21 July 2020

How has the beauty industry pivoted during the coronavirus pandemic?

Extracts of this post were originally published by CNBC here

In recent months the beauty industry has had to focus on bringing products to life digitally and through virtual experiences as they navigate a world where in-store ‘testers’ will be a thing of the past.

During lockdown, we’ve seen brand leaders innovate to capitalise on sales online. For example, Bobbi Brown and Lancome have introduced a ‘Virtual Try On’ tool that is embedded within their direct to consumer (DTC) platform, allowing consumers to use a webcam or upload a photo of themselves. The product is then superimposed upon the face of the individual in order to replicate the ‘tester’ experience.

Another new mechanism that brands such as Clarins have been incorporating is to offer free specialist appointments online. This allows consumers to speak with a specialist about their skincare concerns and receive personalised advice, much like an in-store beauty counter experience.

Ultimately, much of the beauty industry is still reliant on an in-person experience so brands are needing to revolutionise their business model to enhance the eCommerce experience for their customers.

So, what will the new normal look like?

The casual beauty counter makeover will likely be a thing of the past unless it is pre-booked with pre-selected products ahead of arrival.

Brands will therefore now have to rely more than ever on the digital landscape, prioritising media investments on driving consumers to their DTC platform and eRetail channels in order to carve out their brand story to drive brand awareness and loyalty.

The rise in digital content has allowed brands to step away from the makeup counter and start showcasing their products in new and exciting ways. For example, brands could start providing one-on-one video consultations as well as more “how-to” product videos on their websites, apps, and across social media.

YouTube channels are now filled with beauty tutorials and how-to content. And we’ve already seen user generated content (UGC) and influential marketing helping an array of challenger brands compete with their legacy counterparts.

Indeed, social media engagement is on the increase with Facebook citing a 70% increase in Instagram Live views in the first week of April in the US. We are now seeing beauty brands really engaging with the concept of online tutorials lead by influencers, as consumers across the globe are flocking to online channels to watch their favourite celeb offer advice and showcase products.

Moving forward, social media channels will need to be an extension of a customer’s buying experience, that can encourage seamless transaction journeys from “like” to cart. And with advancements in platforms, such as the launch of Facebook Shops, this will now be possible for big and small brands alike.

Lucy Hawkes, eCommerce Director



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