In the world of health and beauty, it seems one term is the be all and end all for 2022 - hyper personalisation. A process that began in the early 10’s with an emergence within the cosmetics industry of the understanding that the only way to truly develop a wide breadth of consumer profile was to offer an increasingly diverse range of products.
Fast forward to 2017 and some of the largest cosmetics manufacturers in the world were creating mobile apps specifically designed to show this off, using what we would consider today quite rudimentary AR. L’Oreal was the trendsetter at this time with the launch of their ‘virtual try on app’, which gave users the ability to mix and match makeup combinations, hair colours and treatments all without opening a bottle, flicking the lid on a palette or taking their credit card out of their wallet.
Technology has come a long way since then, with rapid changes in the accessibility of now commonplace technologies such as AR, VR and machine learning, cosmetic companies are once again poised to be trailblazers in showing off commercially viable and enthusiastic ventures into the latest the tech world has to offer.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the diverse ways in which the cosmetic industry is offering increasingly hyper personalised experiences to their consumers.
In the world of on demand formula adaptation, just about everything can be fully customised in order to meet the consumer’s needs. Traditionally, the process for gaining access to personalised beauty advice was a costly process, in addition to which the accessibility of these services often left the everyday customer with little to go on but the articles they read in Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health or Glamour, and at the very least a call from their local Avon representative.
But times have changed, and the dawn of AI, sophisticated web technology and the proliferation of social media has led to everyday consumers looking for more from their favourite brands - a truly unique formula, adapted for their individual requirements.
In this area, there are a few key companies leading the way for access to hyper personalised formulas both topical and ingestible. Function of Beauty offers customers the ability to create their own haircare and skincare products, including the ingredients, colour, and fragrance, and health firm Vitl offers customised vitamin regimens and dietary guidance. In fact, Vitl takes personalisation a step further by offering DNA analysis to suggest accurate supplement combinations, a service which has perhaps in part been made increasingly popular by consumers' willingness to give up more of their data in order to achieve ultimate personalisation.
Deep learning has become the new buzz word across a myriad of industries, from consumables to airlines. But deep learning could have an altogether new impact on beauty and wellness since it increases client involvement in the creation of new goods. Take Olay for example. In 2016, they launched their Skin Advisor tool on their website, giving consumers the chance to get personalised skincare advice and suggestions based on their responses to a brief questionnaire. Through this method, Olay gathered millions of data points that shaped their product development and allowed them to better serve consumers' needs, as opposed to those generated from their own assumptions.
With deep learning in their pockets, consumers can anticipate better product recommendations from their favourite brands as more brands give their customers the chance to participate in questionnaires, surveys, and virtual analysis.
It's not just the online buying experience that is going through an overhaul for the health and beauty industry, highstreet locations are also seeing changes as they look to re-engage consumers and bring them back through the doors of their flagship and regional stores.
The two-pronged approach to in store experience is fueling the implementation of iPad kiosks, QR codes that offer personalised mobile brand encounters. Take the typical user journey for a customer moving through a store and purchasing a product. Here, we can surmise that there are two kinds of customers, those who know precisely what they are looking for, and where to find it, and ‘browsers’.
When the former of the two enters the store, there is little room for intervention to show off new products whilst they act out their journey through to picking up the product and checking out. Sure, they might stop by an exciting new display, or wander up an aisle accidentally and be introduced to a new line of products, however there is little opportunity in this space to engage with a determined customer, and sometimes when customers are faced with interruption to their journey, it can be met with disregard. However, if brands were to replace the interruption in their journey with something more equitable to a ‘suggestion’, brands could see higher engagement rates across products not currently in the buyer’s preference list.
Take Birchbox for example, while their customers are used to the idea of subscription based services, they made the move to opening a bricks and mortar store. Why? Because evidence suggests even the most steadfast online shoppers love to browse. But how do you introduce product browsing for a predominantly online store? The ingenious solution lay in iPad Kiosks. These are placed around the store and offer customers all kinds of great information from ‘how to’ videos for certain styles and additional product lines customers may be interested in based on their previous purchases.
These small interventions offer a great alternative to traditional points of contact for customers within traditional store settings, further brand accessibility and engagement.
User habits are constantly evolving, and hyper personalisation in whichever form it comes, be it in store, online or within business’ back offices can have a huge impact on how well brands adapt to them. Everyone has a desire to feel special, and if you’re able to offer your consumers a truly unique experience within your brand, you’re already a good way there to not only gaining new customers, but showing your current customers just how special they are to you.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can implement hyper personalised experiences within your brand, we’re always here to help. Drop us an email or give us a call.