Guest article

Forecasting the digital future of cosmetics and personal care retail

Forecasting the digital future of cosmetics and personal care retail

2017 is going to be exciting, but challenging for beauty and personal care companies as they adjust to rapidly changing consumer behavior.  How consumers shop, explore, and discover brands is being reinvented and fast.  Here are my picks for the biggest consumer engagement trends starting in 2017.

Not simply Mobile BUT Mobile commerce will move towards mainstream with the adoption of Apple Pay, Android Pay and the Paypal payment applications. Mobile internet traffic has taken over from desktop which means the use of mobile wallets will continue to increase and customers will not only expect it, they will demand brands make their purchasing experience as easy and as fast as possible.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Chatbots are being incorporated (i.e. Madison Reed and Sephora recently incorporated Chatbots) for a more personalized shopping experience. AI and Chatbots are powerful tools that will change the way customers shop and what products are recommended or suggested to them due to data learning capabilities. The ability to chat on demand, book appointments or get help with choosing a product 24/7 will revolutionize the way customers shop online or even in store. 

The Personalization Revolution Customers want even more personalization, and they want it now. The hair care brand, Function of Beauty, for example, has risen to the challenge with personalized shampoos and conditioners complete with the customer’s name on the bottle. ESalon.com has not only disrupted the at-home hair color business, they have incorporated a prescription for success such as personalized hair color formulas complete with individualized instruction cards. BITE Beauty created the LipLabs where customers can make their own lipstick in any shade, complete with their desired finish and scent. 

Visual Reviews Brands using visual feedback and other technologies to display customer’s reviews via photos such as Instragram or Facebook posts will garner high levels of trust and conversion faster than you can say “buy it”. A consumer today would much rather watch a silent 30-second video with text overlay than read a 2,000 word review. In order to rise above the noise, brands and retailers must ensure that their content is engaging and easily digestible. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, brands must also provide platforms that not only encourage customers to create visual reviews but share them with their own friends or community.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will become more mainstream. AR from technology companies like Perfect365 and ModiFace is already quickly being incorporated by cosmetic brands to allow consumers to virtually try on products in the comfort of their own home using nothing more than their mobile phone. These types of technologies offer consumers more engagement and experience while providing brands with more insights and data which can be applied in other parts of the business. While VR is a little bit further away to mainstream consumers, BellaBox, a subscription beauty box company in Australia, recently used VR to let customers chat directly with the founder thus building a closer bond to their customers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) Connected devices such as Viio Mirrors, Solomomo Vanity Mirror and Skin Wand, Fitbit, Nest, and Alexa will continue to evolve and improve products and consumer’s lives through improved data collection, analysis, and reporting back to the consumer in an actionable fashion. Connected devices will quickly become an integral part of a consumer’s life, recommending the exact time to wake to ensure optimal daily performance to which lipstick or skincare product to wear depending on the time of day and or the weather.

 

Sinead Norenius-Raniere has 20+ years of beauty industry experience working for multi-national brands as well as starting and selling her own. As a Partner at The Pienza Collective, she helps clients develop growth strategies for an ever-changing digital marketing landscape as well as preparing brands for TV Shopping.

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