What the Beauty Industry Can Teach Ecommerce Brands About Personalization - SoDA - The Digital Society

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What the Beauty Industry Can Teach Ecommerce Brands About Personalization

by Chris Haines, Fluid / December 4, 2013

Note: This blog entry is available in English only.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”  – Confucius

As a man, beauty has always been something of a mystery to me.  I’m not talking about physical beauty, or even beauty as a concept. I mean Beauty with a capital B, as in the retail category usually found next to Fragrance, before you get to Intimates and Apparel.

Gender matters here because Beauty is highly personal and because its component parts are supposed to be invisible—or at least mysterious—as far as men are concerned. I doubt that many guys, aside from beauty professionals, have any clue how concealer differs from bronzer or what luminizer or foundation even do.

But as a digital strategist, I know data, and there is no consumer category that can match the, well, beauty of the data that comes naturally to this vertical—particularly as a driver for personalizing digital shopping.

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.”  – Khalil Gibran

Everyone in the e-commerce space is talking about personalization—how to tailor each digital shopping experience for every customer to feel it’s been designed exclusively for them. To create these customized experiences, brands must elicit as much personal information as possible, as seamlessly as possible, without overstepping the shopper’s patience or privacy concerns.

Extracting personal opinions and information is no easy feat for most retail brands, but with Beauty, every click of the customer’s mouse or tap of the thumb adds another level of data to her profile. As SephoraLancome and many others have illustrated, choosing a foundation to match one’s skin tone establishes a path to personalization where only products that match the shopper’s facial features are presented for purchase.  Eliminating large swaths of irrelevant product makes the shopping experience cleaner, clearer, simpler and faster. And now Amazon is getting into the Beauty game with the launch of its new Luxury Beauty channel that matches content with product.

Talk about the marriage of art and science…

Granted, Beauty powers personalization so well because makeup is divided into so many interrelated components with highly specific tagging. But why can’t other verticals take a page from Beauty’s book? For instance, everyone knows that tropical plants won’t survive in a desert landscape, or that a French country range hood will look terrible in a modern kitchen, yet these products continue to appear side-by-side on shopping sites unless the customer filters them out.

To win the personalization game, brands need to follow Beauty’s example.

  • Treat each product like it is the only one of its kind.
  • Give it a unique name, spell out its individual value, and affiliate it with—or separate it from—other products.

A little care and feeding of product descriptions can go a long way toward a personalized shopping experience. Give your products the attention they deserve and your e-comm experience will be a thing of beauty.

And a joy forever.

The original post can be found here where comments are welcome.

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