Procter & Gamble is tapping into consumers’ desire for individualized, customized beauty and fashion with a new website, StyleUnited. The beauty firm says the site will serve as an online destination for this unmet need, but will also look to provide invaluable information on how a woman shops. CEW Beauty Insider spoke with Charlie Chappell, associate marketing director at P&G, to uncover P&G’s interest in its bold online endeavor.
Why a fashion/beauty website? Women continue to tell us they turn to a number of websites every day for their beauty and fashion needs, and none recognize the complete picture. Our business model is set up so that the site is funded entirely through us (there are no advertising opportunities at this time) and P&G-branded beauty products are offered exclusively. Our current apparel partner is shopstyle.com, which sources different brands from a variety of places to appeal to a broad audience. Brands include Rebecca Taylor, Citizens of Humanity and Joie.
How do you customize fashion online? From an apparel standpoint, StyleUnited allows visitors to shop a specific style preference by selecting from one of a variety of looks, such as street chic, vintage, holiday, evening and pretty. The looks come complete with shoes, bags and jewelry options. Choices are overseen by a team of experts and are updated as new merchandise enters the mix. Purchases are made through partner sites, including CVS.com, drugstore.com, Ulta.com and soap.com for beauty items, and to Piperlime.com and Singer22.com for apparel.
How does the site offer personalized beauty? StyleUnited tailors content based on a user’s response and delivers relevant information each time she visits. Questions such as, “What is your skin tone?” and, “What is your hair color?” help the site procure beauty recommendations that will work for the individual.
One site feature is called Beauty 360 where one-on-one recommendations are provided via a web cam or on the phone. Each consultation ends with a shopper getting a printout of her desired look and the products required to get it. The site also offers Inner Circle, a tab where shoppers can share beauty tips and get advice from peers. For immediate beauty solutions, there’s My Style 911, which links shoppers to articles and products for specific needs. For example, an inquiry on forehead wrinkles pulls up Olay Regenerist Filling + Sealing Wrinkle Treatment, as well as articles about Botox.
What have you learned since launch? The site is still in beta; it launched in November, so it’s too early to detect any key learnings. But so far, we are tracking standard metrics such as number of visits and time spent interacting with the site, and we’re improving the site based on real-time feedback. It’s early to draw any major conclusions but we see that personalization is something they want; that’s why they’re going online.