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Personal but not up close - beauty retail reopens

19th Jun 2020
CTO Red Ant
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Beauty stores are reopening with in store appointments and virtual consultations

Beauty retailers have had to face something of a challenge over the last few weeks. As a sector that relies on personalised contact with customers and an intimate knowledge of their purchases and preferences, they’ve had to use a degree of planning and creative thinking beyond what most other sectors have had to consider to safely reopen beauty stores and counters without losing that personal touch.

The positive news is that the desire to buy cosmetics and skin care has, if anything, increased over the past few months, and being able to buy their favourite products with the help of a trusted advisor is high on the agenda of beauty customers.

While they may not be able to use samples and try out products in the same way as before, the experience of having to rely on remote access to their favourite products has opened up beauty customers’ minds to a new, tech-enabled way of shopping. According to Alexia Inge, co-founder of Cult Beauty, ‘[technology] has enabled us over the last two months to continue living our lives, to connect with our loved ones we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see, and to keep businesses going’, and this has led to a ‘a softening stance towards technology whereas before I think people were much less trusting’.

Making a connection

When we asked 250 beauty shoppers aged 21-55+ what they were looking for from beauty retailers, 75% agreed that buying beauty products involves a personal, one-to-one relationship, whether face-to-face or via a virtual consultation.

And they wanted consultations to cover the top five most useful areas of expertise:

  • Product knowledge
  • Overall beauty advice
  • Colour matching and recommendations
  • Advice on skin type and relevant products
  • Tips and tutorials

What this means for beauty retailers, advisors and makeup artists is that, not only can they be reassured that their advice is welcomed and valued, there’s also a wealth of opportunity to connect with customers in different ways. If they have the right clienteling tools with full access to customer details from previous purchases and wishlists to skin type and colour preferences, they have everything they need to offer a full beauty consultation, whether it’s by appointment in-store or via a video call.

Both safe face-to-face and virtual consultations allow beauty advisors to share products, tips and looks with full access to recommendations and tutorials post-consultation, as well as giving customers the ability to buy on the spot, whether they’re in-store or at home. It’s a truly frictionless experience tailored to the customer’s needs and to the requirements of safe retail without sacrificing the personal aspects.

At a time when flexibility and adaptability are key components of any strategy for reopening, beauty retailers able to offer this kind of service will be in great shape to meet the needs of customers craving advice and access to products on their terms.

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