Dr. Claire Triantis, Consumer Insight Manager, Trigenex

Consumer insight specialists are a rare sight in small male dominated start-up tech businesses where budgets and resources are tight. On joining Trigenex in September 2019 I therefore had the question of whether I would be given the money and space to do the job I was employed to do: putting the consumer need at the forefront of our business.

I quickly realised that the scale of the Trigenex vision is vast and brave having the potential to significantly disrupt an established beauty market. Furthermore, the company has initially taken on arguably the most technically difficult challenge in the beauty market – generating a device “The Alchemist” that can blend truly personalised foundations to your exact specification. In order to develop a product that delivered on its promise and to effectively pitch the new technology to consumers, valuable consumer insight was deemed essential.

Anecdotally substantial consumer frustrations exist within the foundation category, this is largely driven by difficulties in identifying a colour match to a person’s unique skin tone. You only need to walk into a retailer to see how overwhelming the category can be with every brand stocking multiple shades in every product line (if they’re even in stock) and each product line having a different coverage and finish.  Furthermore, testing the match in store either relies on good store lighting or concession staff that share your idea of what a “matching” shade is.

My initial job was to gather more concrete evidence to build our business case and to identify our core target market by commissioning both a large-scale multi-nation quantitative survey and some more intimate qualitative interviews. This dual approach provided the hard numbers we needed to show the size of the opportunity and the rich detailed information which gave us actionable outputs and put these numbers into context.  These activities have helped the business to tailor relevant consumer communications, build a solid data driven business strategy and shape the in-store experience.

Following this, we identified that that there is a degree of retailer and consumer scepticism around whether tech can be a vehicle to genuine personalisation, it was therefore essential to demonstrate that The Alchemist device delivers on its promises. Consumers were invited to experience The Alchemist and the resulting professional video footage of consumer reaction has been used to reinforce the credibility of the colour algorithm and the excitement of the consumer journey.  Without this “proof” we would not have built our network of engaged potential retailers, suppliers, partners etc.

These two simple but impactful activities powered by real consumer data have helped to shape the device design, the product, the story and the experience giving the team full confidence that we are designing for those people who will use the product. In addition, it has given confidence to a major European retailer with who we plan to launch with this year.