User Experience

Amazon optimisation for L'Oréal

Optimising Amazon for the beauty consumer

L’Oréal’s largest online retailer is Amazon.

Ensuring their beauty products are discoverable and helping consumers make purchase decisions that drive sales is key for the many beauty brands owned by the group.

As part of a project to create best-in-class guidelines for Amazon commerce teams, SYZYGY was commissioned to deliver recommendations for product detail page (PDP) content in 5 categories:

  • Skin care
  • Makeup
  • Men
  • Haircare
  • Hair colouration
Still from user study video
The UX team at SYZYGY has conducted much field research with beauty consumers

Our methodology is heavily reliant on research. To understand what could be improved, we first had to observe consumers using Amazon for purchase tasks within each category.

Screeners were written so that consumers could be recruited and 1 hour sessions were conducted with each recruit.

Our consumers were selected to cover our behaviour matrix, ensuring we had a range of amazon familiarity levels across ‘desktop’ and mobile devices.

Sessions were held in-house and were conducted around a ‘conversation guide’. This is a loose script, designed to allow the researcher to cover specific questions and tasks but within the context of natural conversation flow. Doing so provides the opportunity for us to pursue topics of conversation that were not planned for but which are nonetheless insightful.

Our sessions covered shopping choices, recent purchases and then a set of tasks on the live Amazon site. We recorded the subject and their screen for later documentation, capturing anecdotal evidence of behaviours as well as responses to the set tasks.

User testing lab door
The door to observation of 40 beauty consumers
Woman browsing Amazon on a mobile phone
Amazon consumer observations

Most of our subjects used Amazon in a very purchase driven way, already knowing what product they wanted when they arrived on the platform. As such, Amazon was seen as a purchase path, not a research tool, where time to delivery and competitive price are key factors in whether to purchase.

Few consumers relied on Amazon as their sole source of information. We observed our subjects hopping back and forward between Amazon and manufacturer brand sites, mostly for reassurance that they had found the right product.

Premium ‘A+’ content, which brands pay a lot of money to place on their product detail pages, was mostly missed by consumers – lost amongst the myriad modules forming a PDP, or skipped when using an anchor tag link to jump to reviews. Those that did notice the content, did so on scrolling back to the top of the page.

We spent a lot of time determining what was useful in the imagery and comparing how users might prefer to read the copy on a back-of-pack image, rather than bullet points in the product description copy. Preference was mostly down to trust.

Similarly, images augmented with copy that gave factual benefits scored above those that conveyed brand messages, adding weight to our views of the user needs of Amazon.

Amazon user journey flows
Creating hypotheses

Having 20 hours of observations in the bag, we could then work with our client to review what we found and write a set of hypotheses that would take us forward to the next phases of the project.

Each hypothesis supposed an enhancement that we could make and the positive change it would bring for the consumer experience, thus benefitting the business.

Amazon prototype
Amazon prototype
Sketch prototype
Sketch prototype
Prototyping an enhanced Amazon PDP

The hypotheses were interpreted by our team of UX designers, creatives and copywriters who worked on the components at various fidelities. These were tested amongst our colleagues initially and then we ran a second round of sessions with fresh consumers, using image cards, copy cards and full-page mock ups of enhanced Amazon PDPs. Sessions were run along similar lines to the first round, but with the aim of testing our solutions. We were able to make tweaks to assets during the programme to iterate and improve elements where we saw the need.

Documenting for delivery

An initial 88 page document summarised the overall findings for our client. This was followed with a far more detailed guideline document, designed to feed into existing L’Oréal collateral, and provide best-in-class actions for those creating assets and PDPs. The document was broken down into sections covering the specific categories that we had researched and the recommendations it carries are now being implemented by L’Oréal’s global teams.

UX documentation
Initial research report pages
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