Health and beauty retailers are at the forefront of the online revolution. Despite a reputation for sticking to old-fashioned in-store sales, the new generation of retailers have pioneered direct-to-consumer sales, AR experiences and personalized product recommendations.
So they have a few lessons to share with other industries. Health and beauty is all about making shoppers feel good — through customer service, brand image, and a personal approach. We’ve rounded up 5 key things that other industries can learn from health and beauty retailers.
#1 Digital media can recreate the personal, in-store experience
In the past year, retail brands have been scrambling to improve their e-commerce offering. But health and beauty brands were already getting creative with digital stores as far back as 2017.
AR lenses, proprietary photo filters, personalized product recommendations and virtual makeovers are all ways of recreating the in-store experience, online. While customers are at home on their phones, they can still have all the fun and excitement of shopping on the high street with expert guidance.
The pioneering efforts of health and beauty brands have already taught us a few key lessons. Online shopping should be immersive and interactive. It should help customers to see themselves with your products. And most of all, it should be enjoyable.
#2 Delivery is part of your brand
When is an online purchase complete? Is it when And when the customer clicks “buy”? Or perhaps when you dispatch their parcel?
The sale isn’t complete until the customer receives their purchases – and is delighted by them. In other words, your delivery process, packaging and returns policy are all part of the buyer journey. They should be fully branded.
Research by parcelLab has shown that most health and beauty retailers send parcel tracking pages and purchase confirmations to their customers. But only 12% use a branded tracking page, while most brands use generic tracking offered by their mail carrier.
The retailers which have caught on to these branding opportunities are already pulling ahead of the pack. If you want to make your e-commerce business a success, focus on branding at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
#3 Subscriptions are the future of customer loyalty
Subscription boxes are booming. 1 in 4 Americans has signed up for a subscription box, and health and beauty subscription services are predicted to grow by 72% this year. In contrast, only 36% of health and beauty retailers offer a loyalty scheme.
The idea behind subscription boxes is simple: for a monthly fee, customers receive a monthly bundle of products to enjoy. Recently, we’ve also seen another type of subscription emerge. Delivery passes charge customers a regular fee in exchange for free shipping on all purchases.
Both subscription services are based on the same marketing principle: customer lifetime value. It’s easier to retain subscribers than to recruit new customers each month.
However, a successful subscription business depends on excellent customer service. From ordering to delivery to social media, the best beauty subscriptions we’ve seen all focus on keeping customers happy.
#4 Delivery options are more important than speed
E-commerce customers value choice. We found that most health and beauty brands offer some kind of free shipping, and half offer click and collect. Giving customers multiple options makes the delivery process more convenient for them.
Retailers can stand out from the rest by offering a choice of mail carriers. In a previous research study, we found that shoppers have strong opinions about which carriers they prefer – and giving them a choice can increase customers satisfaction tenfold.
#5 Consistent communication creates repeat customers
Too many brands think that marketing ends when the customer makes a purchase. After all, that’s how it worked in brick-and-mortar stores: you pay your bill, pick up your purchases, and leave.
But it’s not that simple. If you want customers to make repeat purchases and recommend your brand, you need to stay in touch. Clear communications during delivery and returns make customers feel reassured, supported and valued.
Our research suggests that 92% of health and beauty brands ignore their customers during shipping, and only 39% keep shoppers informed about returns. So redesigning your post-purchase communications can instantly put you ahead of your competitors!
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Get even more insights with our study on Operations Experience in the Health and Beauty industry.