All of retail saw a massive amount of change over the last year. But there’s one sector that may have innovated the most over the previous twelve months — the beauty industry. While spas and salons closed down, experts and aestheticians moved their services online fast. Shoppers – especially Gen-Z and Millennials – also held these brands to even higher standards than they did pre-pandemic. Vegan and cruelty-free product sourcing, sustainable packaging, personalization, digitization, and more became” make it or break it” initiatives.
In response, some of the best in the business have doubled down on their need to display greater authenticity, extreme transparency, and digital-first everything. Skincare experts started offering ‘virtual facials’ and digital skincare consultations. Makeup stylists have begun doing full tutorials and makeovers online. Experts have found creative ways to show detailed product sourcing and materials information. Beauty brands have rapidly moved to set up “creator” studios just for developing online content.
Virtual Shopping: Connecting Customers With Real Beauty Experts
While stores and salons start to open back up, the world’s top beauty brands are still – and will still – continue to lean into fully digital experiences. Virtual shopping gives them a platform to build authentic connections with online shoppers. Beauty advisors can become content creators – offering 1:1 consultations that make it easier for shoppers to get the detailed information they seek from their skincare and makeup products. And shoppers love it.
Here’s how beauty experts at a few of the world’s leading brands are mastering the art of virtual consultations:
SHARING CONTENT THAT BRINGS PRODUCTS TO LIFE
Buying a new shade of lipstick or nail color can feel like a huge risk when you’re just looking at a static product picture online. However, with virtual shopping, these products come to life. Beauty advisors can share videos and photos taken from in-store with customers and can even try on makeup or try out products themselves to truly give shoppers the IRL experience online.
When SABON partnered with HERO® to launch virtual shopping, the team saw online shoppers converting at 12x the rate of beauty industry averages. From sharing videos of how SABON scrubs work to soften their hands to demo how hair products can be used, SABON beauty specialists have gone above and beyond to use video to bring products to life.
“SABON Live continues to be a fantastic experience for both our shoppers and our Brand Ambassadors,” said Sebastien Guinchard, CEO of SABON.
PROVIDING EXPERT ADVICE WITH 1:1 VIDEO CHATS
The experience of shopping for beauty products is highly personal. Shoppers expect the detailed help they can get in-store while shopping online, from help finding the right color concealer to advice on picking out the right skincare product for their skin type. With virtual shopping, beauty advisors can connect live with shoppers through video calls to virtually consult with them on finding the perfect product.
The Detox Market recognized how important having expert, personalized advice was to their shoppers – beyond a store. They wanted online shoppers to have access to the same experience in-store shoppers had. So they quickly began having their green makeup artists, estheticians, naturopaths, nutritionists, and beauty experts provide shoppers with 1:1 virtual consultations.
Today these experts are available to offer live advice about beauty products on 1:1 video chats, just like facetiming with a friend. These 1:1 video consultations make shoppers more confident to buy than ever: Online shoppers of The Detox Market are now converting at a rate of 27% – 10x higher than the beauty industry average.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS WITH SHOPPERS THAT LAST
Virtual consultations also help beauty advisors build relationships with shoppers that last long after customers make a purchase. The expert advice and personalized service they can provide in these consultations builds trust and has shoppers coming back for more.
In fact, at Credo Beauty, nearly 12% of shopper conversations lead to returning customers through Hero’s virtual clienteling features, giving teams the ability to add shoppers to their Contacts list. Like those at Credo, beauty advisors use virtual clienteling to save shopper contacts and stay in touch with them about product updates, new items in stock, and more.
“One of the things that make our stores so special is the amount of knowledge sharing that goes on every day… The result is a more educated audience, giving shoppers a reason to return for future live chats. Many even share contact details, allowing us to strike up a clienteling relationship,” comments Holly Jo Harris, Client Experience Manager, Credo.
Experts at beauty brands worldwide are finding creative ways to connect with and build trust and community with shoppers online. As more and more shoppers look for authenticity and personalized experiences, offering virtual consultations and virtual shopping will continue to set some beauty brands apart from the rest.
Check out our customer stories to discover how others are making online shopping more human.
All photos courtesy of The Detox Market, SABON and Credo Beauty.