Luxury User Experiences: Chanel

If you know me, you know that I'm mildly obsessed with nail polish. I have a large box in my dresser containing various colors and styles – as well as nail art tools. Selecting a polish to wear can sometimes be really difficult (seriously, it's like choosing among children!) so I'll ask my dear husband to weigh in. Most recently, he selected one of my all-time favorite polishes, Essie's Chinchilly.

Chances are you are not like me and know the names of all your favorite nail polishes. However, Chinchilly is a legend so you've probably seen it without knowing you were looking for it. I've had women in the elevator stop me and ask me if the color they are admiring on my fingers is Chinchilly. It's a seriously "greige" color; a bit of neutral and grey and even lavender depending on the light.

Essie Chinchilly on a chilly day
Essie Chinchilly on a chilly day

When I decided to begin painting my nails with my bottle of Chinchilly, I discovered a dire situation — the bottle was past its prime and beyond repair. I have some nail polishes that get a bit gloopy (really thick and barely manageable because they are probably actually expired…) but they are still somewhat useable so I keep them around. But this time, most of the bottle had been used and what was left over was the nail polish equivalent of backwash.

I considered instantly re-buying it on Amazon but I held off because I thought that might be a bit excessive (and dear husband would've surely made fun of me!). Instead I bought a new bottle later at Rite-Aid. But that's not the point. The point is I thought about the experience of re-buying something that you absolutely love.

This reminded me of the web experience for buying nail polish. At one point in my past life, I had access to fashion beauty closets and happened to acquire a bottle of Chanel nail polish at a steep discount. I went to the Chanel online experience to understand how much I had saved when I discovered that they actually have a pretty neat shopping experience.

Auto-replenishment Screenshot
Auto-replenishment Screenshot

One thing that stuck out for me (and still does to this day) is their "auto-replenishment" program. Basically, this is an opportunity for you to buy the product in that moment but also forecast that you might want to re-buy this product in a few months or so (once it either expires or goes bad). You can auto-replenish their products every 1 to 6 months. After a quick Google search, it looks like many other luxe brands offer this service. I imagine they would incorporate this feature for a couple of key reasons:

1. Key Differentiator from Sephora
Yes, I can probably buy any number of Chanel products from Sephora (or Ulta or department stores, for that matter) but none of these companies is as invested in getting me to spend my money on the same thing every month, so they don't offer this functionality. As a result, if all things are equal and I know I will be a repeat customer, I might as well buy from the source which saves me the trouble of re-ordering every time I need a product "top-up."

2. Aspirational Quality
I think we all have an image of a Chanel woman in our heads. She's Parisian chic, well coiffed and smells amazing. Auto-replenishment dovetails nicely with this idea as we can imagine that the secret to her effortless beauty is her monthly supply of Chanel. Having the same products you use over and over again also speaks to the idea of having a very well defined "personal style" and really knowing what works for you versus following trends.

In short, it's the same as Amazon's Subscribe and Save but takes it to a whole new level!