Madison Reed Rolls Out Digital Swatch Panel Experience to Engage Shoppers and Gather Insights

Hair color company Madison Reed is making its Color Bar stores more engaging for customers with the deployment of a new digital swatch panel experience at four locations: New York, Miami, Chicago and Boston.

The beauty brand partnered with custom retail display company OnQ to develop the new interactive experience — featuring a 46-inch touchscreen by Elo integrated with OnQ’s Converge digital engagement platform — which has become a supplement to Madison Reed’s on-site color specialists. Customers are able to explore Madison Reed hair color products via a self-assisted product education journey that helps them select the perfect shade. More importantly, the dashboard technology allows Madison Reed to learn more about the shopper journey by gathering data on product choices, consumer behavior and content performance — and using those insights to inform in-store offerings across different retail formats.

“Helping someone discover their perfect shade is the most important interaction we have with our customers,” said Andrew Lande-Shannon, Senior Director of Store Experience for Madison Reed in a statement. “Enhancing the process with the digital swatch panel introduces a certain air of playfulness that makes the whole experience much more approachable and fun. Offering a consultation process that’s driven by a digital tool not only shows that Madison Reed is a digitally minded company, but it also supports our omnichannel strategy to deliver a consistently rewarding experience both online and in store.”

With more than four dozen shades to choose from, Madison Reed wanted to create an intuitive experience for customers to easily narrow their choices, filtering by the customer’s desired hair color, level of gray coverage and color intensity. By tapping their way through this series of questions, customers arrive at their “perfect color,” and then have the option to “text me this shade.”


By entering their mobile number or scanning a QR code, customers receive full details about their chosen shade so they can take the experience home with them, get advice from others and then complete their purchase. Of the 1,500+ customers who visited the display during the testing period, nearly 12% of them sent the experience to their phone to continue at a later time. 

Customers also have the option of taking the Madison Reed color quiz by entering their mobile number or scanning a QR code. This series of 12 questions about the customer’s hair type and desired results is one of the most popular tools on the Madison Reed website, and the company wanted to bring that experience in-store. Sending the quiz to the customer’s phone brings yet another interactive element into the store while adding convenience and privacy.

Additionally, the digital swatch panel experience includes a library of informative videos that can either be viewed on the display or sent directly to the customer’s phone for later viewing. Video content includes tutorials about home hair coloring, as well as company history, to create a deeper connection between customers and the Madison Reed brand.

Using Data to Enhance the Customer Journey

While the new digital swatch panel experience improves the in-store experience, it also gives the brand access to data that paints a detailed picture of the customer journey. Each point of interaction with the new digital swatch panels is captured by OnQ’s Converge digital engagement platform, giving insight into how and when customers engage with the screen. 

Madison Reed personnel have access to a detailed dashboard that gives aggregate and average data for the number of product visits, interactions, session duration and video plays. Additionally, the technology logs every time a customer sends content to their phone, identifying which content is most interesting and useful to the shopper.

Madison Reed piloted the digital swatch panel experience in two of its full-service Color Bars and two of its retail-only locations. Deploying in this mixed environment enabled the company to gain insights on customer engagement habits at each location type. For example, customers in Madison Reed’s retail-only locations researched an average of 2.86 products, while Color Bar customers researched an average of 1.79 products. Similarly, customers at the retail-only locations were more likely to view instructional videos than customers at the Color Bar locations.

This data suggests that Madison Reed’s retail-only locations attract a broader customer base, many of whom are not yet familiar with the company’s products. Moving forward, this customer engagement data will help guide the way the brand presents its products to customers within its different store formats.

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