Combined into a 220-page full-color Paperback or PDF: All 11 reports, including this one, have been updated with new observations, image galleries, brand and keyword indexes.
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Featured in this report:
01 - Overview
Our observations include some of the brands and categories shown above.
02 - Environment
The images above were taken at supermarkets and drugstores in the New York metropolitan area. Typically, the razor section is divided between men's and women's and organized by price, with higher priced razors at eye level (or sometimes in locked display cases) and disposables down towards the bottom.
03 - Color: Blue & Pink Dominate
The image on top is a lineup of major brands organized by color (ROYGBV). The dominant color range is from blue-green to blue-violet, with a significant amount of presence in the pink range. The two bottom images illustrate typical color distribution. The image on the right is a blurred version of the one on the left, demonstrating the overall effect color has on the shopping experience.
Opportunity for differentiation exists in yellow, orange, and green. We'd focus on the brighter, cleaner, more energetic side of those colors to help lift the product away from the pegboard system and to further separate the product from the somewhat predictable blues and pinks that currently dominate the category.
04 - Structure Reflects Quality
High end refillable razors (top) are typically sold inidividually in unique blister packs or elaborate clam shells, calling attention to the longer lasting, higher quality nature of the product. Midlevel disposables (middle) are sold in smaller quantities either in cardboard wraps or simpler blister card packages which borrow design cues from their more expensive siblings. Price conscious and bulk disposables are typically sold in bags thrown into bins at the bottom of the shelf. A lucky few are promoted to hangers where they can be seen.
Packaging materials can say a lot about the expected quality of a product. Put it in a cheap bag and the expectation may likely be that the product inside is cheap, too. Borrow structural cues from higher price points to lift the perceived quality of the entire line. And question how the customer will store the package before the products inside are used. Is there a way to make a handsome package and a storage container in one?
05 - Shaving Is: Abstract
Flowing lines, feminine shapes, and bursts are common design elements in women's razors. Actually, there isn't a single image of a woman or of a woman shaving to be found. The burden rests largely on the power of abstraction to catch the customer's eye and describe the emotional aspects of the product.
Abstract imagery has the ability to suggest and describe without actually depicting anything. The ones that do it best use shapes that tie in with the emotional aspects of the product and make such imagery an integral part of the brand, reinforcing the connections people make with the brand over time.
06 - Shaving Is: Metallic
Metallic foils and sharp, curvy lines are common through the category.
The use of metallic foils and sharp lines are useful devices that help describe key aspects of the product. After all, razor blades are precariously sharp slivers of highly crafted metal - the sharper and more precise, the better. It's important to strike a balance between communicating the precision of the product without implying any danger.
07 - How Many of What?
The number of blades on a razor is an important differentiator. Some choose to play it up with large typographic treatments or incorporate the number into the brand mark itself (Venus, center left). The number of cartridges that come in the package is usually indicated in the bottom corner of the package.
If the number of blades is a significant differentiator, it makes sense to feature it prominently. The ones that do it best use distinctive, brand-sensitive type treatments that also say something about the shaving experience or the quality of the blades.
08 - Form vs. Function
The degree to which packaging focuses on the visual and tactile presence of the object (form) versus what the object does and how (function) varies widely in razors. On the left is Gillette's Venus, the quintessential representative of form. On the right is Schick's Intuition, the perfect example of function.The presentation on the left is extremely clear, featuring the object as a thing of beauty - fitting for a product called Venus. The presentation on the right is busier, obscuring the product with information points. Which one would you pick up first?
Form almost always trumps function when shelf impact and brand presence is critical. Consider using the back and/or side panels for supporting information and focus the power of your branding on the side that matters most - the front (e.g. the one your customer sees first!).
09 - Close-ups & Diagrams
Virtually every product in the category includes a close-up illustration or photo of the razor head highlighting the finer details. Many include diagrams of the product on the back of the package along with instructions about how to replace the blades.
Razors are a precision-made product with subtleties that are often difficult to see at actual size. Well executed illustrations with clear, simple language help the customer understand the minute details that make one razor different from another. Be sure to use an illustration style or approach to photography that's consistent with the whole brand expression.
10 - Product Visibility
Clear plastic clamshells (Noxzema, left) provide an open view of the product, the cradle, and any replacement blades that come with it. Gillette (top right) embeds magnifying bubbles into their Venus packages, giving the customer a better view of the razor head. Bic Comfort 3 razors (bottom right) have a window on the back of the package that lets one of the 3-blade heads show through.
The devices above all help the customer understand the product better. If there's something good in there, don't hide it. Show it off in a surprising way that provides an intriguing experience for the customer.
11 - Something Different
Bic Soleil Twilights (left) have lavender scented handles, adding another dimension to the shaving experience. Noxzema Bikinis (top right) are specifically designed to shave sensitive areas. The Schick Intuition (bottom right) saves time by simultaneously lathering and shaving.
The razor category is increasingly competitive. New twists and turns add dimension, interest, and value for the consumer.