Fashion and beauty products, by nature, need to be tried and tested before buying - or that’s what I thought until a few years back. However, quite in contrast to this perception, beauty brands are just taking off online. They are probably one of the few traditional businesses who’ve made the shift from brick to click so quickly.
In fact, reports indicate that the global cosmetic products market is estimated to be valued growing at a CAGR of 5.2% in the period 2019 to 2025. That’s why, when I got the chance to chat up with a beauty industry veteran, I asked some of the pertinent questions around customer retention, and how the rules are different for the beauty industry across the online and offline landscape. Please welcome our next marketer in the spotlight, Smriti Dhingra.
Welcome to MoEngage’s Marketer Spotlight series, Smriti.
In the past decade, I have been helping both global brands and startups establish and expand in India and South East Asia.
I am currently the General Manager- Digital with Phibious Vietnam, part of the Phibious group, an award-winning, independent advertising agency present across all emerging markets in Indo-Chin.
Through my current position, I look at the emerging digital and e-commerce opportunities to help brands establish a strong market presence. As part of a digital-first agency, we are geared to looking at partnering with strong platforms like MoEngage and also build our own in-house digital products to address the needs of our clients and the customer in Vietnam.
Successful brands are built on the back of loyal customers. If you are not trying to retain every customer you acquired - you are doing it wrong. Apart from having a direct effect on the company’s bottom line, a returning customer is also a positive feedback loop about the value of your product and brand in their lives.
To me, the current ( and evolving) digital landscape offers a better opportunity to retain customers and build brand loyalty than was traditionally possible. We are able to map out and understand user journeys better than ever.
This means, marketers now have the responsibility to keep a consistent brand voice across all touchpoints that resonate with their customers that want to be told authentic stories. This also means that they now need to constantly reinvent themselves or risk losing audience interest. A good balance of strategic storytelling and deploying optimization tools for CRM is going to be the mainstay of retention strategies.
It is increasingly becoming unlikely that a customer walking into a store hasn't engaged with your brand online at some point.
The purchase cycles haven’t changed but the rules of engagement between brands and customers have changed. Traditionally, outside of your physical store, it was hard to track how the customers were really engaging with brands. Today, mobile means, we can track and influence purchase decisions in real-time but it also empowers the customer to fact check any information, or look for better offers, whether shopping instore, or online.
We need to look at user journeys through a more omni-channel perspective and not offline vs online. A holistic perspective will allow us to deploy more relevant activations and hence a better ROI on investments.
Loyalty or brand advocacy comes when you overdeliver on your promises consistently to the customer. In the digital landscape, this means better omni-channel integration, cutting edge digital experiences and using data to drive personalized loyalty programs that focus on meaningful consumer engagement beyond redeemable shopping points.
The audience is increasingly demanding personalization and brands that successfully can bring this at scale will be successful at building a loyal audience base.
Although, not strictly a loyalty campaign, but to me in 2019, the most successful campaign that incorporated everything I have spoken about today, was the Neutrogena mask ID campaign.
Known for its anti-acne range of products, in 2019, the brand used digital mapping to scan and analyze skin for their customers and then 3-D print customized sheet masks that are delivered at your doorstep. The campaign used a cutting edge digital experience to solve a problem for their customers ( acne-prone skin) and deliver customized solutions at their doorstep. All the while staying true to their core business proposition.
To me, such exciting, well-rounded products and campaigns are benchmarks of a good retention and brand advocacy campaign.
Your story needs to be bigger than your products. The disruptive beauty startups across the world that have toppled the behemoths to capture audience interest and market share are a testament to it.
Customers now demand authenticity from the brands that they will shop with. Building trust is a long, consistent process and brands that invest time in building authentic marketing strategies will succeed in the fragmented beauty landscape.
Thank You, Smriti, for taking out time to discuss how the beauty industry has grown in the last few years.
Marketers – What retention strategies have worked for your brand in 2020? Share them through the comments section below.
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