By Bruce E. Teitelbaum and Julie R. Bartholomew, M.D.

We were excited to learn about the inaugural launch of the First Annual Personalization Index in 2017 as it shows just how powerful personalization and customization will be for years to come.

For 2017, Sephora was given top honors because:

“Sephora stands out from its peers with a robust digital personal shopper that specifically tailors product recommendations to a customer’s exact skin type and tone, as well as her eye and hair color.”

In 2-3 years from now, we’ll most likely chuckle about the “robustness” of tailored product recommendations as the category leader will most certainly leverage predictive personalization alongside a customer’s ability to formulate their own products delivered in real-time by their favorite brands via their favorite retailers.



For 2017, this index provides an accurate (albeit a “first look”) snapshot of where the top retailers rank in terms of their own commitments to customization and personalization.

We would like to see a similar personalization index tailored to the beauty brands themselves. Eventually, top brands such as L’Oréal will compete not only with direct competitors such as Shiseido, but may also find themselves competing with hybrid competitors / retailers such as Amazon Go.

Not only is Amazon (#17 on the PI list) in the business of disrupting retailers like Walmart (#3 on the PI list), but they are also the furthest along in leveraging their customer’s data to deliver highly relevant and customized experiences. It’s a natural next step to go from sophisticated static-product recommendations to data-driven and predictive formulations of beauty products.



What we found fascinating in the Personalization Index was a healthy mix of traditional retailers doing innovative work combined with digital pure play retailers who have also found innovative ways to create and monetize innovative customization and personalization techniques.

What stands out is that when it comes to the personalization space, all retailers appear to be headed toward the same outcome. Amazon is working diligently to become more like Walmart, while Walmart is working equally hard to become more like Amazon.

In 2013, the term omnichannel emerged as a means to signify that consumers want to have seamless experiences online, in-store and via their mobile devices. Beyond the omnichannel experience, however, is being completely in the driver’s seat at the product level.

According to FastCompany:

“To quote my fiancé: “You pressed a few buttons and suddenly you’re Estée Lauder? It was quite a simple process: Finding Ferdinand sends a lip palette in the mail, which you use to mix your preferred shade. Then, you submit a rough estimate of the colors through the company’s website, which allows up to 65,000 color combinations. It might be just a beauty product, but I felt powerful, like I owned that cosmetic. “Beauty is a very personal thing,” says Finding Ferdinand founder Nhu Le. “People don’t want to be told. They want to choose what looks good.”

Of course, the next level of personalization won’t require bouncing to a website and waiting a minimum of 3 to 5 days in order to receive your personal products via mail. True personalization will extract the rich customer data from a customers’ mobile device, use augmented reality and artificial intelligence, guide them through the selection and personalization process and then build their very own product right before their eyes.

Initially, this patent-protected approach will be a competitive advantage that is well beyond today’s personalization efforts, which are currently lifting revenues by as much as 10%. Eventually, customers will demand personalization in real-time and the retailers and brands that can deliver will win the war of personalization.



Yes, of course we’re biased. RPG and IMX have joined forces because we believe that together, RPG x IMX’s patent portfolio and decades of in-store retail excellence will disrupt the $438 billion global beauty industry.

This is why we set the minimum bid for this patent portfolio at $500 million. We hired an independent third party consultancy who took an extremely conservative view and ended up well north of this minimum bid. We’d be happy to share this research with you should you be interested in receiving our due diligence package.



If you would like an opportunity to participate in this process, please email or call (212) 246-3780.