Ex-VP of Amazon on Trendio Video Shopping for Prestige Beauty – WWD

Browsing through a video, searching for the key element of a makeup tutorial or a skincare regimen, could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the kind of artificial intelligence at the heart of Trendio Live, a new Video shopping for the high-profile beauty that debuted on mobile streaming and Roku TV.

For Alex Perez-Tenessa, a former beauty industry executive who later ran Amazon Prime Video in the US, and his co-founder, tech start-up guru David Olmos, the app works like a serum. fixing an annoying spot on the face of the video. commerce: the random frustration of altering a timeline to find the parts to skip or watch. Given the outsized influence of streaming product demos, tips and tricks, and similar visual media on beauty product buying decisions, it’s easy to believe that streamlining the whole thing might appeal to consumers. viewers and even speed up the checkout process. It’s the TikTok approach to building an audience, with data intelligence weaving an endless and ultimately addictive stream of clips.

But for Trendio, filling feeds is only part of the equation. The system also reshapes the actual content, programmatically editing videos tailored to each user based on the person’s buying, browsing and viewing habits, to create an experience with singular appeal.

Perez-Tenessa, now CEO of Trendio, explained in an exclusive interview, “We use video AI to automatically edit content, so it will be more engaging for each individual customer, creating truly personalized video content. I don’t think anyone does that today.

The premise aims to bridge the chasm between the physical cosmetics counter and the online store. The former offers targeted advice and explanations, but it’s expensive. Volume-driven e-commerce can fail orientation, leading to customer abandonment.

Enter tailored video as a tool for beauty commerce, instruction, and even entertainment. Perez-Tenessa thinks her time has come because the concept wouldn’t have been possible three years ago. But after advances in video technology and the adoption of more devices paved the way, he “saw an opportunity to address this need for informed shopping in non-recurring categories – particularly in beauty” .

Alex Perez-Tenessa, formerly of Amazon and CVS, now co-founder and CEO of Trendio

The experience is unified and cross-platform, with viewers able to connect to the iPhone or Android app on their smartphone, as well as the streaming TV app, also known as a “channel” in Roku parlance.

The difference is in Trendio’s approach to the video content itself. The more the system gets to know the consumer, the more it can refine the video editing.

“We’re tracking what they’re doing at a very granular level, at the timestamp level, something [most or maybe none of the other] players do. And then we build and train the models so we can automatically edit the videos, so what the customer sees is really what they’re interested in for a given product,” the CEO said. People can skim through these edited clips, TikTok-style on their phones or watch with friends on TV as a form of entertainment in their own right. If they see something interesting, they can click to watch the extended version.

The concept seems to be a rarity among technology and e-commerce solutions.

Apparently others agree, with Perez-Tenessa and Olmos bringing in Amazon Live alum Julie Novak and former Glossier Makeup Category Manager Leah Grubb to work on the platform. shape. Armed with seed funding from Madrona, a venture capital firm that backed Amazon early on, Trendio assembled an advisory board that included former QVC board member Michael Zeisser, the founder of Amazon Live Munira Rahemtulla and former Zulily CEO Jeff Yurcisin.

Trendio

The app’s video AI personalizes the actual content, modifying it based on the user’s preferences and habits.

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According to Perez-Tenessa, many platforms can offer 30-second product previews, but “we think if you find something you’re interested in at these prices, you’ll want to know a little more.”

A longer format provides room to cover the finer points of offerings from Merit, Philosophy, Fig1, Ursa Major, Nudestix, Kjaer Weis, Joanna Vargas, Coola, Avène and others. Forty brands are available at launch, with each product vetted for high-quality ingredients and efficacy. In fact, pretty much everything on the platform has been neatly curated, including the creators. But not the content.

“Once they’re with us, we let them choose,” Perez-Tenessa said. Creators work on a commission basis from sales, so there’s no incentive to promote one product or brand over another. “It’s very important for us not to impose that…we want to make sure that the products they promote, they really like them.”

Trendio’s social video pipeline calculation starts with 75 content creators at launch. They produce an average of five videos per day, or over 300 videos, with plans to grow to over 1,000 and maintain a new set of 1,000-3,000 videos on an ongoing basis. While it shows exponential growth, it’s modest compared to other social or video commerce platforms, especially in light of today’s binge eating habits.

But like other aspects, the company seems less concerned with quantity than quality.

Whether through video uploads or through live shopping events, creators looking for more flexibility and autonomy may find the proposition appealing. They choose which products to showcase, and there’s no pressure to cram a lot of information into a short clip. They’re encouraged to dive deep into their favorite makeup or skincare — Trendio’s two main categories for now — in a variety of ways, from demonstrating tips and techniques to sharing what moved them. in the story of a founder. Then the video AI slices and dices the footage, promising to highlight the best bits, whatever they are for every viewer.

Trendio

Perez-Tenessa promises entertaining and engaging content from a select team of creators.

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The concept touches on the highly controversial issue of the optimal length for social videos. For a time, TikTok’s popularity seemed to land the win for short formats, sparking a series of clones. Instagram has been heavily promoting its short Reels videos, and YouTube Shorts just hit a milestone in October by surpassing 15 billion global views.

Even Amazon, Perez-Tenessa’s former employer, encouraged influencers and creators who tout his products in the marketplace to keep it brief, calling less than a minute ideal.

Meanwhile, the controversial ByteDance-owned sensation that sparked these video sprints has been steadily increasing TikTok’s maximum video length, likely in service of its ongoing buyout initiative.

Although social media and e-commerce platforms remain obsessed with brevity, many support both formats. Not in the same video.

Whether this ultimately makes a big difference to the beauty consumer is an open and fair question. Trendio’s CEO thinks so. Prior to his stint as Amazon’s vice president in charge of books and then U.S. video divisions, Perez-Tenessa was vice president in charge of beauty and personal care at the nation’s largest drugstore company.

“When I ran US Prime Video, I was exposed to new video technologies and new changes in audience demands that opened up opportunities, and they tied into what I had been through as a senior executive. the beauty industry for CVS, that beauty is a complicated category,” he said.

“It’s a scientific category where you have to explain the product and the story behind the product, and demonstrate the product so people understand why it’s worth what it costs and why they should buy a product rather than another. .”

It’s harder than it looks. Because for brands, one of the gravest sins imaginable in retail is committing an act of boredom, especially online, where the fast and the dumb have long ruled. But maybe not anymore.

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