Five questions every health & beauty brand should ask itself

Health & Beauty continues to be a category which is driving DTC (direct to consumer) ecommerce and as the nights draw in we’ve looked at the trends which are likely to shape the market in 2020 and beyond.

Today beauty is a global business with customers happy to find products around the world and have them shipped direct; when it’s worth an estimated $532bn it’s no surprise that it’s a business driven by customer trends. Especially when you consider that while growth projections vary, most forecasters agree that it will exceed $800m by 2025.

The Underwaterpistol team has looked at the key trends driving the market and has five questions to ask all those looking to deliver growth in sales and market share in 2020.

How loyal are your customers?

In the health and beauty world everyone is obsessed with newness, jumping on innovation and always getting ready for the latest product drop. In reality a recent Ipsos study shows that loyalty is the key for the health and beauty customer.

Over 80% agreed that their personal beauty and grooming needs are met by the products they’re buying today, in addition over half are likely to choose a trusted brand over a brand they’ve never used before.

The more consumers are bombarded with new brands and more choice, there is a sense they will retreat and stick with what they know already. So once you have a customer, the ball is in your court, you need to plan how to keep them active, engender more trust and build brand-love.

Use CRM to offer previous buyers a reason to buy their previous purchases again, tempt them with a new launch, use social media and digital advertising to remind lapsed customers of your brand. A new survey out from RedPointGlobal clearly shows that the way to win customers loyalty is to embrace personalisation with 75% saying they wish retailers would use their insights better.

This customer preference for brands they already trust poses challenges for new beauty and wellness brands to breakthrough, so we’d suggest future proofing by setting up a CRM programme at the outset to show prospective customers how much their future loyalty means to you.

Have you had a sound bath?

A look at Google Trends allows a fascinating glimpse into changing consumer attitudes. When you see an increase in searches of 285% for something which a little niche, it’s a sign that the niche could be on its way to the mainstream… enter the Sound Bath.

Meditation, mindfulness and mental health awareness are now increasingly prevalent in our daily lives as we all aim to tackle anxiety and take more time out from the stresses of living. ‘Sound bathing’ or ‘sound healing’ involves immersing oneself in sounds that are produced by bowls or instruments tuned to specific frequencies, said to trigger areas of the brain which help release tension and promote relaxation.

If you’re unconvinced about the potential of sound and meditation to cross into the mainstream, remember it wasn’t too long ago that veganism and yoga were seen as crazy hard-core hippie activities.

On the same theme of self-care, searches for Wellness Retreats have seen a 182% increase. Holidays are increasingly becoming seen as an opportunity to take time out of daily life and focusing on mental relaxation.

Look at how you can align yourself with the growing need to promote a more balanced life, whether through partnerships with charities or content showing customers who you are on their wavelength.

Are you talking sustainability?

After years on the peripheries, natural, sustainable beauty and personal care is finally at the forefront. The Ipsos research tells us the mass consumer is ready to take a different route with new sustainable brands attracting the interest of over half (55%) of those surveyed.

We’ve all seen major retailers and brands scamper to catch up with smaller brands, desperately trying to retrofit sustainability measures into their giant juggernauts of modern business. Recently FeelUnique.com took the step of announcing a new transparency initiative, Beauty Decoded, which will see over 5000 SKU’s ingredients, benefits and functionality explored in depth. They’re also offering ‘Sustainable Switches’ to drive sales to products with less environmental impact.

In meeting the need for natural and sustainable beauty, ecommerce definitely has the advantage or bricks and mortar stores, just ensure that your logistics, packaging and customer aftercare meets your products’ greener promise.

You may already be using recycled and recyclable packaging, plastic free packing and green energy sources – tell customers about this, schedule in CSR related content in amongst your sales driving social media posts. And if you’re not… it really should be on your to do list for 2020.

Are you getting more physical?

Consumer spending and innovations in technology show us the future for the health and beauty customer is online. However when it comes to beauty, customers still want that physical connection, the Ipsos research tells us 41% said they would not buy any beauty product that they had only tried-on virtually. The beauty consumer loves to play with AR but they want a hands on experience with actual product before they’ll take the plunge.

Those online only brands needn’t despair however, the research tells us that brands can overcome this reluctance to spend by offering free tester samples (36% would take the bait), and value is also a driver with 22% saying they’d give an online only product a try if it was cheaper.

A way to bridge the physical gap could be by opening a Pop Up Shop for a short period in a key location or follow the lead of Theperfumeshop.com who offer online customers the chance to live video-chat with an expert via their website. Since the service launched the retailer says it has seen a conversion rate increase of over 155% for those interacting with the service.

Who is influencing your customer?

Influencer marketing has taken the health and beauty industry by force over the past five years, however the recent Ipsos survey suggests that the most influential voices aren’t those heard over social media but the people closest to the consumer.

Word of actual mouth, rather than its virtual cousin, continues to have the most profound influence on our beauty and wellness routines. The most influential of our close circle are our friends (50%), our mothers (49%), with siblings or other family members coming in at third (41%).

Instagram and other social media sources languish way down the pecking order behind magazines and newspapers at just 25%.

This research backs up the premise that customers take their buying cues from those closest to them so it’s it is no surprise that they also want to see beauty products and fashion products showcased on people appropriate to their own age and ethnicity. And today’s customer definitely wants to see beauty and fashion shown in positive and realistic ways. Accurately and positively portraying age is top on the list of what they want to see from beauty brands (54%), followed by ‘real life’ images that show the reality of our bodies for instance showing scars, grey hair, wrinkles and cellulite.

Brands can learn from this research by positioning itself as a ‘brand like you’ for its customers. Ensure you understand your customers and their lifestyles and recognise that the people they are closest to have a far greater impact on their spending choices than paid influencers or advertising and marketing.

Consider moving a portion of the money earmarked for paid influencer partnerships in 2020 to deep-dive into customer research, or CRM activity designed to gift your customers’ friends or family a special promotion to share the brand love within their own circle of trust.

We’d love to chat more about how customer trends are going to shape your business in 2020…