This Vegan Beauty Brand Is Flipping the DTC Model

Versed will still keep its retail partners with its ecommerce strategy

Versed is officially rolling out its ecommerce experience.
Versed is officially rolling out its ecommerce experience.
Versed

Unlike the usual direct-to-consumer narrative of starting with just an online audience, beauty brand Versed—which first rolled out in Target stores—is now pushing into ecommerce.

The skincare line, which is only five months old, filled shelves in 1,850 Target stores. Then, the brand arrived at Revolve, Riley Rose and Dermastore shops in July. Now, after testing out the retail part of the business, Versed is introducing its DTC website experience.

Part of Versed’s advantage is knowing what its offline and wholesale customers want, and what they are looking for that in that experience—namely product bundling and education.

“Our first goal was to really disrupt that mass skincare aisle that hasn’t changed in decades,” said Melanie Bender, GM for Versed. “But if you look at skincare ecommerce, it also hasn’t changed.”

Bender explains that as part of its wholesale strategy—which included 15 Riley Rose shops and online at Target.com, Dermastore and Revolve—gave the brand insight into how it wanted to build its ecommerce experience. For example, it found that customers wanted to bundle products and build a regimen. So, for its ecommerce site, Versed is bundling three product sets under $50, and four-product sets under $75. Customers can shop prebuilt bundles, or take a skin decoder quiz and bundle from there.

Versed is soon rolling out a texting service at the end of September to guide customers in the right direction about using skincare products. Details around the texting program aren’t totally in place, but Bender said it will be handled by someone with an editorial and beauty background.

“For us, it’s really about being able to support that end to end customer journey,” Bender explained.

While some of that insight came from the retail experience with customers picking up a package and reading the label, Bender explained, it also came from Versed’s private Facebook group, in which users asked questions about the products and skincare.

On Instagram, the brand has received 4,800 direct messages with similar inquiries, such as: if different serums could be layered, or what to do if the customer has eczema, and seasonal questions around skin changes during hot and cold months.

Additionally, the team gained more insights about different products that stand out and top cities. Currently, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Nashville, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Austin and Boulder are its top cities, with customers in California buying breakout treatments versus Texans who move towards aging products. And though the wholesale retail strategy with Target sounds uncanny, Versed is the first brand out of Offspring Beauty incubated by Who What Wear—a company that has a fashion line with Target stores.

As the company moves into ecommerce, it’ll retain all of its retail partners. In conjunction with its “clean beauty” messaging, the brand plans on shipping its products in a combination of recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials. The DTC rollout will not include any paid influencers; only organic creators who are aligned with Versed’s mission, according to Bender. The brand is also set to debut an ambassador program at the end of the year, with details to come.

“For us, we believe that a modern brand is truly omnichannel and does need that mix of DTC Chanels and retail channels,” Bender said. “It’s just how the consumer shops and experiences brands … From the beginning, we’ve known that to have that connection we need that right mix of both.”

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