K-beauty company Peach & Lily is testing a new pop-up concept designed to gather real-time customer data that will inform future product development.
The five-day pop-up, which opened Wednesday, will offer ticketed educational workshops (tickets are $40, but attendees receive a $39 skin-refining serum) and a free panel, plus photo opportunities with peach trees and three different stations for data gathering. The three stations are focused on scent, texture, and sneak-peeks at Peach & Lily products coming out in 2020 and 2021. They’re contained in unmarked bottles and feature no explanation. (The company launched its eponymous brand in July 2018 and still operates an e-commerce arm selling 40 other Korean beauty brands.) A second pop-up will debut in Los Angeles on Aug. 8. Founded in 2012, the Peach & Lily company earned $30 million in total sales in 2018, with 60% of sales coming from repeat customers, said Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily.
Since its inception, Peach & Lily has gathered customer data through online surveys, and also through its blog and social media channels by posing questions to readers and followers. The brand also considers traditional sales data. The data it has collected has informed the company’s development of own its brand and specific products, but Yoon said she’s found it difficult to understand with certainty what consumers want when it comes to product factors like feel and scent. For example, the feeling of silkiness or the scent of a spice could stir up drastically different emotions to different customers, she said. Beauty companies including Guerlain and Skylar, are also trying to deepen emotional connections with customers, via community building, while Pinrose and Kora Organics are attempting to do so through products themselves.
“The part of our business that we love exploring is how beauty is both functional and emotional, but the emotional elements of a product that speak to customers are challenging to [determine] online,” said Yoon. The Peach & Lily namesake collection is sold on its website, as well as exclusively through Ulta.
In bringing customers together to review potential scents and textures, the pop-up is being used as a product innovation lever. Each station is equipped with iPads, where guests can comment on ingredients and products featured, and give unbiased reviews. Peach & Lily employees will be present to monitor and discuss reactions, and record qualitative responses. Over the coming weeks, the brand will analyze the data and share it with their labs in South Korea to incorporate feedback into upcoming products.
“We know our consumers crave education and a two-way dialogue, and so we wanted to have a richer version of [past pop-ups],” said Yoon. “We can do something like this online, but there is a different conversation that can take place offline. There are some things that can be hard to explain in [written] words versus a conversation.”
It is a unique idea to bring customer data gathering to the forefront of a pop-up by making it part of the experience, said Rita Tabet, COO and partner of Pop Up Mob consultancy. Most data collection, such as email capture, is done on a quid pro quo basis, where a customer gives up their data in exchange for something like a product sample or a photo. In this case, it’s a “smart way” to gather more information by including it at the very essence of the experience, she said. However, Tabet did caution the use of too much technology, in the form of iPads or photo booths, for instance, could read like an invasion of privacy. To that end, the Peach & Lily pop-up also features more traditional elements like a live peach tree forest for an Instagrammable social media moment, the opportunity to purchase products from Peach & Lily’s full collection and workshops hosted by Yoon. The brand is promoting its pop-up through its social media channels and on its website, and is expecting close to 1,000 people total to pass through the New York City and Los Angeles locations.
“We want to ensure that [our research] is not just about sales growth,” Yoon said. “That’s great, of course, but we want to build a very intimate community so that no matter how big we get, we actually do things [customers like] and it’s not just lip service.”