Improving the customer experience by offering a more personal service is a subject that has been talked about a lot recently. With the customer journey now being more complex and defined more as a relationship between the customer and brand, there are enormous opportunities to get closer to customers.

Some of these may even be entirely new channels that did not exist until now. Look at Makeup Genius from L’Oreal for a great example of this. Makeup Genius is an app that can be installed on smartphones. It allows users to take a selfie and then apply makeup to the photo – testing different L’Oreal products using a virtual environment.

Think for a moment about how makeup has traditionally been sold. For years the retail format was dominated by concessions inside department stores – although recently more dedicated makeup retailers like Sephora have been improving the in-store experience. Other formats included the independent representatives: your neighbour selling Avon, for example. The sales channels are well established and have not really changed for a long time.

Now take a look once again at the app and think about how this changes the customer relationship for a company like L’Oreal:

  • Try before you buy: customers can test any product at their own convenience – at any time and any place so long as they have their phone. All products are available and can be tested using the simulation.
  • Buy immediately: if you create a look that you like, you can click a button and order all the products used during that simulation. This is an entirely new sales channel.
  • Advocate: users can share their selfies after makeup is applied. By sharing images with their friends, they are not just having fun and passing on selfies – they are actively promoting the L’Oreal brand. That’s extremely powerful – nothing promotes a brand more than a personal recommendation from a friend.

This idea of getting more personal and closer to customers is often framed within the boundaries of learning about customer preferences so improved deals and recommendations can be offered, but it’s clear that there are opportunities to create entire new sales channels and customer relationships. Explore beyond the obvious and you will be rewarded.

What do you think the possibilities are for new sales channels and personalisation? Leave a comment below and let me know, or get in touch on LinkedIn.