, an improvement over the M3P. Not only does it give a great shave with no skill, but they've overcome the problem I've always had with pivoting head razors that you can't get the angle control to get a really close shave.

I'm withholding my judgment, though, until I finish using it for a week.
Joe

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rustyblade
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Post by rustyblade » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:23 am

I was looking at a Fusion in the store and to me, the "blade array" looks really cheap and unsafe. There is so many spot weld tacks holding it together, it looks awful. The size of the cartridge itself and the handle are too large.

No doubt the Fusion will be a success with guys because its the equivalent of "Its got a HEMI."
Richard

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:31 am

rustyblade wrote:I was looking at a Fusion in the store and to me, the "blade array" looks really cheap and unsafe. There is so many spot weld tacks holding it together, it looks awful. The size of the cartridge itself and the handle are too large.
That's why I got one to try. It's the only way to know. I don't think I will ever switch to it.

As for what Chris says, you can sneer all you want, but it may very well be an option for guys who don't want to learn technique. Since they would become wet shavers nonetheless, and they may eventually adopt what we do, we should welcome them here and not ridicule their present shaving choice, if we haven't tried it. From what I can tell so far, it should be taken seriously.
Joe

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Post by Prairie » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:49 am

drmoss_ca wrote:
Prairie wrote:The Fusion is HUGE.

I'm working on acquiring one so I can get a review and let you guys know what I think about it.
If you mean its physical dimensions, we won't argue. But if you mean its importance in our lives please forgive the laughter and rude gestures.

Chris
I meant that, if I were to shave with the fusion, it would be reminscent of a potato masher on my skin. :)

Image

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Joe Lerch
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Post by Joe Lerch » Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:12 am

Prairie wrote:I meant that, if I were to shave with the fusion, it would be reminscent of a potato masher on my skin.
I'm not sure I understand its structure. maybe I will as I use it. The blade prtion itself doesn't seem larger than the M3. Then there's that big rubber piece at the bottom.
Joe

Prairie
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Post by Prairie » Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:28 am

I just picked up my weekly supply of vegetables from the local grocery store and stopped down the shaving aisle to take a look at the Fusion.

I'm still baffled at to why the cartridges are so expensive. Crazy.

As I was standing looking at it, an older gentleman in his 70's came by and picked one up and threw it in his cart. Ack! Why sir, why?

In other news, Personna DE Blades were on sale...so I did pick some up. :)

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DEF
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Post by DEF » Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:57 am

bernards66 wrote:Doug, Well, there is one potential danger they face though. That is, that millions of guys do what you did the other night. If a high percentage of M3 users refuse to switch, the Fusion is ultimately a loser. [...]
Gordon --

You're exactly right. The one upsmanship will continue until one of the players hits the wall. It's a matter of balancing the risk of failure against the known fact that you currently don't occupy the top slot (in terms of blade count).

This is basically the marketing equivalent of blackjack, with each company yelling "Hit me!" We'll see who busts. I admire Gillette for their M3 play way back when, so I hope they don't get too bruised by the blade war.
Doug

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