spotlight

UX Spotlight: Product Discovery Quizzes - Dermalogica and Clinique personalize the search (and conversion) process

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Today’s online shoppers have more choice than ever, which means that there is truly something for everyone, but it also means customers are sometimes overwhelmed by choice paralysis.

Back in the brick-and-mortar days, in-person salespeople would help shoppers out by asking the right questions to get to the bottom of what a shopper truly needed and which products would best suit them. Online, with too many options and no personal guidance, the customer journey can slow down significantly - or come to a complete halt.

It is imperative that digital experiences step up and serve as the friendly, expert sales person through easy-to-navigate, informative guidance for shoppers.

That’s why it’s so imperative that digital experiences step up and serve as the friendly, expert sales person through easy-to-navigate, informative guidance for shoppers. One great approach to this process is product discovery quizzes.

This week I highlight Dermalogica and Clinique, two skin care companies who both nail the product discovery quiz in different ways.  

The UX Element: Both Dermalogica and Clinique offer interactive quizzes to help customers pinpoint the right products for their skincare needs.

Dermalogica offers a short, quick, streamlined survey to narrow down the body of products that may suit a shopper. In their “speed mapping skin analysis,” which is easily found on their homepage, customers answer 4-6 questions about their age and skin concerns, and Dermalogica offers a “skin analysis,” including a video about the body of products that best suits the shopper, and different skin regimens and products that match the customer’s answers.

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Clinique offers a longer, more in-depth quiz, with a variety of different questions and answer mechanisms, such as slide bars and color gradients, which keep the survey engaging and fun. From the homepage, shoppers can click “skincare” and then “customized solutions for every skin.”

Several questions later, Clinique offers a specific set of products that address a pinpointed problem.


The Impact: In the Dermalogica quiz, customers are quickly directed to the right product category for them. In less than one minute, customers can go from not even knowing where to click, to honing in on a personalized category page.

In less than one minute, customers can go from not even knowing where to click, to honing in on a personalized category page.

In the Clinique quiz, customers take their time answering progressively personalized questions, resulting in a small number of very precise products being offered to them based on their answers. With a little more time investment, customers have their shopping baskets offered up on a silver platter. They just have to add to cart.

Both quizzes offer their results in bundles, which is a great opportunity for brands to upsell. Now that customers are invested in their needs and had those needs verified and validated, it’s the perfect time to offer them the complete solution to their quest.

The TakeawayFirst, let’s talk about the fact that people love online quizzes. Even those consumers who come to an eCommerce site purely to browse can be drawn in by the lure of getting to be a little introspective and find out something new about themselves. Being asked questions about yourself is fun, especially aspects of yourself you might not normally think about, which both of these quizzes tap into.

We automatically place higher value on items in our possession, or items we don’t own yet but we assume will improve our lives if we did.

Second, individuals love things that they own or that are assigned to them. We automatically place higher value on items in our possession, or items we don’t own yet but we assume will improve our lives if we did. By designating these items as specifically selected for a customer based on their unique traits or feelings, the items are instantly more valuable in the eyes of the consumer.

Although both of these examples are for skincare, this strategy could be adopted for nearly any field, from travel sites looking to help customers find the right destinations to car dealerships looking to suggest the perfect vehicle for a unique consumer - and help them schedule a test drive for it.

It’s important, of course, that any quiz mechanism is optimized for mobile. With 60% of visitors to eCommerce sites on mobile these days, any process that could speed and simplify the customer journey is a great boon for mobile users, and should be designed with them in mind.

This is the job that salespeople used to do, smiling at a customer across the department store makeup counter and making it easy, pleasant, and even fun for shoppers to narrow their search and hone in on the right product for them. Now, through tools like product discovery quizzes, UX can carry that torch.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

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