Tech Transformation Podcast: Madison Reed’s Machine Learning Ambitions

In this episode of Tech Transformation, we’re talking about the future of personalization – both in stores and online. We’re talking with Tyler Wozny, Chief Digital Officer for Madison Reed, the hair color brand and retailer that’s using technology to do some pretty amazing things in consumer engagement.

Listen as we dig into such topics as:

  • Where it makes sense to use augmented reality – and where it can become a gimmick
  • How Madison Reed is using machine learning to leverage its 20 million consumer profiles
  • The KPIs it uses to measure success
  • Why they developed a mobile app and how it works for them 
  • How it’s continuing to disrupt as larger CPGs level-up their own personalization capabilities
  • Why choosing a tech partner can sometimes feel a little bit like using Tinder


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“We have a data set [with] close to 20 million hair color profiles …  with a range of information about their hair color, what they’re looking to do, their goals, some of the things they don't like about their hair. With that data, we have a unique ability to mine it for opportunities and insights in our business.

“One use case that we have developed and now implemented is all around driving retention with our consumers. So, maybe we didn't get the color perfect on the first match — how do we know that even before she does, so that we can give her options to either come into a hair color bar or have a call with our licensed colorist on the phone or video consultation? [It’s about] just getting in front of her before she might think of going somewhere else.”

* * * 

“A lot of my counterparts and others in other organizations thought we were crazy. They said, ‘Apps are dead. Why are you building apps?’ We stuck to our guns and launched them early last year, and they've been a massive success. Our hypothesis was correct, which is, when we're on that client's homescreen, the level of engagement just even increases.

“We’ve had well into the six figures of downloads. In that time, we see very high conversion [and] much higher retention of our clients that have the mobile app. … We’re really only just doubling down on those now. As we evolve our membership and client interactions, so much of it is going to be based on our mobile apps, because again, we have that place on our home screen.”

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