STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 37
First, users take a 12-question quiz
- Errett says an impressive 91 percent
of people finish it, and the results have
contributed to the more than 2.5 million
hair profiles available to Madison Reed
customers. A machine-learned algorithm
uses the quiz responses to get smarter
over time, helping to guide users to the
right hair color.
"We take answers from the quiz and
use them to serve customers the best
recommended shades," Errett says. The
user is offered the shade that's the best
match, along with an additional two or
three shades that would also likely give
the desired results.
Also disrupting how consumers choose
their hair shade is Madi, the brand's
color recognition chat bot. Customers
take a selfie with their mobile device,
then messenger or text it to Madi.
"The photo answers a number of
questions you would answer online,"
Errett says. A call center staffed by
certified, licensed colorists works
alongside Madi. "You can chat, have
a phone call or email with any of our
Using only a photo - analyzed by
Madi's algorithmic underpinnings
or evaluated by Madison Reed's
experienced team of colorists -
customers have new options beyond
staring at a box in the grocery store as
they search for their perfect hair color.
DISRUPTION SECRET NO. 3:
Rather than being relegated to the
typical drug store shelves, Madison Reed
has embraced the web as a way to connect
customers with its products. Technology
and retail channels have come together to
offer consumers a wide range of choices
to fit their hair coloring needs, while also
giving them more choices about where
they purchase hair products and services.
But that presents a challenge, especially
for hair color. "If you order a pair of
shoes and they don't fit, you might be
irritated but the risk is only that you'll
need to ship them back," Errett says. That
risk factor goes up exponentially when
customers are worried about screwing up
BONUS SECRET NO. 4: GOING VIRAL
Just as Drybar offers fast and convenient
blowouts, the Madison Reed Color Bar
gives customers a place to get their color
touched up without the hassle of a full-on
salon appointment. Dubbed the "root
reboot," the concept has been part of
Brand awareness is key to building
confidence among potential customers.
"We have to earn her trust," Errett
says of today's hair color customer.
Companies that focus only on digital
channels may not be discovered
by as wide a range of consumers.
Partnerships with retail powerhouses
such as Sephora and Ulta have given
Madison Reed an avenue to expose
customers to the brand's products in a
known, trusted environment.
That omnichannel approach -
marrying the brand's online presence
with its availability in established retail
outlets and even its own bricks-andmortar locations - increases customers'
awareness of Madison Reed's products
and gives them the opportunity to enjoy
whichever type of buying experience best
Julie Knudson is a freelance business writer who
the Madison Reed strategy from the
beginning. The first Color Bar, a
five-month pop-up in New York, went
so well that founder and CEO Amy Errett
says the company plans to open a fulltime color bar nearby.
Errett says a combination of factors
drove the Color Bar disruption plan.
The marketplace is almost evenly split
between customers who favor the
do-it-yourself approach and those who
prefer going to a salon. Crossing both
segments is a group of women who
feel the normal six-week span between
colorings is a little too long.
"Some of them just can't get to the
salon every three weeks," Errett says.
With the Color Bar, customers make
an appointment online and then come in
for a fast and affordable color treatment.
"You take the same 12-question quiz
that you do online, but you do it with a
stylist who's also color matching you,"
"Repeat business was crazy" during the
trial run, she says: 40 percent of women
who made an appointment purchased
another product, and 15 percent of
customers became members and now
receive products delivered to them on
a continuous basis. "It exceeded our
expectations," Errett says.
focuses on retail, hospitality and technology.
STORES September 2017 37