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What’s In My Jar Shapes Its Customer Journey with MagicBell

Powered by AI, What’s In My Jar helps consumers compare and contrast benefits, claims, and ingredients to decide which product is best for their skincare routine.

When software engineer Stefan Hesse met Maria Semykoz, he wasn’t just meeting another entrepreneurial-minded person - he was meeting a skincare junkie. Stefan’s skincare routine usually consisted of a simple facewash, but Maria was well aware of the hundreds of choices consumers have to make while selecting a good product. Pairing her love of a high-quality skin regime with his flair for computer science, they hatched an idea: what if we could use AI to help people inform their skincare regimens?

Together, they developed a proprietary algorithm that could assess the quality of a product based on its ingredients, and rate how accurate the manufacturer’s claims are. That’s when What’s In My Jar was born.

What’s In My Jar uses AI in three layers:

  1. It crawls the data from commercial websites.
  2. Identifies the products the manufacturer makes.
  3. Leverages a database that can make connections among ingredients.

The AI then designates a rating for each product’s profile on What’s In My Jar, helping users compare and contrast benefits, claims, and ingredients to decide which product is best for them.

The Pitfalls of Email-based Engagement

For the website to be successful, Stefan and Maria wanted to create a sense of community among visitors and keep them coming back.

To increase visitor engagement, the duo created a skincare routine analyzer that would create communities where people could advise each other and have conversations about things like results or techniques.

What’s In My Jar also posts questions to users about their routine to spark a discussion amongst members, establishing a social aspect to the website. 

However, like skincare choices, people already have too many options when it comes to social media, so the co-founders wanted to be smart about how they promoted interaction on the site. Initially, they set up automated email alerts so that whenever someone interacted with a user’s forum post, they’d know.


“That didn’t work well,” Stefan said. “Users see the email and think ‘I’ll check it later, on the website,’ but they never get around to it.”

Stefan Hesse, Co-Founder at What's in My Jar


Stefan decided a better alternative was to ditch the email notifications that had a high neglect rate and opt for in-platform notifications.

He spent an hour trying to build a notification system himself before he realized it was an undertaking that went well beyond his available time. He decided he needed a pre-built option that he could integrate with What’s In My Jar’s backend.

Launching a Notification System in One Hour

In his search for a notification system that required little effort, he asked some founders he’d met at a school for startups. One of them mentioned MagicBell, and Stefan realized it as a brand he already knew from following its founder, Hana Mohan, on Twitter.

MagicBell checked all the items on his list: it was affordable, could be tested in one hour, and offered push notifications - something that would be useful to the What's In My Jar team down the line, if they launched an app.

MagicBell was fully integrated into What’s In My Jar’s platform in about a week.

Now, any time someone who has subscribed to notifications interacts with a user’s post, they’ll see a little bell in the corner with a red dot when they visit the website.

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MagicBell Notification Inbox implemented on What's in My Jar browser dashboard

When visitors click on the icon, they get a quick overview of the activity relevant to them. Stefan said this has created a user engagement strategy that is much more in line with the team’s vision.

“We don’t want to send out emails and annoy users, so we like MagicBell’s philosophy that less is more,” Stefan said.

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MagicBell Notification Inbox implemented on What's in My Jar browser dashboard

Growing Notifications with the Product

As What’s In My Jar gains traction with users, notifications play an important role in retaining them.

The user journey starts with answering questions about their routine so that the website’s AI can track their log-ins and monitor their “skin happiness.” Occasionally, they will re-answer the questions for qualitative measurement of results.

What’s In My Jar will use MagicBell’s notification system to enhance the user experience through various steps in their journey. As the company grows, they see the value in building an app but want to use the same purposeful caution around push notifications they did with email and in-platform notifications. 


“An alert has to be important if we issue push notifications to users,” Stefan said. “In-app notifications are different. Push notifications done incorrectly can feel like an invasion of privacy.”

Stefan Hesse, Co-Founder at What's in My Jar


Stefan and Maria know MagicBell shares that sentiment. We look forward to watching this promising startup grow with us. And in the meantime, we’ve really upped our skincare routine.

MagicBell is a perfect addition to collaborative and communication apps, enabling multi-channel notifications, and ensuring users stay on top of their work across browser, mobile, or in-app.

Unlock the full potential of your app with a perfect notification stack.

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