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Goop answers pseudoscience criticism by coming clean about its product benefits.

What happened

  • After growing a business by amassing a devoted following of customers who believed in product benefits not necessarily backed by science—and receiving flak from consumers and scientists alike—Goop is working on transparency. Recently, the company took on two new hires with a PhD in nutritional science—one of whom will apply expertise in Chinese medicine to create and endorse new SKUs.
  • Alongside Goop’s product descriptions, shoppers will also find tags ranging from “For Your Enjoyment”—which implies a lack of scientific backing for a fun product—“Ancient Modality”—pointing to centuries of use, even if contemporary research hasn’t substantiated it yet—and “Rigorously Tested”, with backing from the MD and PhD realm. These classifications will be applied to older blog posts and product descriptions over time.

Why it matters

  • As Gwyneth Paltrow expands the Goop empire—with the help of the $50 million March fundraise meant to develop the company’s global reach and ecommerce operations—addressing critics, or at least acknowledging the lack of professional merit behind many of its products, will be a key driver for growth.
  • Right now, 40% of Goop’s sales come from the fashion category and another 40% come from beauty—but the last 20% of sales are based in the more elusive “wellness” category, which happens to be growing the fastest of all. Recognition of the benefits and/or scientific justification for products, particularly for those in the wellness category like supplements and skincare items—or acknowledgement that they are just for fun—will bring newfound transparency to the company, which will help mollify past criticism and build brand equity.

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