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Experience of the Week: Kiehl's

Welcome back to our Weekly Highlight series!  Today, we’re talking about a topic I’m not particularly well-versed in but was recently inspired to investigate due to an impending milestone birthday: skin care. 

Kiehl's Builds a Wonderful Privacy-first Experience

I discovered Kiehl’s while describing my lack of skin care knowledge drove me to do some Googling. Kiehl’s is a global company with hundreds of retail stores and a strong online presence. Founded 170 years ago (!!!) as an actual apothecary in New York’s East Village (not too far from the current Wyng office, coincidentally), it’s grown to include hundreds of products that based on nature-inspired, scientifically-proven formulas that are powerful, yet safe, and help improve overall skin quality for visibly healthier-looking skin. 

What i think when i hear “apothecary”

Kiehl’s prides themselves on their product quality, consultative approach to helping customers, philanthropy, and commitment to sustainability — they even have a recycling program for store credit. The Kiehl’s brand is pretty legendary and includes a loyalty program, consulting services, motorcycles, and support of Everest expeditions!  And how many beauty and personal care brands have a collection in the Smithsonian

Highlighted Experience: Skin Care Routine Finder

Kiehl’s has extensive skin care and general health expertise. . However, it hasn’t always been easy for them to share that expertise with their customers online.  

To combat this challenge, they created FOUR online tools to help customers find the right skin care solutions for them:

  • Virtual chat with an expert
  • Book an appointment at a local store
  • Personalized skin care analysis
  • Skincare routine finder

With over 70% of purchase decisions happening before talking to any salesperson, and the sheer volume of products and solutions available to their customers, Kiehl’s decided to build a self-service product finding quiz to help connect customers with great product recommendations. 

 

I like how it starts here. Kiehl’s clearly states the value of taking the quiz, explains the process (mandatory questions), and also provides additional helpful info to provide immediate value to the customer and build their credibility. 

 

The quiz starts off with a few identifying questions regarding age, gender, skin type, and skin sensitivity. From there, the quiz dives into the personalized questions that provide valuable zero-party data for the brand — and help them create better experiences for their customers. 

Asking about skin goals

Next, the quiz asks what products and routines the customer use today  to ensurethe results don’t recommend redundant products. At the end of the quiz, the customer receives  an opt-in form to receive quiz results and the option to sign up for deals and company news.   I like that the quiz experience provides options to opt-in or out throughout the experience.

 

Overall, the quiz asks six questions, and the customer receives 3-5 recommended products based on their answers. The recommendation page also includes helpful information and expertise on how to use and integrate the products. 

I put in a goal to resolve dark circles, and so I received recommendations about skin hydration, line reduction, and dark circles. 

 

Why this works

I like the thoughtful design of this quick experience.. The quiz design is also clean and aligns to their brand look and feel, it’s easy to read, optimized for mobile, and it’s very responsive.

Kiehl’s provides a lot of helpful information throughout to deliver immediate value to the customer — and this helps incentivize them to provide valuable information back to the brand. It follows the principle that every interaction and every click should create value for the customer. 

Even better, the results are available instantly and provide even more helpful information to guide a customer to a product selection and purchase. of information. They also provide further options to book a complimentary virtual or in-store consultation with a skin care expert. You can tell Kiehl’s really cares about creating value for their visitors — even before they’re paying customers. 

 

Next Steps

In my experience auditing these product recommendation quizzes, I consistently notice the preference data provided is not used for future personalized emails or experiences. Also, the results and recommendations tend to not align with my purchase history.  This is something we commonly see with brands because it can be so challenging to connect data and technologies together - especially when the average organization has over a 90 different technologies.

On this particular quiz, I would have loved to see even more recommended content and information after I take a quiz, like a blog post related to my results or the skin care problems the quiz identified.

Another nice feature would be social validation content. People increasingly look to see what their peers are doing and using, which is why influencer marketing is so effective and prevalent. Brands like Kiehl’s can embed social content into the purchase and browsing flow so that people can see images and contextual information from others who use their products. 

Finally (and this goes along with the data integration theme), I would love to see some further personalization when I continue to browse the site based on my preferences. 

 

Conclusion

The Kiehl’s Skin Care Routine Finder is a beautifully executed and well-thought out experience obviously designed with the customer’s needs at the forefront.. There are some ways to improve, but I found it very useful and clicked-away feeling more informed and ready to invest in my own skin care for the first time in my life - which is nice considering that it felt pretty risky for me to go from a skin care budget of $0 to $50 in a single purchase. 

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