April 1, 2019
  |   Blog, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce

Beauty Shoppers Spend 80% of Their Time in This Crucial Phase of the Buying Process

Which verticals do you think consumers spend the most time researching products? Fashion? Beauty? Technology? Your first guess might be fashion or technology. Fashion consumers need to determine if something is the right fit and size, technology consumers dive deep into the quality of products and how the features align with their needs. But this is an article about the beauty industry, so of course, the answer must be beauty.

Beauty consumers spend 80% of their buying process in the research phase. In comparison, it’s 69% for fashion shoppers and 65% for technology shoppers. You think this would imply that beauty shoppers find what they needed more often. However, the average woman owns 40 beauty products, but only uses about five of those items.

This means that 87% of beauty products purchased go unused. Beauty shoppers enjoy finding new products, but their digital experiences are lacking the information they need to make the right purchase the first time.

Imagine this was the case for other everyday items where we typically only use one brand. We’d have eight different types of laundry detergents in our cabinets or coffee makers on our counters. It doesn’t make sense.

As a brand, how do you enhance the research phase to drive the consumer along the buying process and ensure they buy the right product for their needs?

Strategically Place User-Generated Content Throughout the Site

For digitally native brands, it’s difficult to emulate the try-on and test experience found in most beauty retailers and stores. User-generated content (UGC) allows brands to share genuine, authentic images and videos of customers from all backgrounds to give their shoppers an idea of how a product would work based on their hair or skin type.

In fact, 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than images or videos from a brand. And, these users are twice as likely to share user content because they want their friends to see it. To implement a UGC strategy, a brand needs a process to manage customer content as well as a tech stack to collect content, strategically place throughout the ecommerce site, and push through social and email campaigns, such as Yotpo. Gathering customer reviews and content is the foundation for any successful UGC Strategy.

Jack Black, a luxurious men skincare brand, leveraged UGC throughout its ecommerce site to provide clarity and promote the positive results of its products. Working with Blue Acorn iCi’s design team, Jack Black updated the homepage to include a stream of Instagram photos from real customers and its own Instagram account. On the product display pages (PDPs), shoppers will find customer reviews along with more UGC images.

As brands gather reviews, this opens the opportunity to empower customers to answer each other’s questions and comments, as was the case for Jack Black. Jack Black shoppers can vote on the helpfulness of product reviews and ask and answer questions directly on the PDP.

Justify Your Product Pricing

When researching beauty products, pricing is one of the first things customers look at. Depending on what they’re looking for, they could either be using the price to determine the quality of the product or determine if it’s budget-friendly. In either scenario, what type of information do you need to justify the price?

For higher-priced items, the answer is information. Think about the ingredients in the products and what makes them superior. For example, Peter Thomas Roth, a high-end skincare brand, provides detailed ingredient information on every PDP, highlighting the key ingredients and the purpose of each one, as well as an Ingredient Glossary on the footer. By giving customers full transparency on the ingredients, Peter Thomas Roth proves their worth—allowing shoppers to overcome the above average price tag.

While there is an overall desire to own luxury products, budget-friendly beauty brands have an opportunity to support the quality of their brand with reviews and UGC. Say a customer is comparing a $50 foundation with your brand’s $15 foundation. The price may give them an initial impression that the $50 one is better. But, if you strategically place reviews and UGC on the product display pages, you can prove that while it’s a cheaper product, it produces first-class results.

Join the Conversation on Social Media

Gone are the days where beauty brands and retailers dictated the definition of beauty with supermodels and actresses. Social media completely upended the reach for unattainable beauty by giving everyday consumers a platform to share beauty tips and new brands. Early in YouTube’s existence, many users took advantage of the video-sharing website to publish how-to makeup videos and product reviews—bridging the gap between consumers and the technical side of beauty.

Over the years, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest have gone far beyond sharing reviews and evolved into tight-knit communities for consumers with similar interests and skin/hair needs. It’s where consumers look for new products and share their personal needs with other users.

This provides brands the perfect opportunity to directly chat with customers during the research phase. Not only does this allow you to provide relevant product recommendations in real-time, but it also gives you a chance to gather one-on-one feedback. Don’t have a product the shopper is looking for? Take the feedback back to your team and figure out what you could do to enhance an existing product or create a new product based on the customer’s requirements. Today, beauty is no longer a consequence of mixing ingredients in the laboratory, but a result of direct collaboration with consumers.

Use Influencers to Provide Trustworthy Product Reviews

While most people would agree the influencer market is highly saturated, they still remain an integral part of the marketing strategy. Likely due to the fact that 69% of consumers pay more attention to ads from sources they know and trust. Another study found that 74% of Millennials and Gen Z oppose targeted ads in social media feeds from brands. However, 92% of consumers believe influencer recommendations are authentic.

Not only do influencers allow brands to reach new audiences, but they also give them a platform to humanize the brand and show audiences how to use a product from someone they trust. Tracking the success of influencers can be tricky, but Caitlin Schwartz, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Salesforce, offered a few tips in Blue Acorn iCi’s Beauty Ecommerce Report:

“In order to effectively track the success of influencer marketing, beauty marketers first need to establish clear goals around their influencer campaigns. Marketers then need to define the KPIs that can help them measure their success against these goals. Once these two major tasks are complete, beauty brands need to do their research and select the right influencers that will help them achieve these goals. Once the relationship has been started and the campaign has been activated, brands can use tools such as Google Analytics to track and measure against these KPI’s.”

The modern beauty consumer thirsts for knowledge. They want to know how a product is used, what ingredients are present, and what other customers think of the item before making a decision.

To learn more about the modern beauty consumer, what matters to them, and how they think when making beauty purchases, download our Beauty Ecommerce Report here.

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