Realigning Millennials' Cosmetics Purchasing Habits With Their Sustainability Goals [Read more]
Forula curates and delivers your personal skincare routine, based on your lifestyle and goals.
Forula is a service that delivers a personalised skincare routine, of products that align with the user’s lifestyle, skin-type and sustainability goals. This solution is in response to the difficulties faced by consumers when finding products that are best suited to them in the saturated market and their guilt when repurchasing items that do not align with their eco-goals. Forula provides an effortlessly eco-friendly refill delivery option via subscription, so they can feel better about the impact of their purchases.
The Forula app uses information about the customer’s current products in their skincare routine and sources the best alternatives for them from a range of trusted brands. The customer can decide which products they would like to subscribe to, and choose how often the deliveries will be. The products are delivered in 100% recycled and reusable bottles, ideal for the collection of the empties when they receive refills. With feedback being a key feature of the service, if the user would like to try a different product they can swap the item in their next delivery.
Millennials are leading the trend toward healthy and clean products, expressing increasing demand for brands that embrace purpose and sustainability. Secondary research shows this demographic are also the most willing to spend more for eco-friendly products. Despite this, a recent survey found ’65% of Millennials said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, yet only about 26% actually do so’ (Harvard Business Review, 2019). This juxtaposition, between young consumers’ intentions to be green and their actions, raises questions regarding what is causing this disparity. My research looked into young women's purchasing habits of cosmetic products to refine the focus and because it is a relevant industry for the target user.
In depth contextual research was conducted to gain deep qualitative insights into young women's motivations, attitudes and behaviours when purchasing cosmetics. Methods included contextual interviews with young women, digital diaries where they logged their routines and purchases for a week to compare differences between what they said and did. An online ethnography looked into the use of Instagram by brands to falsely promote their products, most often using greenwashing tactics, because of the huge amount of influence social media has on the target group.
Data was collated and analysed using affinity mapping to pull out pain points and insights. The four overarching key insights were:
1. Lack of education
Throughout the research, participants seemed frustrated by their lack of knowledge product ingredients and what harm they are causing. This means they feel it is a hopeless challenge when trying to the find truly natural products they desire. Their busy lifestyle interrupts the opportunity to spend time on learning methods of home-made products causing annoyance and guilt.
2. Comparison of options
The saturated market of brands advertising their products as eco-friendly, has become overwhelming for young women. Their intentions to purchase products that align with their sustainability goals are overshadowed by their inability to measure and verify the impact of their purchase effortlessly. When shown facts about a product, the participants would choose the more eco-friendly option even when the price is higher.
3. The power of social influence
A dominant theme throughout the research was that the target user group are mainly influenced by their friends and social media. Given the age group and gender, this group are surrounded by people who share an interest in beauty products, and the hype around continual new products launches increases their purchase rates. This reinforces the idea that they are more likely to adopt sustainable behaviours if they see those around them doing it.
4. Habits and lifestyle
When faced with an overwhelming amount of options while browsing in store and on websites, they will opt for the brands they have used before and trust, regardless of whether they are environmentally focused. They have the intentions to invest in eco-friendly brands, but visit the same shops. This leads to repeat purchases because of the effort needed to do extra research or use other options like refill shops, which causes guilt.
Insights were turned into opportunity statements and “How Might We?” questions were generated to think of divergent solutions to the issues. The focus on using behaviour change strategies meant the statements explored many routes and options. These were consolidated using an opportunity matrix and an initial concept was expanded to include key features and design principles. The MoSCoW prioritisation method was used to finalise features and user requirements.
From this, a number of concepts were generated using the Google Design Sprint method of ‘Crazy Eights’ to spark ideas for potential solutions. The strong ideas from the exercises were then sketched into rough user journey to understand more about how they could work from the user’s perspective and where issues may arise.
User Testing & Prototyping
To ensure the best user experience for the user journeys through the app, the service model and app prototype were tested and iterated with users from the beginning. The remote testing used multiple participants; conducted by sharing the app with users and video-calling. This allowed real-time reactions from the participants, with the use of think aloud feedback so users could simply verbalise their thoughts as they move through the user interface.
Forula Service Blueprint
To ensure all aspects of the service had been thought about and planned out, extremely useful tools included the service blueprint map. Feedback and advice from industry experts guided decisions, as well as the analysis of existing solutions to ensure a feasible outcome.
The app creates a user profile based on their input of current products, preferences, goals and lifestyle information. The UI is modern and simple to elicit a high-end and trustworthy service. Similarly, product packaging is minimal to reinforce the environmental focus and the idea that the service doesn't embellish the truth the appear more 'green'. The personalisation of products aims to give the user the feeling that items are specially selected for the individual, and delivered in a way that is not available anywhere else. The user can decide how frequent their refill deliveries are, and this can be changed or cancelled anytime. Existing business models of current successful services were used to decide which features would work best for Forula.
I am a user-centred designer, graduating with an MA in User Experience Design from Loughborough University. With a background in Fine Art and events, I combine my skills in creativity, research and communication to help uncover and solve user needs, end-to-end.
I have a first class degree in Fine Art, where I embraced opportunities to put my excitement for visually amazing experiences to good use. This is when I discovered I do not only love seeing and experiencing incredible technological creations, but I want to generate that kind of impact myself. Completing my Master’s in User Experience Design at Loughborough has advanced my user-centred design skills and ability to create solutions based on research and testing, keeping this focus end-to-end.
Focusing on the pervasive environmental issues we are facing globally, has been the key theme of my projects during this year and will be going forward. Using design to elicit positive behaviour changes, to not only benefit the individual user, but the industry as a whole is powerful.
Realigning Millennials' Cosmetics Purchasing Habits With Their Sustainability Goals
– May 2020, Ford Project Funding: The Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge in partnership with Loughborough university. Our concept of a refill food delivery service that provides students in shared accommodation an effortless and sustainable option was highly commended by judges.
– November 2019, UXathon 'Best Concept' Award: This 8 hour UXathon, lead by Loughborough University and Hong Kong University, our team was awarded the 'best concept' award. Our service design, 'Vanya', was a result of the brief from the client team in HK, providing young professionals with the option to return worn clothes that can then be recycled, earning them points.
– June 2019, John Henry Brookes Award: At my undergraduate graduation, I was awarded the John Henry Brookes prize, for the most outstanding Final Project. My live interactive installation used film and animation to portray the future implications of our inability to decipher between the virtual and real.