Customization is the Expectation
I like my things a certain way. I order a Grande Iced Caramel Latte with extra caramel at Starbucks; I jump at the opportunity to choose products that I’ll receive in my FabFitFun subscription box; and I appreciate that my social media platforms keep me informed of events happening around me. Customization influences my shopping decisions, and I’m not alone in this. Today’s consumers demand the ability to control the types of products they purchase, and how they interact with them.
While customization is not particularly new to the makeup category, recent initiatives have proven that this trend is ramping up. Customization is core to Bite Beauty’s Lip Lab, which offers customers the ability to make a custom lipstick or lip gloss in store and experience the production firsthand. While the first Lab opened in New York City in 2013 as a temporary establishment, its popularity with consumers resulted in the Lip Lab becoming permanent. Bite Beauty’s Lip Lab has since expanded to two locations in California (Santa Clara and San Francisco) and Toronto as well – a testament to the consumer desire for customized product offerings.
Another testament to the trend is Shiseido’s recent acquisition of MatchCo, a California-based startup that developed a mobile app that scans users’ skin and creates individualized shades of foundation. Customization capabilities factored into the acquisition, according to a Fortune article, as Shiseido CEO Masahiko Uotani remarked that the acquisition would enable the company to “offer more value to its customers through accelerated innovation in rapidly evolving digital tools and customized products.”* As another example, Lancôme recently launched their Le Teint Particulier foundation in select Nordstrom stores, allowing customers the ability to purchase a personalized and custom-blended foundation in the shade that matches their skin perfectly and retails for $80. This custom foundation is packaged in a bottle with the customer’s name on it, as well as a unique complexion ID that allows for easy replenishment. A search on YouTube for reviews on the foundation returns over 1,800 reviews, including those done by influencers Jeffree Star and Jackie Aina.
While makeup continues to lead the pack as the fastest growing prestige beauty category, slowed growth in dollar volume and average price indicate an opportunity for innovation.** Brands can leverage capabilities to offer consumers customized product offerings that fit perfectly into their makeup routines and lifestyles. Coupling this offering with an in-store experience further strengthens the appeal of brick-and-mortar to consumers as well. Overall, pursuing a customization strategy would enable brands to capture part of the innovation pie while remaining relevant with consumer expectations.
*Fortune, “Shiseido Just Bought a Makeup App That Scans Your Skin and Creates Custom Foundation”
**The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, February 2017