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The New Beauty Shopping Experience: How to Deliver What Customers Want in 2023

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For many consumers, the pandemic was an opportunity to rethink their beauty routines. In the absence of schools, offices and social gatherings, shoppers felt comfortable experimenting with simplified hair and makeup regimens. As a result, beauty sales fell 15% in 2020. 

Although sales rebounded, how consumers engaged with beauty brands changed forever. Over the last three years, the beauty industry witnessed shifting consumer trends, the rise of new channels, and the acceleration of ecommerce. For brands, addressing the needs of the new beauty consumer is a top priority.

The New Beauty Shopping Experience

Today, consumers are channel-agnostic. Shoppers prefer speed and convenience over loyalty to a specific channel. For beauty brands, the ability to reach consumers where they shop is essential. 

Brands no longer depend on prominent retailers—such as Sephora or Nordstrom—to gain legitimacy. This decentralization of the beauty shopping experience has led brands to embrace new channels.

The Growth of Social Commerce

According to Accenture, social commerce will reach $1.2 trillion in sales by 2025. While social commerce is popular across the retail industry, the benefits for the beauty sector are unmatched. Accenture predicts that the beauty industry will generate 40% of all digital spending on social media platforms. 

For beauty brands, social media is an ideal platform to inspire product discovery and education. The Influencer Marketing Factory found that 68% of Gen Z consumers watch at least three product review videos before making a first-time purchase. 

The rise of livestreaming

At the same time, livestreaming as a channel is growing. Coresight Research predicts that the US livestreaming retail market will reach $25 billion by 2023. 

With 71% of Gen Z and 69% of millennials interested in livestream shopping, the channel allows brands to engage with younger consumers in real time. Shoppers can watch live product tutorials, ask questions and buy products on the spot. 

When L’Oreal hosted a virtual beauty festival in Malaysia, the brand saw a 12% post-engagement rate and four times the sales than an average day. For beauty brands, livestreaming is an untapped opportunity to drive engagement, build community and increase sales. 

The resurgence of shop-in-shops

While shop-in-shops are not new, the concept has flourished in recent years. Earlier this year, Target announced that the specialty retailer would add 250 Ulta shop-in-shops by the end of 2022. Kohl’s plans to include Sephora in all 850 locations by 2023. 

For beauty brands and big-box retailers, these partnerships are a win-win. Larger stores increase foot traffic, drive cross-shopping and lower operating costs. At the same time, beauty retailers meet consumer demands for speed and convenience. Shop-in-shops also lower the risks and costs associated with physical retail.

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How to Meet the New Beauty Consumer in 2022

Consumers prefer quality over quantity

As consumers headed back to offices and schools, many embraced a more natural look. In 2021, weekly use of makeup was down 28%, and lipstick was down 40% compared to 2019. 

Today, consumers buy fewer products, opting for high-quality ingredients at premium prices. Traackr found luxury fragrances have seen a 46% increase in engagement online year over year. 

With consumers becoming more conscious of what they put on their bodies, clean beauty is also gaining in popularity. While natural beauty products made up 18% of all beauty sales in 2017, the category represented 21% of sales in 2021. 

New and mature brands see success in investing in clean beauty. When Kiehl’s reformulated its Ultra Facial Cream to remove parabens, sales of the product increased by five million dollars. 

Consumers want brands committed to sustainability

At the same time, consumers are demanding more sustainable practices from brands. While a focus on sustainability is not new, consumers are more wary of greenwashing. Today, consumers want brands that are investing in a circular economy. 

Across the category, brands are looking for innovative ways to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.

  • Supergoop and Bare Republic sell reef-friendly sunscreens to reduce the industry’s impact on oceans. 
  • Ethique creates skin, hair and body care bars that eliminate packaging waste.
  • REN Clean Skincare has pledged to be zero-waste across its supply chain by as early as next year. 

Consumers expect inclusivity 

A 2020 study—commissioned by Sephora—found that three out of four shoppers felt brands failed to showcase a diverse range of skin tones, body types and hair textures. While this was true across the retail industry, the sentiment increased when looking at beauty and apparel brands.

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Today, consumers demand a commitment to diversity and inclusivity across the shopping experience. This includes investing in diverse founders, product development, marketing and customer service.

Consumers demand personalization

For the retail industry, personalization is more important than ever. But beauty consumers want more than customizable packaging and engraving. Instead, brands use new technology to create products that speak directly to their customers’ needs.

  • YSL Beauty recently created the YSL Scent Station. The brand partnered with Emotiv—a neurotechnology company—to create a sensor that helps shoppers determine their ideal scent based on emotions. Shoppers wear headsets for 25 minutes and work with a trained beauty advisor. 
  • Neutrogena customers are awaiting the release of MaskID, one of the first commercially available bioprinted products. Shoppers complete a face scan that processes over 100,000 skin pixels. The scan will analyze skin needs and recommend personalized ingredients. Neutrogena will then ship a personalized micro-3D printed face mask to your door. 
  • Last year, L’Oreal launched My Skin Track UV. The sensor—which clips onto clothing—measures a person’s exposure to UV rays, pollution, pollen and humidity. L’Oreal then sends customers personalized product recommendations based on the data collected. 
  • Anastasia Beauty offers Shade Finder, a digital tool to help customers find their ideal eyebrow shade. Customers text a photo of themselves to the brand, and a sales advisor suggests products based on skin tone.

Consumers still want in-person experiences

Despite the growth of eCommerce, physical retail remains an essential channel. For beauty brands, stores are an opportunity to support the omnichannel journey and provide consumers with memorable experiences. 

  • Customers can build their own fragrances at Aroma-Zone. The French retailer showcases all its ingredients and uses QR codes to encourage shoppers to research raw materials. Customers then use tablets to build custom scents. Natural beauty advisors are also available to consult with consumers. 
  • At Lip Lab, customers create custom lipstick. Shoppers pick a shade, finish and add a flavor. Customers can then name their shade and personalize the packaging.

Engaging the New Beauty Shopper with Salesfloor

Salesfloor is an all-in-one customer engagement platform that unifies the online and offline customer experience. With Salesfloor, customers engage with local sales associates wherever they are shopping. And with AI-powered clienteling tools, sales associates deliver hyper-personalized customer service.

Request a demo today to see how brands transform the beauty shopping experience with Salesfloor.

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