It feels like every day there is one less thing we have to do by ourselves because there’s a robot, an app or some digital technology that can do it faster and better than us. Gone are the days of map reading, letter writing, even using a dictionary as more and more, we are turning to technology to do things for us. However, having a world of digital technology and online resources, which we can consult prior to making a decision, provides valuable insight and advice as well as saving time and money.
Doing things digitally should be fast, easy, accessible and fun. When it comes to online shopping, consumers turn to the digital world in search of reviews, price comparisons, and guidance to support their decision making. Although consumers are interested in professional advice, they are sometimes reluctant to engage with in-store staff, thus receiving the advice by digital means is more attractive and less-intrusive.
Cosmetics companies are utilizing digital solutions to provide consumers with fun, interactive brand experiences, which aim to deliver ‘personalised’ results, advice and product recommendations. These solutions can include online questionnaires, gaming or chat apps, visual analysis of user-uploaded photos, and more sophisticated technical devices, capable of analyzing physical traits such as skin moisture, pigmentation, wrinkles etc.
On paper (or on your mobile) this seems ideal but in actual fact, many of these solutions are frustrating to use and are generally more concerned with product sales than the individual consumer. Moreover, product recommendations are based on limited user data input and rarely take the analog (the physical reality) into consideration and the few that do are costly.
At USP Solutions, we had a close look at all sorts of “digital solutions” which aim to be supportive in terms of defining physical skin concerns and guiding to appropriate products online. One of our key findings is that many brands who digitize themselves, tend to offer “something digital” instead of a personalized analysis. We do not believe that simply offering something digital is enough to provide authentic product recommendations to individuals.
Our “something” digital combats this concern by combining an analog experience, such as a skin type test strip, with digital analysis of results. The test strip engages the consumer with your brand and provides the answers that they might otherwise hazard a guess at in an online questionnaire. For example, rather than being asked to choose their skin type (which they may do incorrectly, leading to false recommendations), the test strip results are digitally analyzed to provide this information truthfully. Individuals are then directed to the product which suits their personal needs and is easily purchased online. They are left feeling educated, uplifted and reassured that they have made the right decision.
This pairing of analog and digital reaps the benefits of both worlds. It is in this way that the sensory experience is transformed into a digital business, whilst maintaining consumer-brand engagement, trust, and relationships.