Over the past year, prominent brands have taken an array of measures to develop online commerce—from distribution partnerships with online marketplaces, to site launches and redesigns as wells as online-only cosmetics brands expanding to reach consumers internationally.
Industry analysts advise brands to get in the game by focusing on mobile, personalizing the online shopping experience, engaging consumers across platforms and devices, and more.
Busy, busy, busy
Brands compete fiercely for that 10% of sales. The e-commerce space is replete with apps, sites, advertising, posts and updates from brands chasing consumer attention. Online / mobile “is the hotbed of activity with sites from marketers, traditional retailers, and pureplay retailers all going after consumers’ beauty dollars,” explains Barson.
Digital beauty consultants
Interceding between consumers and beauty consultants or shop staff, e-commerce technology gets direct-from-brand digital messaging in front of shoppers.
“Use of beacon technology is increasing in specialty stores that help alert consumers via their smartphones to special offers / prices and information when they are in the store,” says Barson.
Plus, she goes on to say, “augmented reality tools, such as the iMirror, where a consumer can upload their photo and play with products, helps in purchasing decisions.”
Makeup tutorial videos, brand sites, peer-to-peer community markeplaces and the like all serve as vibrant resources for today’s digital consumers. It’s important for brands to realize that “consumers are relatively channel agnostic; but desire a consistent experience no matter which channel they chose to interact with the retailer.”
“In order to stay relevant, marketers and retailers must constantly adjust their retail strategies to embrace new devices,” submits Barson. “Even if consumers are purchasing in-store, they are using mobile devices to check out product details, reviews, price comparisons, promotions, etc. before actually making the purchase.”
Conventional retail is here to stay: “Physical brick-and-mortar stores are not going away and will still account for the bulk of the beauty sales,” predicts Barson.
Internet and mobile beauty sales will continue to grow, however, in part because “smartphones and tablets are transforming the shopping experience.”
Competition from beyond mainstream channels is growing too. “Apparel and vertically-integrated specialty stores are increasingly competing in the beauty business,” observes Barson, whose analysis is informed with her company’s research, like the Beauty Retailing USA: Alternate Channel Monitor report that the consultancy updates every six months with regular insights and dynamics on those ever-evolving alternate channels.
It will be a mix of e-commerce, m-commerce, and traditional retail that carries beauty brands forward this year. Digital commerce figures will rise, but that 10% of sales isn’t likely to double in 2015.