Prose, the customizable hair-care brand, added a membership feature to its e-commerce site on Monday in an attempt to attract and retain customers.
Dubbed The Prose Salon, the membership is free for customers who sign up for the subscription and provides shoppers a 15% discount off full-price products. Membership features include a free, 15-minute virtual appointment with Prose hair-care consultants for discussions around products and routines, early access to soon-to-launch products, a free Prose product after every 10th purchase, a Prose magazine subscription and access to a wellness podcast. Membership is not an added revenue stream, and the hope is it will drive stronger customer loyalty, said Arnaud Plas, Prose CEO and co-founder. However, Plas said that he does not consider Prose’s membership to be a traditional loyalty program because the emphasis is on services, not transactional value.
“The goal is to combine product with services and experience,” he said. “It’s more than a loyalty program. It comes back to offering a [deeper] personalized and elevated experience.”
As the personalized and customized beauty industry matures, distinct points of view are emerging about where it is headed. Prose is bullish on services, while its competitor Function of Beauty has expanded its product range. L’Oréal USA, meanwhile, is banking that at-home customized beauty devices will take off. Plas indicated that Prose has an interest in offering offline services, but only if the brand is unable to offer something similar within a digital environment. He also said that, to compete in an e-commerce world dominated by the likes of Amazon, smaller brands cannot trade on price and shipping; they instead need to focus on the customer service experience.
“Beauty is a market where you want to have an experience, and that depends on who you are, so there is a huge opportunity for brands like ours to create these services,” he said. “If you don’t do that and you offer something [basic] like Amazon, but without a similar convenience, this is where you get into trouble. You have to differentiate yourself by offering a unique user journey.”
“In general, personalization is a fast-rising trend in the beauty and personal care industries,” said Kenya Watson, CB Insights intelligence analyst. “Many customers are coming to expect beauty brands to offer some level of personalization, whether that is how [a brand] uses targeted recommendations to help them find the right item or a fully tailored product that’s designed based on their needs.”
Since its launch in Jan. 2018, the company has provided over 2 million online quiz consultations for customers’ first orders, and it now sees 700,000 website visits per month. Prose previously told Glossy in 2019 that the brand’s sales were growing by a double-digit percentage month-over-month and that it was “close” to reaching $1.5 million monthly revenue; it has now tripled its revenue between June 2019 and June 2020. Plas said that as of April, more than 50% of customers have opted for a subscription and that the company doubled its revenue over the last four months. In February, the brand tripled the size of its manufacturing space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to 28,000 square feet, and it has been able to remain open during the initial government-mandated closures.
Plas said the membership is designed around three buckets, called “Know Me,” “Show Me,” and “Guide Me.” Know Me and Show Me are expressed through the hair consultation and are meant to help the customer understand their hair type and goals, how to achieve their goals and how their hair has changed over time. Guide Me, expressed through all the other membership offerings, provides customers with lifestyle guidance to “get the best of their routine,” said Plas.