June 26, 2017
LVMH-owned beauty retailer Sephora is putting more power in the hands of consumers by hosting several products from Volition, a startup that allows users to vote on what cosmetics they want to see created.
Volition gives customers a larger degree of autonomy and the ability to influence the creation of new products. With this new partnership, customers can have an influence on what kinds of Volition products get made and potentially sold through Sephora.
"Sephora shares our passion for community and deep appreciation for the power of engagement," said Brandy Hoffman, co-founder of Volition, New York. "They are the beauty industry leader. We are so excited to launch with such a respected, innovative and supportive partner."
In the digital era, consumers are more used to having a direct line of contact with brands and retailers.
Social media has made that easier than ever, as well as the advent of chatbots. But some retailers are pushing the limits of what customers can do to interact with brands.
On this front, Volition has a fairly novel business model. Customers can submit ideas for products as well as vote on other submissions.
Volition joins Sephora. Image credit: Volition
Once a customer submits an idea, the team at Volition reviews it and decides whether to pursue it or not. If so, Volition will work with the user who submitted it to make their idea a reality.
In this way, Volition is putting power in the hands of the consumer and not solely in a board of directors or executives. The idea is that the more direct input customers have on products, the more likely they will be to engage with the brand and make purchases in the future.
Many of those products will now be available through Sephora.com and in select Sephora stores, expanding the beauty retailers collection of products to include Volition's crowdsourced ideas.
The user-generated ideas and products from Volition are an excellent example of a brand using personalization to benefit the customer experience.
This idea has been central to Sephora’s strategy recently, and the brand has seen successful gains from adding more individualized and consumer-centric features.
Sephora introduced a host of new features to its online store focused on personalizing the purchasing process for individual customers.
The process. Image credit: Volition
Some of the new features include individual recommendations based on previous purchases and a personalized welcome when past users visit the online store again. Sephora is banking on the growing trend toward smarter online shopping experiences to help drive up ecommerce sales (see story).
On the user side, Sephora has also been letting customers virtually try on makeup products before they buy through an app.
The color-matching feature on the Sephora Virtual Artist bot for Facebook Messenger has been extended to Sephora’s mobile applications for iOS and Android, allowing consumers to find and try on product shades that correspond to hues in images. The retailer’s updates also include the expansion of its try-on feature to cheek color cosmetics for the first time (see story).
With the launch of Volition products on the Sephora.com Web store, Sephora's efforts towards personalized products are becoming more robust.