Best of beauty- how beauty has remained robust in 2023

Published: 21-Nov-2023

What can other industries and retailers learn from the beauty industry to get ahead of the curve

In a year where consumers have tightened their belts and retailers are increasingly needing to find innovative ways to retain customers and woo new ones, the beauty industry, typically defined as skincare, fragrance, makeup, and haircare, has remained on top in terms of sales and customer loyalty.

Currently valued at €80 billion in retail sales, Europe is one of the largest markets for beauty and personal care products in the world and remains the third most popular category for eCommerce in Europe. So much so that eCommerce sales in beauty nearly quadrupled between 2015 and 2022. When it comes to purchasing both essential and luxury beauty and cosmetics products, consumer habits have rapidly shifted from shopping in traditional bricks-and-mortar stores to online and social commerce, with channels like TikTok and Instagram becoming the go-to for shoppers. With beauty in the driving seat boasting robust sales and customer loyalty, the pressing question is: what can other industries and retailers learn from beauty’s adoption of shopping channels, as well as customer experience, infrastructure and cross border strategy to get ahead of the curve?

Optimising the omni-channel approach

The success of the omni-channel for beauty fulfilment is down to the seamless experience it offers. By integrating all shopping platforms, both high-street and luxury brands are able to capture long- term loyalty through the ability to create a more bespoke packaging experience as well as brand representation upon delivery, helping strike the important balance between personalisation and convenience. The customer is at the very heart of the omni-channel approach, granting consumers the choice of multiple delivery options, including BOPIS, same-day delivery, and curbside, to name a few. The flexibility of this approach drives the reassurance that the customer can receive their product exactly how they want to receive it, when they want. With beauty brands shaping a bespoke experience for their customer, other industries should pay attention to the ways in which they are keeping their customers satisfied with personalised, convenient order fulfilment.

Collaboration influencing the beauty landscape

Whilst collaborations are commonplace across all corners of retail, beauty is driving the importance of picking the right partner association for a brand. In today’s evolving landscape, influencers and even ‘micro-influencers’ can affect customer purchasing power alongside more traditional partnerships with other businesses, and brands can benefit immensely from incorporating influencer marketing strategies. With celebrities like Kylie Jenner living and breathing their own brand as influencers, and using the popularity of their following to directly promote products to their fanbase via social platforms, they cut out the middleman and make their audience feel their products, and lifestyle, are achievable. On a wider scale, by collaborating with influencers to promote their products on social media, brands can increase their brand awareness, attract more traffic to their website, and ultimately boost their retail sales and customer journeys.

British beauty brand, Lush, is one such brand capitalising on collaboration in the more traditional sense, reporting phenomenal retail sales from its licensed partnerships this year with more in the pipeline. Lush has been on the forefront of emerging trends this year, benefiting from the ‘Barbie- mania’ that impacted retail following the release of the smash hit film. The bathing collection collaboration achieved day one sales of £138,000 – the biggest sales day reported in its app history.

Tech innovations in customer experience

This year has seen beauty brands raise their game in terms of harnessing tech to create the desired outcome for both their customers and their sales pipeline. Staple favourites like Liberty London made waves when they transformed their customer service which was being run from a switchboard and a shared email inbox to an AI plug-in that could offer customers service over phone, chat, email and WhatsApp. It goes without saying that effective customer service is at the heart of why some brands perform so well. In the beauty space, offering high-touch customer service in the form of carefully selected agents passionate about your brand is integral to navigating any challenges and reassuring customers that their best interests are at the heart of the brand experience on offer.

The personal touch

The cherry on the cake of beauty fulfilment lies in personalisation. Brands like Sephora are leading the charge in offering personalised experiences that are omni-channel in their very nature. The Sephora app enables customers to virtually try on products and receive recommendations based on their personal beauty traits. They can then use the app when visiting the bricks-and-mortar store to find the products they have virtually sampled. This is a prime example of a 360-degree approach taken by some beauty brands to leverage their offering across all channels, and make it as seamless and personalised as possible, especially when it comes to trying cosmetics which are always unique to the individual.

Beauty brands are untouchable and unmatched not only in sales this year, but also in how those sales are generated. Creating a one brand, personalised experience by harnessing the right fulfillment options, tech advancements and customer service, has led beauty to be an industry to be reckoned with. Retailers across other industries should learn the lessons displayed by beauty brands, in order to set precedence in both sales and customer loyalty for the years ahead.

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