Function of Beauty is an American haircare provider that began by specialising in personalised formulas to fit individuals. Customers can customise everything from their hair profile and hair goals all the way down to the scent and colour of the products. Since being founded in 2015, Function of Beauty has expanded into other areas of personal beauty including body and facial care. They have also recently partnered with Target to provide home mix products where customers are able to customise their products themselves (see picture above). Function of Beauty provides the Function with Benefits program, a loyalty program to help provide value back to their loyal customers.
To join the Function with Benefits program, customers are prompted to “Take the hair quiz” to gain access to the program. After completing the quiz, it is discovered that to get access to the benefits, customers must subscribe. That means signing up to get their products re-delivered every three months compared to making a one-time purchase. Customers have the option to cancel, pause or delay their subscription at any time. As a Function of Beauty customer, myself, I can vouch those delaying shipments is a straightforward process. I normally only need a refill every six months.
Upon becoming a subscribing member, customers get access to member benefits. These include:
- Twenty percent off the first large shampoo & conditioner set (Join bonus)
- Continual 10% off hair orders
- Free shipping always
- Exclusive fragrances and colours
- First access to new products
- And more
In addition to the above, members gain access to a stamp card program where they get one free treatment (hair serum, leave-in treatment, or hair mask) after every four subscription refills.
What do we think?
The join process for customers is quite simple and it hardly deviates from the normal shopping process. This allows customers to easily join the program. The difficulty of this program is that becoming a member is conditional, and customers are only able to retain their membership whilst they are a subscribing customer.
In the early days of The Function of Beauty, this tactic would have worked very well where only the most loyal customers would get rewarded, subsequently reducing costs. However, as The Function of Beauty has evolved, so too should its loyalty program. For example, there is currently no incentive for customers to buy The Function of Beauty products at Target. This is a missed opportunity for the brand.
There is also little benefit offered to those customers who use the Function of Beauty to purchase face and body care compared to hair. Once again if members subscribe, they get access to the program but all they get is free shipping, first access to products and member-only colours and scents. Although the website does not indicate which scents and colours are member-specific only, it is unclear what the amount of value that benefits actually holds. There is also no discount or stamp card benefits that are offered to body and skin care customers.
The Function with Benefits program is a great starting point for the brand. In the early days, the program would have brought a lot of value to the company but since expansion, the program also needs to look at adapting. There are two major faults with the current program.
The first is that it does not reward all customers, particularly those that purchase from Target. The program needs to expand to cover all aspects of the business and potentially cover third-party sales. While I would agree it is a risky move to encourage customers to shop products from a third party, the venture is quite new. One would assume that The Function of Beauty want its customers to take advantage of it. A good option could be to introduce receipt scanning so that members are able to earn when they purchase.
The second problem is that the program is only available to subscribed members, but customers can cancel their subscription at any time. This means that customers can order, get their member discount, and free shipping and then cancel their subscription right after. While I do not know what sort of backend security the program has in place regarding duplicate delivery addresses, there is the risk of fraud with customers creating multiple accounts to consistently use the join bonus of 20% off. The program does have the stamp card function which has been used to attempt to combat this but if the member is not interested in additional products, then they are just as likely to repeat using the join bonus. An effective way to attempt to address this could be to introduce tiers to the program. This way, the brand could introduce a subscribing tier and a non-subscribing tier. The tiers would be based on tenure and how long a member has been a subscriber, or how many orders they have had filled.
Overall, not a bad start for a program but there is definitely room for improvement in the future to turn Function with Benefits, into Functional with Benefits.