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A Beauty WeChat Mini Program For China

Posted in WeChat on January 11th 2021
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Vice President and Co-founder at IT Consultis

What is Brighter Beauty?

The New Edge Of Beauty

Founded in 2018, Brighter Beauty is a beauty startup that creates customized skincare products, using cutting-edge technology to offer modern skincare solutions for busy urban consumers. The main target users of Brighter Beauty are busy business women in Shanghai who consider personal appearance to be very important as most women are sensitive to beauty norms. Despite their busy schedules, they cannot afford to compromise on the quality of their beauty products.

Pursuing a high quality life, this audience wants access to US products, exclusive consultative support based on their specific needs, and a service that is time-efficient, taking no more than 15 minutes of their day. Brighter Beauty came in to answer this exact demand.

A Unique Skin Care Technology

The startup’s advanced skincare technology is designed on an individual-by-individual basis. Visitors to their Chinese centers will experience an 8-Minute Rejuvenation™ treatment session (to be precise - 7 minutes and 30 seconds), which begins with an analysis of the client’s skin, in order to provide the basis for a personalized recommendation.

Based on data collected with Visia® Facial Imaging - a third-party skin assessment tool - the customer will receive a solution that is unique to them. Avoiding a ‘mass-produced’ feel, Brighter Beauty offers a wide range of premium products without the additional labour costs typically associated with customization.

Furthermore, these beauty products are manufactured in the US, using premium active ingredients sourced from leading global suppliers from the Netherlands and around the world. This is widely appreciated among Brighter Beauty’s customers, as most seek high-quality overseas skincare product lines.

These consulting services and sessions usually take a few days. Thus, the main challenge for Brighter Beauty here was the creation of a technological solution that allows these busy women to experience their premium and personalized services within only 15 minutes. Fortunately, with the right partner as ITC, Brighter Beauty has come to owe a bespoke digital asset that delivers their mission.

A Beauty WeChat Mini Program: The Mini Program Development Challenge

A High Tech Beauty Touch

As a visionary in their field, Brighter Beauty aims to revolutionize the skincare and beauty industry by bringing “High Tech - High Touch” experiences to their customers. In other words, automating what can and should be automated, to enable the human dimensions (in-person care, advice and expertise) to be deployed where they are needed. Brighter Beauty’s ambition is to provide a service that is the first of its kind: creating an optimal decision-making experience in the Chinese beauty industry, powered by data-driven technology.

The Brighter Beauty Mini Program was designed to be a unique, high-tech solution to its customers’ needs. A personalized experience requires that a certain amount of the experience be delivered and administered in person (offline). To maximize efficiency, and help customers conserve their most valuable resource and time, technology should be used to push as much of the process online as possible, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence.

An Entire Experience

In parallel, they wanted to bridge the gap between online and offline channels. They aim to achieve this by creating a leading-edge Online-to-Offline (O2O) experience that enables the delivery of customized services and treatment to clients across multiple platforms (an omnichannel solution).

The successful execution of their 5-year expansion plan should result in over 100 additional Brighter Beauty Beauty stores throughout Eastern China. This means that any platform they build in order to achieve their strategic aims must be both agile and scalable. The Mini Program development challenge was clear- but was there a solution?

Building A Beauty WeChat Mini Program

Brighter Beauty recognised that they needed expert support in creating a next-level, omnichannel solution. They also needed a partner who understands the Chinese market, and who could work with the technology to build the right infrastructure given specific market dynamics and needs of the Chinese consumers.

They decided to partner with IT Consultis, a digital transformation agency in Shanghai with deep functional experience and a track-record in China, in order to better plan and achieve these ambitious goals. After an initial consultation phase, Brighter Beauty and IT Consultis agreed on two main objectives:

  1.  Design a fully cashless O2O user journey, using WeChat and Magento as core enablers for the Mini Program solution, optimized for the Chinese consumer.
  2.  Create an omnichannel experience using the “Customer Passport”, a powerful, flexible solution that connects multiple digital ecosystems together.

Mapping The Blueprints And Building The Solution

Objective 1: A Seamless O2O Journey Using A WeChat Mini Program

Our first objective as a team was to create a seamless O2O user journey for Brighter Beauty’s customers.

O2O services have experienced rapid growth in recent years in China, to the point where they have become a necessity for brands who want to succeed. O2O solutions can be powered by WeChat, specifically using Mini Programs, which are sub-applications within the WeChat ecosystem. To create the O2O journey, we created Brighter Beauty Mini Program, which allowed customers to order products, buy services, enroll in memberships, and check-in to their preferred store, enhancing customer engagement both in-store and online.

The O2O User Journey takes place via the internet, via the WeChat Mini Program, and in person in the Brighter Beauty physical stores.

Below, we’ve provided a breakdown of the customer journey, from start to finish:

  1. First, a customer goes to her favorite Brighter Beauty location and is greeted by a ‘Catalyst’, or Skin Treatment expert. She is then instructed to create an account on the WeChat Mini Program.
  2. Next, the client takes high-resolution photos of her skin. The images are processed by the Brighter Beauty software and analyzed in real time.
  3. Within seconds, the Catalyst presents the results of the analysis back to the customer, together with data-driven recommendations for treatment and suggested next steps.
  4. When the client has decided to proceed, the treatment is administered in a private spray booth on-site, where the agreed product solution is administered directly to the client. The treatment process takes around 7 minutes (and can take less time). The customer can leave as soon as the process is complete - without any further ado.
  5. While the treatment process described above is over in less than 15 minutes, end to end, the client experience does not stop when the client leaves the store. The data collected during the process, both regarding the skin conditions and treatment carried out, is saved on Brighter Beauty’s WeChat Mini Program, and remains accessible to the consumer at any time.
  6. Clients are also able to make further appointments, purchase services and products on Brighter Beauty’s e-store in the Mini Program. The online store is created using Magento, the leading eCommerce software, which powers the back-end architecture. Users can utilize the store via the Mini Program, enjoying the advanced features only a Magento-powered store can provide.
  7. The store is fully cashless, with all transactions processed by the Magento-powered WeChat Mini Program.
  8. Over the course of subsequent sessions, photos of the client’s skin are periodically added to the client’s Mini Program account. The data can be viewed using graphs and advanced statistical techniques, and it is possible to see improvements over time. Furthermore, products can be purchased directly and seamlessly within the Mini Program itself, which makes recommendations based on the treatment the client is currently receiving. This personalization process is, once again, made possible by Magento.

 

Objective 2: Creating An OmniChannel Experience With The Customer Passport

As described above, WeChat Mini Program measures progress based on visual scans carried out over time. It is able to do this by accessing information from a key module in the overall solution architecture, known as the Customer Passport.

The Customer Passport, created using Laravel technology, is a comprehensive database of client information. A powerful addition to the Brighter Beauty tech stack, it acts as the key enabling pillar of the omnichannel journey.

In addition to effectively storing and sharing customer data, the Customer Passport is capable of sharing this information with almost any types of channels, ranging from hospital machines to CRM and POS systems. Thanks to this module, software and databases that previously did not communicate with each other owing to compatibility issues can now exchange information seamlessly.

Below, we’ve included a more detailed overview of how it works:

  1. Facial Image Analysis (Visia) - Visia is a facial image analyzer that calculates one’s true skin age. Visia is able to function by accessing the Customer Passport and compiling the results of successive skin analyses, including skin age and skin condition.
  2. Spraying Booth - a physical booth that records the height of the client, and automatically updates each time a client re-enters. This innovation is a first in its field, pioneered by Brighter Beauty.
  3. Queuing System - shares information regarding the offline store the client is visiting, and delivers instructions to the Catalysts for specific clients before they even enter the store.
  4. Order Management System (Magento) - all customer information is shared in the Customer Passport and accessible via the Mini Program. Magento powers the OMS, seamlessly relaying the customer information for an uninterrupted user journey.
  5. Membership Platform - a custom-made system whereby a specific passport grants benefits based on different requirements.

 

The benefits do not end here. Thanks to this digital architecture, Brighter Beauty is currently planning to add even more channels to the experience, all effortlessly linked by Customer Passport, including mobile apps, CRM, and additional websites.

Architecture

As mentioned, Brighter Beauty decided to build a Mini Program instead of an app, thanks to the additional convenience and popularity of Mini Programs in China. Using a WeChat Mini Program as the core environment also enabled customers to make purchases using WeChat Pay, creating a seamless transaction process.

Magento 2.2.5 was used to create a fully cashless e-retail store that provides e-commerce functions, such as the purchasing of products and in-store packages, while also providing personalized offerings to users to ensure the best possible experience.

As described above, the multitude of features within the Mini Program, such as the ability to purchase products or save appointments and locations, results in an extensive amount of data being collected for each account.

A dedicated tool to store and manage personal data (Customer Passport) was required. Laravel, one of the leading open-source frameworks, enabled this by making it possible to create bespoke business rules.

Benoit, Project Director on this web development project, shared his thoughts as follows:

Deploying the Customer Passport was the real game-changer for the Brighter Beauty project. Thanks to the Customer Passport, users are able to connect multiple systems together, creating a truly O2O journey in an omnichannel environment. Laravel provides the perfect amount of customization and flexibility, and guarantee that in the future they will be able to add even more channels as needed.

Results

This project resulted in an expertly-designed and user-friendly O2O experience that encapsulates the “High-tech, High-touch” paradigm. The Customer Passport links together multiple digital environments, creating a seamlessly-connected system that will support Brighter Beauty in theirrapid 5-year expansion plan.

In addition to the robustness of the technology, the quality of the design has also helped to establish Brighter Beauty as a leader in the beauty industry in China. We are very proud to have supported Brighter Beauty in this growth project, and we look forward to continuing this support throughout many future evolutions.

About ITC

Spearheaded by one of the world’s leading management teams, our team of seasoned experts stationed in Shanghai, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, dedicated to providing customized digital solutions that help to transform your business in the Chinese market. With the mission of bringing omnichannel customer experiences to life, IT Consultis is strongly committed to researching, creating and executing the best digital solutions, ranging from strategic projects to entirely tailor-made web developments, Mini Programs, apps, e-commerce websites, and in-store experiences.

We continuously stay on top of trends and developments in the Chinese market. We can help digitise your business by identifying opportunities to maximize your business potential, while providing customized digital solutions.

Contact us to find out more!