We unpack why brands and retailers like Sephora, Bulldog Skincare For Men, Duolab, BABOR, Shiseido, Walmart, and No7 Beauty Company, succeed in connecting with shoppers on a deeper and more personalized level.
While most beauty brands and retailers have a lot to offer when it comes to products, they don’t always understand exactly what their customers’ intentions and needs are. What a customer wants and what a brand delivers are often at odds. That’s why most consumers complain about overwhelming product options, lack of education and accessibility, inability to hop from one channel to another, and overbearing “buy now” messaging.
Brands and retailers that get personalization right, like Sephora, Bulldog Skincare For Men, Duolab, BABOR, Shiseido, Walmart, and No7 Beauty Company, prove that this doesn’t have to be so.
We unpack why these brands succeed in connecting with shoppers on a deeper and more personalized level.
According to a recent study by the Retail Personalization Index, Sephora came out on top of the list, offering the most personalized customer experience across all channels. The global beauty retailer is known for its pioneering approach to digital and its stellar in-store experiences, delivering the most personalized consumer experience based on data collected from its loyalty program.
By putting customer experience as its top priority across every channel, Sephora learns customers' unique interests and engagement patterns to make interactions as relevant as possible. For instance, consumers can enhance their in-store experience by using a mobile app that combines advanced technology like augmented reality (AR) and personalized, in-app messaging that aligns shoppers' site, mobile, and email content to their behavior.
The vast majority of brands keep forgetting that consumers can quickly feel overwhelmed and confused about finding the right products. This is where brands like Bulldog Skincare are doing a fantastic job educating men along their skincare journey.
In partnership with Revieve, Bulldog Skincare for Men jumped into personalization to help men better care of their skin. Alongside Revieve, they created an experience where men take an online selfie to receive a virtual analysis and product recommendations for their specific issues.
“We felt there was a really great educational opportunity for Bulldog to take the lead in the space and educate men about skincare, the benefits of skincare and what products are for them,” said Lisa Gustafson, the brand manager at Bulldog Skincare for Men, in the interview for Glossy.
“What we are doing with Bulldog is to enable the male audience to access that same level of information, content, and ultimately personalized recommendations about their own skin needs and concerts in a purely digital fashion. We felt that there was a need to provide a new level of personalization to the male audience to address all their concerns and needs in a digital world,” says Sampo Parkkien in the interview for Personal Care Magazine.
Walmart has been making bold moves in riding the retail personalization wave, driving some serious growth initiatives and timely partnerships that are pivotal to their future.
The retailer is perhaps best known for its journey of growth and reinvention, always mastering the omnichannel experience for customers. Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said the retailer is "investing in fulfillment centers and automation" and other initiatives that will enable growth and personalization.”
One of the key strengths of the giant is the ability to champion its leaders to adapt and scale. Walmart has started this year with some hires at the top of its U.S. offices, naming new merchandising and e-commerce chiefs, and announcing the exit of the chief customer officer.
These new talents have already given Walmart a boost in e-commerce. Most importantly, it will enable the largest retailer to compete on all fronts – both online and off – by offering customers a more personalized, higher-performing, and data-driven experience.
“We have more data than nearly everyone in the world. We’re making heavy investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to grow our business. Why? Because we have to,” says Galagher Jeff, Walmart’s VP of Merchandising Operations and Business Analytics.
Novelty is hard to come by within the crowded skincare category and meet all consumers’ needs. But for natural beauty giant L’OCCITANE, all is possible. The beauty brand introduced the Duolab device, harnessing the power of technology to create unique, at-home personalized experiences for their customers.
Duolab’s concept is built upon three pillars: personalized skincare, highly natural and clean ingredients that are preservative-free and efficient, and a freshly blended formula. Customers purchase the device to personalize their skincare daily with individual capsules that can be blended each day at the moment of application. Based on the user’s input, it then mixes a moisturizing base with a targeted concentrate.
This divide is a unique concept representing the beginning of skincare as a fully personalized, blend-it-at-home offering. And as Reinold Geiger, L’OCCITANE Group’s Chief Executive Officer, says: “To continue to prosper, we must constantly innovate, search for new natural ingredients and create original formulations with genuine benefits. Duolab is a groundbreaking skincare system set to revolutionize the cosmetics industry.”
Today, the success of Shiseido is paramount. Shiseido, one of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, isn't relying on its reputation alone for business success. Instead, the 150-year-old Japanese firm keeps disrupting the industry by delivering the most personalized services across the globe. In the past, the brand launched a Digital Consultation Mirror that allows beauty consultants to offer personalized, in-depth counseling. At that time, the system was the first in the Japanese cosmetics industry.
Last year, the brand introduced the first over-the-counter Skin Visualizer. This contact-free device measures and visualizes skin's Beauty Circulation, a concept developed by Shiseido referring to the elements of beauty circulating in the skin, to provide consumers with personalized beauty advice and product recommendations.
To use the Skin Visualizer, consumers sit in front of an in-store mirror, answer a few questions related to their skin type, and take a selfie. The user is provided personalized digital skincare advice based on their skin metrics, which adopts artificial intelligence, expert algorithms, and real-time information, such as the user's location, to determine an overall skin health score.
BABOR has always been customers' best choice due to its more profound understanding of customers' skin needs and ability to serve its customers from anywhere, anytime.
BABOR has a truly unique take on the personalization of skincare. This innovative brand revolutionizes technology, utilizing the latest in the beauty industry to provide the most personalized digital skincare experiences to its customers. Last year, BABOR implemented Revieve's market-leading self-diagnostic digital skincare solution, the AI Skincare Advisor. The solution leverages Revieve's market-leading selfie skin diagnostics.
With Revieve's Digital Skincare Advisor, an AI-powered self-diagnostic solution that analyzes a user's skin and provides personalized recommendations, BABOR customers can discover and gain expert skincare product recommendations from BABOR's skincare products from the comfort of their home.
Today, BABOR is now able to educate its customers on their skin issues and curate customized product discovery through AI, positioning BABOR as the primary key destination for skincare purchases.
No7 Beauty Company
No7 Beauty Company is another excellent example of a brand getting beauty personalization right. No7 has long been consumers' best beauty destination in the UK, offering clinically-proven, scientifically-backed, ground-breaking results. But with an increase in new customers shopping on its website recently, the brand decided to redouble its digital efforts.
This is why beauty brand No7 has made "personalization at scale" a priority, according to Anisha Raghavan, No7 Beauty Company's Chief Marketing Officer. The brand recently worked with Revieve to collect customer skin concerns and combine them with location data to offer product guidance. As a result, critical business metrics, including conversion rates and AOV, jumped after implementation.
In partnership with Revieve, the No7 brand utilizes first-party data – making customer data very accurate and reliable – enabling the brand to understand its customers better. Hence, a cosmetics company could meet scalability challenges and serve its growing customer base.
"It's more important than ever that we provide a personalized brand experience and product offering that enables every customer to shop how they want because growing brands through relevant product differentiation alone aren't enough. Today's consumers don't just buy products; they buy experiences, they are empowered and expect personalization." - Kiran Sandhu - Global Innovation Manager for Skincare, No7 Beauty Company.