Printed Lipstick and Empowered Consumers: Re-Imagining Cosmetics in the Digital Economy
New, technology-driven entrants are disrupting home and personal care, offering consumers entirely new arrays of choice, while fundamentally redefining definitions of consumer value.
Startup technology companies are now using 3D printing technology to enable consumers to “print” makeup by selling the consumer an affordable, branded 3D printer and the core substrates required to print the cosmetics. In so doing, these companies are capitalizing on market dynamics in personal care and beauty:
- Consumers are increasingly focused on instant gratification and DIY
- Diminishing brand loyalty and increasing premium on convenience
- Limited selection of colors and shades available at most retail outlets
- Specialty and department stores offer more options, but at premium prices
The service these companies enable allows consumers to choose a color from anywhere – a website, social media, by taking a photo on their mobile phone, etc. – and submit the photo via an App for color matching analysis. Once complete, the App identifies a color hex code to send to the 3D printer to create the cosmetic.
Because most makeup is made from the same core substrates, from high-end brands to value-based private label, these companies can source the same substrates as the premium fashion and cosmetics brands and produce finished products comparable to that of premium brands, helping to ensure a positive consumer experience.
Creating Value at New Frontiers
The technology and the business model these companies are using for direct-to-consumer engagement and commerce is compelling. However, what’s more compelling is the shift in market dynamics these companies are enabling.
Historically, abstract concepts of beauty and attractiveness have been defined elsewhere, by companies that package those definitions against consumer segments and then market those concepts to consumers to attempt to influence them to adopt the same definitions.
However, here, beauty and attractiveness are defined by the consumer – “for me, by me, right here, and right now.” And, if this experience is positive for the consumer in terms of quality, but also in terms of positive self-image, confidence or other subjective factors, the consumer may never go back to having a company define beauty and attractiveness for them.
Consumer Engagement, Unprecedented Productivity
These new entrants have discovered how to monetize a consumer moment – the moment in time when a consumer spots a color and develops an idea to enhance their own beauty and attractiveness. And they don’t have to spend any time or money researching or predicting color or style trends. They don’t have to – consumers are telling them what’s on trend in real-time.
Plus, relative to their larger, more established competitors, these companies are doing all of this with minimal and very streamlined finished good inventory, little or no manufacturing processes, direct to consumer fulfillment exclusively through third-party logistics providers paid for by the consumer, minimal R&D cost and regulatory risk, and with a fraction of the full-time employee base.
This is just one example, and there are many more! Learn more about Digital Transformation for Consumer Products at Consumer Products. Reimagined for the new economy.