The first customer touchpoint has changed.
It used to be a customer would walk into a store with a vague idea of what they wanted to buy, ultimately deciding while standing in the store, cash in hand. Upwards of 70% of buying decisions were made this way, according to Business of Fashion. With the rise of the information age, shoppers now have the power to conduct exhaustive research before deciding on a purchase, and most take advantage. According to an annual ‘How America Shops’ study by Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Retail Strategy, 7 in 10 shoppers now “do some kind of pre-shopping” before setting foot inside a store, according to Business of Fashion. Among tech-savvy millennials, that number crests 90%, Monica Arnuado, senior vice president of merchandising at Ulta told Business of Fashion. This means that critical first touchpoint has gone from something that happens in the store to a sort of nebulous, neverending touchpoint that extends to a brand both online and off.
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Adding interactivity elements to physical spaces.
Everybody likes product samples. From free Vienna sausages at the grocery store to tiny-size sample bottles of detergent in the mail, it’s something most people find irresistible. That fact of human nature is reflected and capitalized upon by beauty brands, who have taken interactivity to the next level through innovative displays and experiences that can only be found in a physical store. Even mid-market brands like Target are adding beauty counters and makeup consultants to help advise customers, something higher-end beauty brands have done for years. Being doted on at a makeup counter while trying various shades makes the shopper feel important, and that little something extra really elevates the experience. The best e-commerce platform in the world can’t provide a pampering experience or physical interaction with its products. By harnessing the inherent advantages of physical space and using it in creative ways, retailers are capitalizing on assets online-only merchants lack.
Avoid putting customers into boxes.
Just because somebody enjoys the occasional champagne and caviar doesn’t mean they don’t also enjoy chowing down on a juicy burger. Today’s customer is after quality, but also bargain savvy. It’s entirely possible a shopper might regularly buy an inexpensive lipstick for daily wear but also occasionally splurge on something pricey. Beauty brands are seeking to cater to those dichotomous shopping preferences by carrying both high-end and affordable cosmetic brands, knowing their customers will often want both. Ulta spotted this trend nearly 30 years ago, according to Business of Fashion, and set out as a brand to offer an array of merchandise that reflects how shoppers really shop, which when it comes to beauty products, is very often on both ends on the price spectrum.
Knowing how shoppers want to shop.
Keeping things fresh.
Leverage the power of digital.
Shoppers are conditioned by online shopping to gravitate towards certain things. We like seeing reviews and buyer feedback for products we’re considering buying. We enjoy seeing celebrities we like or our friends giving their opinions on social media about the Next Big Thing. Some brands are recreating elements of that online experience in-store. Sephora features curated sets of products, such as “The Top 5 Mascaras” ranked and prominently displayed on its end-caps, which not only gets customers intrigued, but garners Sephora some product expert street cred, according to Business of Fashion. Social media has become a platform where a significant number of shoppers, particularly young shoppers, look to for trend cues. Those trends fade in and out of existence at a blistering pace, so consultancies who specialize in social media and influencers for brands are being retained to spot up- and-coming opportunities for products to carry or personalities to align themselves with.