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What can health & beauty learn from the success of fashion sales online?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

What can health & beauty learn from the success of fashion sales online?
In this article, Charlotte Varney, Customer Success Manager, E Fundamentals, shares expert insight into how augmented reality and social media can transform beauty retail, with lessons from the fashion industry.

The fashion category is by far the most successful online. In 2017, British people spent over £16 billion​ on online fashion, accounting for over 24% of all fashion revenue. Other retail categories are still growing year on year, but lag behind, with only 17% of retail sales being through online channels​.

The success of the online fashion category can be partly attributed to the strength of aspirational lifestyle visuals online, which are popular across the internet and social media. There is significant overlap in the demographics of people who buy products from both fashion and cosmetics, yet only 38% of regular internet shoppers buy make-up online.

With so much potential in the cosmetics category to perform better with ecommerce sales, here are some tips on how the fashion industry's use of technology can inspire cosmetic brands to take better advantage of the ecommerce opportunities:

Augmented Reality (AR)

A vital part of buying fashion and beauty products is assessing if the item fits and suits your complexion. However, this is a significant problem in eCommerce as customers are unable to physically test products, deterring impulse buys. Virtual dressing rooms, powered by augmented reality, such as Amazon’s Echo Look have made this easier for online fashion retailers in recent years.

Yet, there is also a great opportunity for AR in driving sales of cosmetics. L’Oréal is already using AR to its advantage with Makeup Genius​. This app uses facial recognition to allow users to test combinations of beauty products and has already massed over 20 million downloads.

AR can also have a huge impact on sales conversions. British make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury reported that 13% of users who tried the newly launched ‘Hotlips’ lipstick via AR app Meitu​ clicked-through to purchase the product from the eCommerce site.

Social Media

Millennials are the largest audience for make-up brands​; they are also the most active demographic on social media​. By enhancing social media strategies, fashion brands for years have been able to supercharge their engagement with this demographic and drive brand loyalty.

Too Faced is now spearheading the benefits of social media for the cosmetics industry. Its collaborations with retailer Sephora, and partnerships with influencers are all promoted on the app via engaging visual images that are true to the brand. As a result, Too Faced has amassed have over 10.2 million followers​ on Instagram, beating popular drugstore brands such as Maybelline (6.4 million) and L’Oréal (4.6 million).

It is clear that fashion and cosmetic brands that engage with their target audience by gamifying the purchasing experience, provide extra value to the eCommerce offering. Every modern brand must ensure they are set up to compete in the online marketplace now​, so that their business infrastructure is robust enough to be able to profit.

Charlotte Varney is Customer Success Manager, E Fundamentals

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