Julep is a beauty ecommerce site that offers a monthly subscription service. This post looks at two entry points to the delivery subscription (called “Maven”): via a referral gift email from an existing customer and via a new user visiting the site of her own volition.

The good bits

  • The referral email accommodates new and existing customers, as it has two sections: “New to Maven?” and “Already a Maven?” The new-to-Maven user can see the 3 steps involved in redeeming her gift.
  • Once a referred new user signs up for Maven via the email link, she takes a “style profile” quiz. It asks a series of 5 visual questions to customize her first shipment.  Quizzes are an explicit method of adding personal focus to a new user’s experience.
  • At the end of the style profile quiz, the referred new user is able to see exactly what products she will receive and is given the option of changing them. This flexibility and transparency builds trust with a new user. Subscription services that don’t reveal what is being shipped risk having a new customer disappointed, which can lead to cancellations of service.
  • The not-referred new user will enter via Julep’s website. The home page of Julep.com gives this not-referred new user a broad overview of its product line and beauty expertise. She can browse or order from the a la carte store, all ways of inspiring a new user to make a longer term commitment via the Maven subscription service.
  • For the not-referred new user, the “Join Maven” page establishes exactly what can be expected in a Maven shipment box.  It details how Maven works, lets the new user see the contents of current and past boxes, shows that products can be swapped, and displays customer testimonials from Twitter. The top and bottom of the page is bookended by the same “Join Now” action, so it’s always clear what the next step is.
  • The not-referred new user is not required to create an account to buy the Maven welcome box. Instead, she will be prompted to create an account later if she wants to change her future shipments.
  • After either the referred or not-referred new user confirms her first Maven subscription, she gets a follow-up email with even more details about how Maven works. This is a way of gradually educating a user over time when deeper levels of detail become more relevant.  The new user could always find this content on her own by going to the FAQ section of the website.
  • On the shipment tracking page the new user can see unboxing videos from other customers. This is a great way to build further excitement as the new user waits for her delivery.
  • The first shipment includes welcome messaging with more granular details about the service. The box also includes a sticker that points the new user to the mobile app. Coordinating packaging with user state is a powerful way to reinforce a product’s personal focus; subsequent packages include inserts that are focused on the existing user’s status.

To be improved:

  • The referred user is required to create an account but is given less information about Maven than a not-referred new user. The referral email doesn’t provide any details about the products available, examples of shipments, or customer testimonials. When the referred user taps “Get started” in the email, she is taken to a log in/sign up page instead of having the option to get her first welcome box without an account. The referred new user may not have gotten information about Maven from the referrer and may be hesitant to create an account, even for a gift.
  • Julep should consider treating the referred new user a bit more like the not-referred new user by giving her more information in the referral email and where it links to, and by letting her get her first shipment sans account.
  • The style quiz cannot be accessed until after sign-up. Instead, Julep should turn it into a free sample: Allow new users to take the quiz and get the results before signing up, with an action to create an account at the end. This would add a personal focus and a bit of fun to the new user’s experience, both of which would give her more reason to follow through with signing up.
  • Packaging should always be kept up to date and consistent with its digital counterparts. In the case of this particular new user experience, the “Welcome” promotion had expired 2 months earlier.  An email to the company resolved the issue, but this kind of mistake may negatively affect the unboxing experience.