For consumers overwhelmed by the vast array of hair care products on drugstore shelves, a new subscription service promises guidance. Launched by eSalon, which earned $17 million last year on customized hair color, The Match-Up offers users a questionnaire and provides monthly deliveries of hair care products tailored to their answers.
Such guidance may be key to success in the hair care industry, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Hair Care & Color, which quantifies the digital competence of 70 U.S. hair care brands. The three brands with the highest Digital IQ –Aveda, L’Oréal and Garnier – distinguished themselves from the competition in large part by creating websites that offer customers the assistance they could get from a professional stylist.
The websites of these three “Genius” brands boast attractive interfaces loaded with interactive elements. The L’Oréal site, for instance, features an extensive beauty library and consultation tools that promise to help “create your signature looks.” Garnier launched a mobile-first interface in 2014 featuring categories like “Trending Products” and “My Hair Care Needs.” Its videos are also popular, with more YouTube views than any other brand except for Dove. And when customers visit the Aveda site, they can seek advice from the company’s “Hair Advisor,” which recommends a product regimen based on hair type and condition.
In a similar vein, other companies were able to gain Digital IQ points by revamping their sites. Paul Mitchell launched a new responsive site in 2014, bumping its status from “Challenged” to “Gifted.” OGX also launched a new site last year, which together with its #BadAssHairDay campaign moved the brand up from the “Feeble” category to “Average.”
On the flip side, the weakest companies have cumbersome websites with limited information. Given that over half of brands now use interactive elements like diagnostic tools and virtual makeovers, this might be an investment worth making.