In the words of Blaise Pascal, Pensées, “There are three sources of belief: reason, custom, inspiration.”
The future for the beauty industry is many words but especially one: customized. In a Deloitte Research study, 36% of consumers expressed interest in purchasing personalized products or services, proving that customization is powerful.
Providing room for personalization and options is great for business, but what do brand owners need to do? Where do 3PLs (third-party logistics) start and brand owners end with personalized fulfillment? 3PLs like OceanX specialize in DTC (direct-to-customer) fulfillment but rely on heavy communication. Brand owners should review a couple of steps to make the experience flow smoothly.
Step 1: Keep it Realistic
Managing expectations may be challenging for brand owners when competing in the customization market. It’s important to remember that although we are innovating newer and better products, we should not reinvent the wheel.
Here are a few things we need to keep in mind:
- Choice Overload. “Would you like the shimmery, peach scented, warm-tinted eyeshadow palette with rose undertones? Or the muted, unscented, frosted blues and lilac pink palette?” The consumer pauses, then respond with, “What?” — We just witnessed a choice overload. Limiting our choices through scents, textures, benefits, and box variants helps the process remain less overwhelming.
- Packaging Expenses. Similarly, our packaging can create additional expenses. Whether it’s high-quality pack-out materials, storage costs, or shipping weights, we need to manage an excellent price-to-quality ratio for the best results.
- Quizzes. While quizzes are a great way to gain consumer insight and personalized products, keep questions to a minimum and phrase sentences simply. Glamnetic’s Lash Quiz, Spongelle’s Fragrance Quiz, Function of Beauty Hair Quiz, INH Hair’s Pony Quiz, and UOMA Beauty’s Skin tone Shade Quiz are great quizzes to pull inspiration.
Step 2: Communicate in Customized Inventory Management
Customized products at a large scale create complications with tracking and management. There needs to be a healthy relationship between the logistic provider, seller, and buyer for inventory management to operate. If one of these parties fails to work, the customization process goes down like a sinking ship.
Example: Say a beauty brand for customized lip colors releases a new fun quiz for selecting a lip color based on personality traits and style. The beauty company failed to communicate which test results would receive each SKU number to the 3PL providers when releasing this quiz.
Result: The customization journey fails; the recipients receive the wrong lip color for the promised test results. What happens when customers receive false promises? They become upset and feel lied to, which results in a bad company reputation.
What could have made this situation run smoother? There need to be several communication systems put in place:
- Planning/Forecasting. From the consumer’s digital screen to their doorstep, there needs to be planning, and forecasting — moving averages, lifecycle modeling, regression analysis, exponential smoothing, and adaptive smoothing are excellent places to start.
- Lot Tracking. Lot tracking is for timestamping and tracing the product’s origin, ingredients, warehousing locations, and reasoning behind production issues. It’s common for 3PLs or logistic providers to have tracking programs already formulated. However, for extra precaution, communicate with your 3PL to see if they have a lot tracking program for their clients. For our lip color example, if we had lot tracking enabled for this incident, the logistic providers could easily trace and correct the issue amongst warehousing.
- Open Communication. It all boils down to communication. 3PLs and shipping require an available line of information, discussions, and accuracy. If the 3PL received the exact quiz and SKU number pairing, there would not be any complications.
Step 3: Choose Sufficient 3PL Fulfillment
Whether you plan on distributing your products in a centralized, decentralized, or hybrid fashion, you want to partner with a 3PL DTC fulfillment company that’s scalable and efficient. Remember, volume capability is essential; customization is a complicated process. When your sales scale, you don’t want to be volume capped.
The perfect linear scenario would run in this order:
Before the consumer places orders:
- Good forecasting would be provided by shipping analysts or marketing managers, counting in higher volumized order times
- Our 3PLs would store and organize the pallets of customized variants, packaging, products, and above
After the consumer places orders:
- Consumer initiates purchase
- The brand sends an order confirmation
- We receive the order and customization requests, then we pick and pack the products
- OceanX ships following the 2-day shipping guarantee
- The package delivers to the consumer’s doorstep
- We aim for customer satisfaction, but we will receive and process the return if returns are requested
End Result: Customized Beauty Built for Scale!
Why exactly is customization popular? With the rising of self-expression and awareness of personal needs, there are no longer one-size-fits-all beauty products.
In addition to this, before widely-known corporations took over, goods were handcrafted and felt authentic to consumers. Brands are trying to replicate that connection with personalized products making the customization movement at an all-time high rather than mass-produced items.
On the flip side, if beauty made hundreds of products based on guessing games without insight, how much product wastage and extra expense would there be? Why think about what the consumer wants when we can ask them upfront with personalization? Customization cuts out the middle man.
But, the best part about personalization is it can adapt to many forms. From optional scents, and customized colors/themes, to assembling a personalized subscription box, the options with OceanX are endless! Contact us today for a quote on fulfilling your beauty customized products.