A Lesson in Personalization From Beauty By Design
As has been written about ad nauseam in this e-newsletter and countless others retail trade publications, personalization is the Holy Grail for retailers. After all, done right, personalization elevates consumers’ lives and promotes engagement by providing products and/or content that tune into and even anticipate the needs of customers. The benefits of personalization to the customer also translate into benefits for the retailer. Some studies show that personalization can increase aggregate e-commerce revenues by 5 percent to 15 percent, while boosting the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 percent to 30 percent.
But there's a reason why personalization is the Holy Grail of retail marketing: it's something that retailers want very much, but it's very hard to get or achieve.
However, I recently learned about a customized skincare solutions company that seems to have personalization down to (ahem) a science. The company is Beauty By Design, and it offers a hyperpersonalized, “prescriptive commerce" platform that gives customized skincare based on a consumer's skin data.
Here's how it works: Consumers sign on to the site, answer a few brief questions about their skin, and then snap a "selfie" and enter the image into the site. After a few minutes, consumers can have an immediate online text consultation with a licensed esthetician about which Beauty By Design skin products — e.g., cleansers, treatments, moisturizers, eye creams — would be best for their skin. To do this, Beauty By Design leverages hundreds of data points using proprietary technology, and marries that data with the guidance of the esthetician to get to know the consumer's skin at a precise level. Then it uses that data to algorithmically match the consumer to the exact right products for her.
“There are very few verticals that have the acute need for a personalized, guided shopping experience like skincare,” said David Weissman, CEO and co-founder of Beauty By Design, and former president of Dermstore, an online beauty and skincare products brand acquired by Target in 2013. “We’ve built a proprietary technology platform that provides a far superior experience to shop for the right products vs. the way skincare products are typically purchased today."
In fact, Weissman said that "more than 70 percent of women report that they're unsure if they're even using the right skincare. Beauty By Design takes the guesswork out of the equation by finding the perfect product selections and combining advanced technology with a one-on-one human evaluation.”
It's clear that Beauty By Design is capitalizing on some white space left in the crowded beauty market. The company has created a solution to personalize consumers’ skincare needs — and it's getting noticed by venture capitalists. Beauty By Design recently closed a $2.2 million seed investment round led by Resolute Ventures and other VC firms, as well as Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group; Terry Boyle, president of NordstromRack.com and HauteLook; and Rob Chesney, former COO of Trunk Club. Proceeds will be used for launch and to scale technology and business operations.
What do you think of the Beauty By Design platform? Does it sound like the Holy Grail of personalization to you? Let me know by leaving a comment below or dropping me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related story: Personalization Key to Kavador's Sparkling Customer Experience
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.