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Customer engagement is key to staying on top of beauty e-commerce

By Andrew McDougall+

06-Mar-2014
Last updated on 06-Mar-2014 at 15:18 GMT2014-03-06T15:18:58Z

Matching the right product and ensuring consumer engagement is vital to staying ahead in beauty e-commerce, and mobile is tipped to grow in the next few years.

Digital marketing agency PM Digital conducted a study of 45 make-up and skin care brands in the U.S. and found that sales of beauty and personal care items are expected to grow 3-4% annually over the next three years, reaching $81.7 billion by 2017.

Glenn Lalich, Vice President, Research & Analysis of PM Digital, tells CosmeticsDesign.com USA that e-commerce, as well as the emergence of mobile commerce, continue to increasingly lead demand, as pure sales vehicles and branding mechanisms.

“Examples of best practices we’re seeing right now in the industry begin with fundamentals,” he says. “The brands that are implementing a multi-channel approach to cohesively leverage their products and brand messages are ahead of the curve.”

“Ensuring that their deals, incentives, samples, and contests are integrated across all channels and platforms is essential to capturing and maintaining customer engagement.  Also, as mobile plays in increasingly important role in retail, brands are implementing responsive web and email designs to effectively drive a strong cross-channel presence.”

The PM Digital study found that make-up and skin care purchasing decisions stem from the consumer’s desire to create both healthy and beautiful physical perceptions, which is achieved by matching the right products to the customer, which is where search comes in.

Importance of online

Google/Millward Brown research found that almost half of beauty purchasers do not know which brand they will buy when they start shopping, increasing the importance of brand websites as they are the main port of call in this search.

The Google/Millward Brown Digital Beauty Study found that 43% of online shoppers go to five or more beauty websites before making a decision, and ultimately, one in four beauty shoppers make purchases online.

Lalich adds that one way beauty brands can encourage e-commerce purchases is through product bundling as it is an effective way to maintain customer engagement and drive online sales.

“Single or multi-brand bundles relies on customer data, and therefore lends itself to a more personalized and engaging experience,” says Glenn.

“Implementing an efficient bundling practice requires beauty retailers to maintain knowledge of each customers’ buying history so that they can continuously mail new products at the moment their buyers need them.”

There is also the expectation that mobile will enhance in-store commerce as geo-targeted messaging grows in frequency.

“Geo-fencing technologies allow brands to serve existing and potential customers targeted deals and incentives to drive foot traffic to nearby locations,” adds Lalich.

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