Over the years, trends in the beauty industry have changed a lot, leading to many new innovations.

When shopping for beauty products online, what are a few patterns you notice? For one, you likely search all ends of the internet for honest product reviews. You probably also look up a YouTube video of someone trying that product. 

This is all part of online consumer experiences; we find ways to trust the products we’re interested in and work up the confidence to purchase them. 

One industry that has a unique set of pain points when selling online is cosmetics and skincare. Why? When shopping online customers can’t rub the products on their hands to test the color and feel, and they can’t talk directly to a sales associate to ask questions. These have been important components to beauty buyers in brick and mortar stores. 

All hope is not lost. Instead, this means beauty brands have an opportunity to pivot. 

Just like there are unique retail store experiences, there are also opportunities to make the online buying experience better. I asked a few ecommerce experts how beauty brands can drive revenue online. I’ll share those insights and more in this article.

 

Related Read: How Every DTC Beauty Brand can Drive more Revenue With Simple Personalization

 

Beauty industry statistics

Competition in the industry has become fierce. More brands are being created, specifically from well-known celebrities like Jennifer Lopez’s JLO Beauty, Lauren Conrad’s beauty brand and Alicia Keys’ upcoming Soulcare beauty brand

 

Screenshot of JLO Beauty website

Source: JLO Beauty

 

It’s no surprise more beauty brand websites are being created, especially with the industry’s incredible growth. In fact, Common Thread Collective says it’s predicted to exceed $716 billion by 2025. Here are a few other noteworthy statistics:

Knowing this, how will you position your products to beat your competitors? That’s where I’m here to help.

Next, I’ll share tips from several ecommerce experts to show you how beauty brands can make more sales online.

 

Screenshot of beauty guide

Source: Octane AI Beauty Guide

 

Beauty industry trends: what brands should do to drive revenue

There are several ways to create an interesting online shopping experience. You can offer a loyalty program or build a consultative ecommerce quiz, but here are the most important 14 trends and strategies every beauty brand should be preparing for in 2021.

 

1. Keep a sharp eye on watching the beauty industry trends

Consumer trends can change quickly—like, in-just-one-day quick. Brands that do a good job of staying relevant do it well because of their ability to detect new ecommerce trends and adapt to them quickly. 

To do a better job of watching consumer trends, subscribe and read articles from leading industry media outlets who stay up-to-date with beauty trends.

 

Infographic about keyword searches in the beauty industry

Source: Retail Dive

 

Also, pay attention to search traffic and queries. If customers are searching for something related to your industry, it’s an opportunity for your brand to act first and respond. Write content and optimize it for those keywords.

 

2. Collect and leverage more user-generated content and reviews

According to Nosto’s beauty and skincare 2021 report, 74% of consumers are likely to purchase from a store or brand that includes customer reviews throughout their website. And, when browsing your site and social media pages, 51% of consumers want to see images that are not photo-shopped.

Two ways to tackle these wants are to leverage your user-generated content (UGC) and ask for product reviews. Here are a few ideas to collect both:

  • Send a post-purchase email to ask customers to share their opinion about the product they purchased.
  • Reward customers for sharing a review with loyalty points or a discount.
  • Host an Instagram contest where customers take pictures of your products and tag your brand. This will show up in your profile’s tagged section. 

Once you have UGC and reviews, you can share those on product pages, in blog and video content, in email campaigns, in paid social ads or via Facebook Messenger sponsored messages.  

 

3. Focus on customer connection and community

With the majority of people now doing their shopping online, it’s important to build deep customer connections. Turn customers into brand advocates with community-centric messaging and experiences. 

 

 

Makeup consumers are passionate about the brands they use to create their looks. Skincare consumers don’t often change brands once they find one that works well for their skin type. With loyal customers already in merchant’s hands, the beauty industry has a prime opportunity to build communities to drive retention and loyalty.

 

Screenshot of Glow Recipe's Instagram post

Source: Glow Recipe

 

Glow recipe has done a good job of building their community. For one, they have a rewards program, which gives members exclusive access to deals and promotions. They also have a variety of branded merch, product bundles and kits, an active blog with educational content and a large Instagram following where they feature mostly photos and videos from “real people.” 

 

4. Virtual appointments and consultations are important to build trust

Without consumers being able to go into brick and mortar locations to browse products and ask a store clerk questions, how do you help customers feel confident to purchase your products? This is where virtual appointments and consultations are helpful.

 

 

 

As Kristen mentions in the Resilient Retail podcast, merchants can use products like HERO to help customers shop through virtual video appointments, or they can build on-site quizzes to guide customers to a personalized product match. And, the best part is that brands can also collect buyer profile data with their quiz questions. 

 

Screenshot of Doe Lashes quiz

Source: Doe Lashes

 

Doe Lashes’ “Find your Lash” quiz finds out a customer’s age, their eye shape, how often a customer uses lashes, their experience level with lashes and collects an email for the user to get their quiz results.

With their quiz, Doe Lashes increased email opt-ins by 3X, and discovered an entirely new segment of buyers they didn’t realize was visiting their site: customers that had no experience with false lashes. They were then able to create educational material to nurture those customers to feel confident to purchase and use false lashes. 

 

Are you ready to learn how you can harness the power of an ecommerce quiz for your beauty brand? Check out our free 60-page guide about driving revenue with simple personalization for beauty brands!

Get the personalization guide

 

5. Share more visual content in more marketing channels

Finding where your customers spend most of their time is no easy task. With all the different marketing channels out there (Facebook, Instagram, email, etc), it’s important for brands to embrace different ones to find where they drive the most traffic. One important channel for merchants is TikTok.

 

Screenshot of Covergirl tiktok ad

 

 

With videos maxed out at just 60 seconds, it’s clear that consumers want quick content to digest. As Deb Mecca suggests, creating 15-second videos of customers using your products for Facebook and Instagram ads are also performing well, and will likely continue to in the new year.

 

 

6. Diversify your products and messaging

For a long time, diversity in the beauty industry was non-existent. But, now 40% of adults have shown an interest in gender-neutral cosmetics products. And more brands are choosing diverse representations in their influencer marketing. 

 

 

For example, James Charles is widely known as a makeup guru and has had influencer opportunities with well-known beauty brands, including Morphe and Cover Girl. 

 

Screenshot of James Charles' Instagram

Source: James Charles

 

Around the time of James Charles’ uprising, more discussions started happening about men’s role in beauty. Eventually, new brands were created for the sole purpose of catering to men’s self-care and beauty needs, including hims and Beardbrand

Beardbrand sells beard washes and stylers. Over the past ten years, the brand has blown up in popularity, opening retail locations and expanding their products to include deodorants, colognes and more.

 

Screenshot of Bearbrand's Instagram

Source: Beardbrand

 

Aside from a growing number of male consumers, beauty lovers also want to see more diversity and inclusivity. Traditional beauty focused on a single image. Now, many brands realize this isn’t inclusive to the various skin colors and types. 

 

Screenshot of UOMA Beauty's virtual shade finder

Source: UOMA Beauty

 

Beauty brands are now expanding their products to be suitable for a variety of ethnicities. Consumers see this with brands like UOMA, who even have a shade finder quiz on their website that showcases a large variety of skin types and tones. 

 

Are you interested in setting up a quiz for your brand? You can install Octane AI for a 14-day free trial on the Shopify app store, or book a time to chat with our team to explore your options.

 

7. Personalize, personalize, personalize! 

Nosto recently discovered 63% of beauty consumers are loyal to brands that remember their shopping preferences and customize the online experience accordingly. 

With many customers making the switch to purchasing online for the first time, it’s important for merchants to show your brand offers the right solutions for their unique needs and pain points.

Once you collect customer data with an ecommerce quiz or virtual consultation, segment your buyers into likeminded groups. 

 

Screenshot of how you can use quiz data for personalized campaigns

 

For each segment, build personalized email, Messenger, SMS and ad campaigns to help educate and nurture them. Tailor your website experiences with recommended upsells, targeted pop-ups and personalized offers to make shopping at your store feel exclusive. 

 

Related Read: The Complete Guide to Personalizing the Customer Journey

 

8. Have a clear mission, and follow it

One mistake many beauty brands make is “trying to be big” without a clear mission or message. While you can never go wrong with a great product, an important part of selling that product is its story. 

 

 

More brands are creating mission statements to follow—some give a percentage of sales to a relevant organization (like FIG + YARROW) while others work toward changing the messaging in the beauty industry to be more positive and inclusive (for example, Fenty Beauty). 

 

Screenshot of Fenty Beauty's mission

Source: Fenty Beauty

 

9. Offer a membership model for exclusive content

According to ReCharge, subscribers spend 20% more than non-subscribers. As Chase from ReCharge shares below, there are a variety of ways you can provide value to customers through a membership program. 

 

 

As one example, Scott Barnes is a beauty brand with a paid membership program called, “VIP Pro.” This yearly subscription gives members 30% off all products year-round, first access to new products, exclusive master classes and more. 

 

Screenshot of Scott Barnes' VIP landing page

Source: Scott Barnes

 

Not only is this a good way to build a community, but it gives customers a purpose to become brand advocates through an exclusive membership with tons of value. 

 

10. Ensure your subscribers are guaranteed a product

For your members and subscribers, one way to keep them loyal is ensuring their favorite products are always available for them to purchase. 

 

 

For consumers that pay extra to become members and subscribers, it’s especially important to ensure they can purchase the products they need. Nothing says “bad experience” like not having product available to those paying your brand to be a part of your community. 

As Paige points out, out-of-stock items can lead to customers finding a new brand to purchase from. Make sure you always have popular products available, and take it one step further by emailing customers when it’s time for them to restock!

 

 

11. Start selling bundles to raise cart value

In all honesty, it’s a chore for most beauty consumers to have to go out and restock their favorite items. I know for myself, personally, I will purchase the largest bottle of my skincare items so it lasts as long as possible. 

 

 

Offering bundles or two-packs for products without an expiry date is a smart way to increase cart value, and to make it easier for your consumers so they have a product that will last longer.

Less work for consumers = a positive experience to boost retention.

 

Screenshot of Glamnetic's value kits on their website

Source: Glamnetic

 

Glamnetic is a great example of a brand offering bundles. Right on their homepage, they feature a “value kits” section where consumers can buy a variety of lash packs.

 

12. Optimize the post-purchase experience

Once customers have made a purchase, what are your plans to continue engaging with them? As we mentioned before, beauty buyers tend to be passionate about the products they use (I know I am).

Ensure you’ve set up a variety of digital touchpoints to continue conversations with every buyer.

 

 

A few ways you can engage with customers post-purchase include:

  • Setting up local events with exclusive invites.
  • Thank customers for their purchase and ask for a review from an email, Facebook Messenger campaign or SMS.
  • Invite customers to join your loyalty program.
  • Remind them to restock a product they previously purchased.
  • Upsell complementary products that work well with what a customer has already purchased.

 

Screenshot of asking for a review post-purchase

Source: WebEngage

 

13. Customers are interested in sustainable, ethical and healthy products

Your customers don’t deem products as quality just because of an expensive price tag. In fact, customers are more concerned about finding products made naturally, offer environmentally-friendly packaging and are accessible and cruelty-free. 

 

 

As an added bonus, marking your products as touch-free and sanitary will make customers feel better about purchasing from you.

40% of Americans say natural products are healthier because they’re alcohol-free, skin-friendly and better for the environment. FIG + YARROW is a good example of a brand that embraces its natural selling point through its website aesthetic. 

 

Screenshot of FIG + YARROW's website

Source: FIG + YARROW

 

FIG + YARROW's website aesthetic is pictures featuring nature, flowers and simple colors to emphasize the naturalness of their products. They claim to be dedicated to using whole, pure, unadulterated and nutrient-dense ingredients.

 

14. Create a mobile app to engage with your most loyal customers

One of the best things an ecommerce brand can do is make sure their store is optimized for mobile. In fact, Mobile dominated BFCM 2019 on Shopify, accounting for 69% of sales. Aside from a good web experience that’s suitable for mobile devices, brands can also create an app to make the experience personalized.

 

 

Beauty brands with an app have an opportunity to create a unique experience for their app users. From exclusive content and deals to the ability to send push notifications, businesses have an easier time capturing their buyer’s attention and keeping them engaged. 

 

Screenshots of Sephora's mobile app

Soure: RetailWire

 

Plus, for your merchants, it’s easy to open an app that already remembers everything about their purchasing behavior and demographic information. Using this data, brands can create personalized content through the app experience. 

 

Boost your revenue by following these trends for your beauty brand

Now that you’ve discovered these 14 new trends for beauty brands, which ones will you tackle first? Ensuring a positive customer experience will not only increase your revenue, but it will turn your buyers into loyal customers. 

Remember, beauty products are extremely customized, which means you should make the shopping experience customized to each shopper too. Turn your products from “wants” to become “needs,” and show your customers the benefits they’ll get through personalized interactions.

By optimizing for both acquisition and retention, beauty brands will have a great inbound flow while also driving revenue with existing buyers. You’ve got the tools to get personal with your customers, so go drive that revenue!

 

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