Online vs. in-store: Battle of beauty retail (Part 2)

Online vs. in-store: Battle of beauty retail (Part 2)

Related tags Online shopping Retailing

In these guest articles, ahead of the in-cosmetics Global show next month, Sean Singleton, Managing Director at digital agency Your Favourite Story, explains how brands can use digital to launch their beauty products effectively. Here, he takes a look at the online opportunities.


Digital has taken over

Online offers smaller brands a level playing field to explore and grow their reach across diverse customer bases. As the beauty industry grows the digital aspect grows alongside, YouTube makeup tutorials, beauty ‘How To’s and the popularity of social influencers will continue to expand the beauty market.  

The Pros

·       Do it at home convenience – one of the biggest appeals of online shopping is the fact it can be done anywhere, and at any time. It also opens up the option of ordering products on-the-go, instead of rushing around to run errands you can quickly purchase a product and have it delivered to you next day. 

·        Extra Information - Customers are more informed than ever, online shopping allows for shoppers to compare using online reviews and news articles to make sure they are finding all the information about a product before choosing to purchase. Many online retail locations have also added product knowledge experts available through live chat to help with any issues or questions customers may have.

·        Social media influencers - Younger shoppers are even more influenced by online reviews and social influencers. Brands are able to partner with these influencers to show off new products or offer special online sales codes. Many social influencers have their own branded products that partner with larger beauty brands.

Pixiewoo, Kylie Jenner, Zoella and Tanya Burr are just a few of the social media stars that have created their own lines of beauty and makeup products.

·        Product comparison - Online offers a wider range of diverse brands; this includes smaller start up companies. This is not only great for a brand coming up in the industry to find a customer base, but also gives customers a chance to try products from a wide range of retailers without having to rush around the high streets to find them.

·        Products are almost always in stock – if you can’t find something at one online store, try the next one. At a physical location you are only able to buy what is in stock currently in store, lowering the range of choices.

·        Deal Hunting – Online offers a wider range of websites for price comparison.

·        Beauty Boxes – Surging in popularity, the beauty box is a specially curated box of beauty products sent as a monthly subscription. This not only makes it easier for people to find a brand, but also gives customers a chance to try out a product and become familiar with a brand before buying more products from them.

The Cons

·        No testing – As mentioned above as a positive for in-store locations, the lure of testing a product on your own skin is extremely enticing. As customers are all a wide range of colours and ethnically diverse it can be difficult to determine a perfect match without giving it a try in-store. This can waste money for customers who find it difficult to find a correct match and make them question their loyalty to a brand.

·        Anti-social – customers miss out on the physical aspect and experience aspect of shopping in-store. This doesn’t promote brand loyalty and can make brands feel interchangeable with not much setting them apart from competition.

Compiling a blended approach

As you can see, both online shopping and in-store experiences have benefits and drawbacks.  However, the best approach is not to see these as competing environments but to have a joined up approach to both.  Many large companies are now creating the new role of Head of Ominchannel.  

It's better to take a blended approach in order to get the best of both of the traditional and non-traditional worlds of beauty.

Related topics Market Trends Voice of the Industry

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