Online shopping is becoming increasingly personal. According to an Accenture Study, 75% of online shoppers prefer to buy from retailers who recognize them, provide them with relevant product recommendations or remember them personally. This is especially true for e-commerce verticals that, in the brick-and-mortar world, require heavy in-store associate assistance for a purchase to occur, like beauty.
A new, demanding generation of shoppers has emerged, who want instant gratification from their e-commerce shopping experience. These shoppers actively recognize and act on their alternatives. They recognize that the very same products they are buying from your retail site can be bought on hundreds of other e-commerce sites, shipped across the globe or even bought directly from the beauty brands they prefer. Providing them with the opportunity to buy is no longer enough. As a retailer, you need to activate their desire to buy from you specifically. And as a retailer, if you do not provide it, you risk losing out and suffering the fate of so many, who have relied on historical practices to run their e-commerce operations.
Beauty e-commerce has entered a new era with new rules of engagement. The new rules of beauty e-commerce require the retailers to place the e-commerce shopper at the center of the customer experience. Simply providing the shopper with the opportunity to filter products on your website, find beauty tips and browse through supporting material is no longer enough. This does not ensure instant gratification for the e-commerce shopper.
Instant gratification that drives purchases and retention in beauty e-commerce can only achieved by personalization. Personalization that considers the beauty shopper as an individual, with individual beauty needs and desires, individual beauty goals as well as individual concerns. Just like the in-store beauty consultant treats every single customer that walks through the door as an individual.
This type of individual shopper-level personalization is now possible due to the maturation of key enabling technologies. Maturing technologies like computer-vision, augmented reality, and virtual reality are cornerstones of providing beauty-shoppers with e-commerce experiences that not only delight them and provide them with a sense of instant gratification, but also save the shoppers time.
A successful online beauty-experience from the shopper’s perspective leverages technologies to provide shoppers with personalized advice, beauty tips and product recommendations, directly based on their individual characteristics and saves their time in browsing your e-commerce site as a result. The time-saving element for beauty-ecommerce cannot be overstated. E-commerce experiences built even five years ago take the assumption that the shopper has time. Time to browse through endless pages of products, time to view multiple videos and read blog posts and time to read through pages and pages of content related to individual products. This is no longer the case.
In a world where the prevalence of mobile shopping is increasing, the need for retailers to save shoppers time is becoming increasingly important. When shoppers are interacting with your beauty-ecommerce offering using mobile devices, it’s unrealistic to expect them to spend a long time trying to find products from your site, or to browse through all possible content you may have about specific products.
Technologies like computer-vision enable the shoppers to easily find products exactly for their skin and receive personalized advice using, for instance, selfies. In addition, these technologies enable the creation of augmented reality experiences where shoppers can try on makeup virtually on your site and understand exactly what they would look like with specific makeup on.
The new rules of beauty e-commerce require retailers to take a proactive approach to using technology to help focus the customer experience on the shopper. Without doing so, you face becoming irrelevant, boring and uninteresting as an e-commerce shopping destination for beauty retailers.