Mar 21 2019

6 Beauty Brands That Use Questionnaires to Create a Personalized Experience

We’re way past simply putting products in front of consumers and crossing our fingers that they will choose our product over a competitor. It’s all about providing personalized, relevant shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve loyalty. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences, according to a recent study.

Personalization requires a large database of customer insights and individual profiles. You could spend months tracking shopper behavior and gathering data and analytics to personalize the experience. Or, you could simply ask customers what problem they are looking to solve. For new digitally native brands and legacy retailers alike, questionnaires provide a treasure trove of customer information.

Health and beauty brands have been at the forefront of innovation and technology adaption both in online and offline channels, including customer questionnaires. From skincare and haircare to curated merchandise, we identified six brands using questionnaires to create personalized consumer experiences.

1. Jack Black

Jack Black started their luxurious skincare line for men almost 19 years ago and needed a user experience that lived up to its reputation. They lacked physical locations to offer one-on-one personalized interactions between customers and associates. To emulate this experience online, Jack Black and Blue Acorn worked together to develop a Regimen Builder.

The Regimen Builder allows shoppers to answer a series of questions about their skin type, skin concern, shaving habits, and shave concerns. Once the customer submits their answers, Jack Black immediately provides a customized skincare routine. To avoid overwhelming the user with recommendations, the beauty brand only makes two suggestions for each category (skin and shave). At any time, the customer can start the quiz over and adjust their answers.

The quiz is perfect for men new to the Jack Black brand or new to skincare. With the data from the Regimen Builder, Jack Black can inform future product ideas, enhance current items, and personalize the content, messaging, and marketing campaigns for the customer.

2. Neutrogena MaskiD

Earlier this year, Neutrogena unveiled its MaskiD at the Consumer Electronics Show. MaskiD is a 3D-printed face mask that’s customized in ingredients and face shape. This latest (not yet released) beauty innovation combines personalization and technology to align the mask with a customer’s specific skin concern areas based on a series of questions.

To use the new tool, you first take a selfie in the MaskiD app. The app analyzes the selfie to determine your unique face shape. If you have the Neutrogena Skin360 magnifying camera that sits on top of your current smartphone camera, you would use this to scan pores, skin lines, and skin moisture levels. The results from the scan will sync with the app to generate a personalized mask. For those that don’t want to buy the extra device, the app will present a skin questionnaire to give you custom recommendations. In either scenario, shoppers can adjust ingredients in each target area.

Once the user is happy with their face mask, they submit it through the app and Neutrogena ships it directly to their door. In the future, Neutrogena can cross-sell other products, including skincare and cosmetics, to customers who use the app based on their exact skin concerns.

3. Prose Beauty

Prose only sells three products: hair masks, hair conditioner, and shampoo. Each product is customized based on the results of their Prose consultation. Customers have two options to determine their unique scalp and hair needs: take the online consultation or visit a nearby Prose stylist.

The online consultation is a series of question to narrow down the exact formula needed for the user’s needs. The questions cover hair & scalp characteristics (thickness, texture, length, etc.), treatment & styling, lifestyle & environment, preferences & fragrance, and hair goals. This is one of the few beauty brand questionnaires we’ve seen that take environmental factors into consideration when customizing a product. Based on the customer’s zip code, Prose knows the humidity, pollution, and hard water factor in the individual’s specific location.

After submitting the results, Prose formulates the ideal hair mask, conditioner, and shampoo for the shopper. With over 80 natural ingredients, Prose states they have over 35,000 possible formulations. The user has the option to read about each ingredient and what it’s used for (i.e., honey acts as a conditioning agent) before completing the purchase. Prose offers a subscription program that allows shoppers to choose a delivery frequency and credit card charge date.

4. Birchbox

Birchbox encompasses all the things consumers look for in a subscription box: personalization, surprise, and convenience. Rather than personalized products, Birchbox personalizes the merchandising in each monthly delivery. As part of the sign-up process, Birchbox requires all new subscribers to take a beauty quiz. The beauty retailer uses this data to determine what type of products to provide the consumer.

The monthly boxes include beauty samples that cater to the subscriber’s exact profile and wants, such as skin and hair type, experience level with makeup, and lifestyle. Inside the box, Birchbox includes a one-pager that describes all the item in the box and how to use them. Which products the team chooses to include in the box are a complete surprise, giving the customer something to look forward to every month.

Their boxes are also beautifully designed, worthy of an Instagram post or unboxing video. If the customers decide to purchase a full-size version of the samples in their monthly box, they get free shipping.

5. Living Proof

Living Proof, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, partnered with Blue Acorn to develop a one-of-a-kind Haircare Quiz. On the Living Proof homepage, customers will find the Haircare Quiz to discover their personalized regimen.

The quiz asks shoppers questions about their hair drying routine, what they look for in hair products, what type of hair texture they have, and their go-to hairstyle. For each answer the customer provides, Living Proof recommends a relevant product.  For example, if a customer said their biggest hair concern is frizz, Living Proof will recommend their No Frizz Conditioner and a blurb about how to use it. But, before the customer can view their custom product recommendation, Living Proof requests the shopper’s name, email, and age.

The Haircare Quiz is a win-win for both the shoppers and the beauty brand. The user receives personalized recommendations specifically for their unique hair needs. And, Living Proof knows their hair type and what they look for in products—enabling them to send customers targeted marketing campaigns and create personalized experiences on the site.

6. Sephora

When shopping online, it’s difficult to find the perfect skin tone match or lipstick shade without being able to test various shades. Sephora makes it easier with its Color IQ tool. Customers are prompted to choose a makeup brand they’ve previously used from a drop-down list. On the next page, the shopper must choose a product from that brand and which shade of that item they typically use.

The results reveal a Color IQ number that can be used online or in-store to find the precise shade of foundation, concealer, or lipstick. Additionally, shoppers can see a curated list of products that best match their skin undertones. If a customer lands on a product display page, they will find a link to the Color IQ page to confirm their choice in shade before committing to a purchase.

The color match tool makes shoppers feel more confident in their purchases and more confident in their own skin. In less than 30 seconds, customers receive an accurate ID to find the right products, reducing the friction in the online and in-store customer journey.

To learn more about the modern beauty consumer, what matters to them, and how they think when making beauty purchases, download our Beauty Ecommerce Report here.

Shannon Kenneally

Content Writer

After graduating from Clemson, Shannon started her career in marketing, focusing on content creation and engagement. As Blue Acorn’s Content Writer, she keeps clients and customers up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the ecommerce world. In her free time, she enjoys running with her dog and checking out the local breweries in Charleston.

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