As 10-step skin care routines become the norm and new products pop up on every platform, the skin care sector can be overwhelming. Walgreens aims to soothe the confusion with a new online feature called SkinID that strips skin care routines down to three steps, signaling the drugstore brand’s recognition that success in the beauty category now depends on digital.
In the past, Walgreens and its drugstore peers have used their mobile sites and apps to drive customers to physical locations. Store locators have become ubiquitous and 80% of brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box offer geolocation on their mobile sites. However, SkinID suggests that these brands are now trying to reach the digital consumer.
The new feature enables users to seamlessly create and save a skin care profile and online account for future reference and recommendations. Additionally, it offers up digital coupons with relevant products based on quiz results for users to “clip”—another incentive to spend more time online.
But how well does the feature actually work? Out of the three categories (cleansing, treating, and moisturizing), the top recommendation for each one actually turned out to be a product that I’ve used reliably for years, making clear that the quiz was able to pinpoint my skin concerns and type of sensitivity. In comparison, Sephora’s online skin care quiz is only four questions, but is far more general, doesn’t allow users to choose more than one answer, and doesn’t include visuals for those unsure of what their exact skin issues are called.
I’ve taken my fair share of online skin assessments, but found Walgreen’s new reveal to be refreshingly intuitive. The quiz consists of six pared-down questions with visuals to depict specific skin concerns, such as type of breakout most commonly experienced and frequency of skin sensitivity. These are different from the typical “what’s your skin type?” queries, which often lead to over-generalized conclusions and result in inaccurate product recommendations.
Though drugstores were once a go-to for skin care, the space is now clogged with brands from every sector. To preserve customer loyalty, drugstore brands need to be as digitally nimble as niche beauty brands. Walgreens has taken several steps in this direction, and this feature could help it go one step further towards becoming a full-blown beauty destination.