King of Shaves targets expansion in the United States

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Shaving

Cosmetics Design USA spoke to King Of Shaves founder and director to find out how this British men’s grooming company is tackling expansion into the US market.

The first step on the ladder to targeting a new market is to get a good distributor, which the company tied up at the end of last year when it signed an agreement with Spectrum Brands, which also distributes Remington electric shavers, a $3bn business.

King explains that Remington expressed the desire to co-brand King Of Shave products with Remington products in the US, which means that the company will be marketing under the name Remington King Of Shaves.

The King Of Shaves team has been proactive in helping to forge the US distribution process, but as part of the partnership, King makes it clear that while the company explains what it thinks will work in the US, ultimately the team listens to what Remington wants.

Will King, founder, King Of Shaves

Targeting a substantial sales increase in the US

“Above all, the distribution agreement has allowed us to substantially increase our sales into mainland USA, in partnership with a company that clearly sells billions of dollars worth of product, compared with our retail sales, of about $30m,”​ said King.

“They are the distributor - they take responsibility for the A&P spend and the market/entry strategy - we simply try to give them what they need, vis-a-vis our success with key retailers in the UK, like Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury.”

The US retail strategy is following a similar line, by targeting the mass market national retailers, but with a specific emphasis on adding value for the consumer.

Walmart and adding value is the strategy

“They launched in 7,500 Walgreens stores in Autumn 2011, and elected to follow a 50 percent 'value' strategy, to ensure the purchaser could buy the King of Shaves - without the competitor cartridge ransom,”​ King told CosmeticsDesign USA.

“It's early days - we're obviously in Gillette & Schick's ‘backyard’ so to speak, but over the coming months, our razor will be rolled out into new retailers, along with us launching a new range for women, called ‘S’, which we'll also be launching in the UK.  The overall US marketing strategy has been driven by the team at Remington, but we hope it will get good traction in the coming months and years.”

There are many differences between the cosmetic and personal care industries in the US and the UK, together with Europe, but when it comes to the men’s grooming category, King expresses his belief that the markets are not that dissimilar.

“There is a strong 'value for money' consumer desire in the USA, but men essentially buy the same arguments/brand propositions there as in the UK,”​ he said.

“In the UK, and to a certain extent, Europe -we're known as the 'Challenger' brand to Gillette; in the USA, we simply need to deliver the 'King of Shaves' (aka the World's Best) in competition with Gillette.  A big ask, but we think that as men's beards are pretty much the same, we should eventually get traction. “

Dollar shave market

King says that ultimately the company is targeting ‘the dollar shave’ market, on account of the fact that Gillette is already such a big and established player in the US, with a raft of new product launches planned for 2013.

“But, in the end - it's down to Remington to settle on a strategy they believe in, and make it happen.”

Will King will be giving a presentation on targeting the men’s cosmetics market for the conference segment at this month’s in-cosmetics event in Barcelona, Spain. For more information, please click here​.

Related topics: Market Trends

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