Beauty becomes a digital beast
Beauty and self-care are famously fickle categories where sales have traditionally been dependent on high-touch, personalized experiences in retail stores (think Macy’s, Ulta, et al). Even so, online sales in these categories, particularly self-care products, have soared during the coronavirus outbreak.
Many consumers have taken the direct route, purchasing from brands online for the first time. Ekta Chopra, VP, digital for e.l.f. Cosmetics revealed earlier this week at the eTail Virtual Summit that more than 60 percent of its online customers during the pandemic have been first-time visitors to the brand’s site.
Now that stores are reopening again — but without the samples and testers that shoppers rely upon during the buying process — digital engagement continues to be super important. Digital executives on the online conference shared details on techniques and tools for communication, education, personalization and community connection for customers, store associates and brand teams. These included:
- Surveys: Bethany McDaniel, founder of Primally Pure, said her company uses Google Surveys to get real-time feedback from customers, and during the pandemic it has seen a significant increase in responses (no surprise). This insight was valuable in identifying consumer needs, shaping brand messages and creating new content.
- Online Quizzes: Astral Health and Beauty (Aloette, butter London, Cosmedix, Pur) uses an interactive Q&A to educate and engage visitors, helping them select products from skin care to deodorants, according to Christine Monaghan, VP, digital for the company.
- Augmented Reality Tech: It’s been said that timing is everything and e.l.f. proved the adage when it launched its Virtual Try On makeup AR app at the beginning of March. It’s available as a mobile app as well and has delivered a very high conversion rate for e.l.f. by guiding consumers to select the right look and products.
- Social Media: Astral is leveraging Facebook posts, YouTube tutorials and video chats to educate and connect with store associates and customers as well as receive real-time feedback. For e.l.f., its social efforts have refocused digital marketing funds, channels, messages and content on education to address top of the funnel (new) visitors.
- Community: Primally Pure launched a 14-day Gua Sha Challenge that resulted in a 400 percent sales increase for the line and generated lots of social media coverage. For those not in the know, gua sha is an ancient healing technique within traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that rejuvenates the skin.
- How blemished are beauty retailers by COVID-19? – RetailWire
- Beauty brands’ pandemic-era content aims to be more than skin deep – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect digital engagement to continue to grow as a factor in the sales of beauty and self-care products as stores reopen? Are the lessons from the use of digital technology by beauty and self-care brands during the pandemic transferable to other product categories?