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Mobile technology has increased value for beauty brands, but work still to be done

By Andrew McDougall+


The growth of mobile technology has been noticed by beauty brands, which see the value of smartphones and tablets as research tools and m-commerce vehicles, although there is still work to be done to optimize the platform.

Mobile devices have seen strong growth with new innovations every few months all trying to better the last and the ubiquity of this technology means that the consumer goods and retail industries have had to take note to keep on top.

We seem to live in an on-the-go world where consumers want information, interaction and the power to purchase whenever and wherever they are. (You may even be reading this article on your smartphone or tablet now!)

Mobile optimized

The beauty industry is trying to stay on top of this on-going trend. New research from New York-based firm L2 Thinktank shows that nearly three quarters of beauty sites are now mobile optimized, up from 50% in 2012.

Also, 80% of mobile sites facilitate purchase either directly or via a third-party and more than half leverage mobile native touch swipe and geo-location technology.

However there is still work to be done: In the transition to mobile, 72% of Beauty sites pare down product page features, according to the digital market research company. Cross-selling is the most frequently omitted feature, absent from 40% of mobile sites.

Although reading reviews is the most popular mobile activity cited by beauty shoppers, 15% of brands do not provide the capability to read or submit reviews via their mobile sites.

Tablet preference

The Digital IQ Index Beauty report shows that tablets are the preferred choice of mobile device for beauty consumers: 43% use tablets to research beauty purchases, trumping the 34% that use smartphones.

“Consumers are also more likely to replenish beauty products via tablet,” says L2. Although there is still work to be done as it adds that “some brands have been proactive in integrating tablets in the store experience, but few have prioritized delivering consumers a tablet-optimized site experience, and 91% revert to their desktop site.”

Chanel, Proactiv, and Shiseido are the only brands with tablet-specific sites, and less than a third of sites feature swipeable content, according to the report.

Efforts to streamline the purchase process on tablets are also limited. 18% of e-commerce-enabled brand sites do not support cart continuity, forcing consumers to re-initiate the purchase process.

Work to be done

There is still work to be done in the app world too, as although mobile site adoption has ballooned year over year, mobile app development has stagnated with the exception of a 6% increase in iPad-compatible apps.

L2 says that four-in ten beauty-exclusive iPhone apps have received less than 10 ratings on iTunes and 60% have a three-star or less rating.

It is not all bad news though, as it may offer beauty brands a great opportunity to maximise the potential that this holds.

L2’s report can be seen here

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