Omnichannel marketing has pushed a major change in the marketing industry in the past few decades, by shifting towards a more consumer-driven marketing experience to make it better for purchasers. Technology and digital marketing have been at the forefront of this shift, and marketers have had to quickly adapt to keep up with the new market trends.
Traditionally, the beauty industry has relied heavily on consultations and one-on-one advice, which made it so hard to integrate digital strategies and eCommerce. Even when brands transitioned to D2C, there was always a dissonance between physical stores and digital retail. Omnichannel marketing changed that—it brings all those channels together, so consumers have a streamlined experience.
Table of Contents:
- Get Buy-in From the Whole Organization
- Keep Your Brand Consistent
- Create a Content Library
- Choose the Right Channels
- Use Your Data
- Partner with Your Resellers
Omnichannel marketing is the use of both digital and traditional marketing to embrace a customer from multiple directions with the same messaging. Essentially, it’s when a brand uses a multi-channel sales approach and integrates it throughout the customer’s shopping experience to create a seamless experience. That means, no matter if a customer is shopping on a computer, on a mobile phone, or in the brick-and-mortar store, their experience is unified at every step.
What it means to be a beauty brand has completely changed—the rise of influencers and digitally-native brands have put a spotlight on innovation and what brands should be doing to make customers happy. The first step into adjusting to the new normal in beauty marketing is the adoption of an omnichannel marketing strategy. The benefits of an omnichannel marketing strategy are clear—studies have shown that marketers that integrate three or more channels into their marketing campaigns increase their purchase rates up to 287%, and consumer preference for omnichannel campaigns are increasing. Marketers that use three channels or more in their campaigns also saw more than 18% engagement in their campaigns, compared to only 5% for single-channel campaigns, and customers who purchased spent 13% more on those channels.
The reality is this: there is no true loyalty in the beauty industry. With rapid innovation and ever-changing formulations, along with the ability to mix and match products from various brands, buyers often purchase across different brands. In fact, frequent beauty buyers purchase across 8.6 brands, while the average beauty consumer purchases more than 5 brands per year, both in-store and online. That being said, consumers are more loyal to brands that provide a great experience, and brands need to make an effort to stand out from the pack to get consumer attention.
The thing that many brands tend to miss is that a seamless and amazing omnichannel experience isn’t just about being frictionless and pleasant, it’s also about delivering a personalized experience to the customer every time. Tech alone won’t be enough to differentiate and capture customer loyalty, customers want a shopping experience that’s unforgettable and hard to resist.
For example, many beauty retailers have implemented a “You May Also Like” type feature on their website, but there are so many opportunities to take this one step further. Beauty brands know their customer’s purchase history, so why can’t they use that to their advantage? They can offer complementary products and offer educational content on how to use it to make that connection, and then follow up with the customer to find out how their experience was and whether they’re interested in repurchasing a product. These types of personalized experiences are what will stand out to the customers and increase loyalty.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all omnichannel strategy that every beauty company can adopt—to truly be unique, every company needs to develop its own omnichannel customer experience. However, there are some tips that you can implement when creating your omnichannel marketing strategy to better engage customers.
Developing and implementing an omnichannel strategy can’t just be the responsibility of the marketing team. Omnichannel also means omni-department as well—the whole organization needs to collaborate to get the job done. From product to marketing to sales to customer support, everyone needs to be on board and working together to develop a streamlined process no matter how a person interacts with a brand.
Find out where customers are most likely to engage with your content and focus on those channels
One of the keys to providing a seamless experience is to keep your brand consistent. From how you communicate, to what things look like, to how a customer feels, brand elements need to be standard and show your brand’s identity and values throughout the experience.
Content is a great way to communicate with people throughout their journey and building an adaptable content library that customers can access is a huge step towards an omnichannel strategy. You will need content for every step of a customer’s journey—from awareness, to consideration, to conversion, to loyalty—and it can be repurposed on any channel you use: a blog post can become a video topic, an infographic can become an in-store graphic, video scripts can be used as topic starters for podcasts or content for social posts. Most importantly, make sure that the content you are creating is relevant and answers your customer questions.
Omnichannel doesn’t mean every channel — just because a channel exists doesn’t mean you have to participate in it. More isn’t always better in omnichannel marketing, instead, the goal is to be where your customers are. Find out where customers are most likely to engage with your content and focus on those channels. If you’re not sure, ask them. It’s just another way to engage with customers and show them you are listening at every step.
This can be a tough one — you are likely collecting quite a bit of data about your customers and their habits. The key is to be able to distill that data into actionable items. Understanding how users interact and engage with your brand will help you better understand their journey and will allow you to customize it for your customers.
Omnichannel marketing strategy is essential for providing a personalized and unique shopping experience for beauty customers.
In the beauty industry especially, brands are likely working with large resellers like Sephora and Ulta to get their products in front of people. To be able to truly personalize a customer’s experience, you’ll need to partner with the beauty brand resellers to give them the content they need to provide a seamless experience for customers.
Here are a few omnichannel marketing examples to give you an idea of what a good strategy looks like.
Known for its Brow Bar services, San Francisco-based beauty brand Benefit Cosmetics had already owned 50% of the U.K’s market share for eyebrow products. They didn’t want to settle for that: they kicked up their U.K. marketing by hitting the road (and Instagram) with their BrowMobile experience. The campaign helped them grow an additional 10% market share with the customer and Instagram friendly tour that allowed them to connect with more customers.
This wasn’t the first step into omnichannel for the brand—they had previously launched a loyalty reward program on their mobile app that allowed customers to engage with the brand and grow their rewards to encourage them to continue coming back.
One of the most recognizable names in the beauty industry, Sephora didn’t get to the top by mistake. Rather, they were the ones that set the bar high as a leader in the beauty industry omnichannel marketing experience. They’ve merged their brick-and-mortar stores with robust digital technology to provide a revamped customer experience. They know that even while in-store, people are still on their phones, whether it’s to learn more about products or to look for better deals.
That’s why Sephora launched Beauty Bag, their answer to a new-and-improved wish list. Not only can people learn about their products, save them to purchase later, and get recommendations based on searches, but Sephora also implemented augmented reality (AR) software that allows customers to try on products using immersive technology. They don’t ask their customers to choose between their stores and mobile—both complement each other and work together.
Glossier took a different approach to their omnichannel strategy and decided to put their consumers front and center of their brand with user-generated content. The beauty brand founded by blogger Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss, the brand was a content site first before expanding into product offerings. They often feature their customers in Into the Gloss, which clearly encourages more purchases—people who read Into the Gloss are 40% more likely to purchase products than people who only visit the Glossier website
As an older brand, Saks Fifth Avenue has done a great job keeping up with the new and younger brands out there with their revamped beauty experience. The new experience allows users to book in-store beauty appointments online and includes a content experience of various emails and newsletters that inform customers of upcoming sales and launches, appointment reminders, and educational content. Saks reported that, on a 12-month basis, its omnichannel shoppers spend 1,000 percent more than the online-only shopper and 500 percent more than the offline consumer.
Another early adopter of the omnichannel experience, Ulta has continually upgraded the customer experience since first launching an omnichannel strategy in 2015. Ulta is betting on digital omnichannel experiences, making acquisitions in the artificial intelligence and augmented reality space, along with investments in customer experience with acquisitions in digital workflow and online booking. Most importantly, Ulta is betting on data being their most important asset by integrating their customer data into their omnichannel process so they can send more customized messages and recommendations. The data says this was a good bet: According to Ulta, its omnichannel shoppers spend up to four times more than its single-channel guests, and they frequent stores up to four times more often.
MAC Cosmetics’ first “Interactive Experience Center” in Shanghai takes the blending of digital and in-store shopping to the next level. They’ve invested in AR technology to include virtual “try-on” and have integrated in-store personalization with MAC’s WeChat mini-program. For example, a customer can go in-store and use the virtual makeup mirror to sample every MAC eyeshadow shade and tailor a palette for their own taste. Then They can quickly and easily check out their purchase through the WeChat app.
Time and again, it’s been proven that an omnichannel marketing strategy is essential for providing a personalized and unique shopping experience for beauty customers. These experiences aren’t just for the big brands anymore either, as technology becomes more sophisticated but less expensive, it’ll be worth it for even the smallest of beauty brands to invest in a cohesive and streamlined experience for customers. Customers want to be heard, they want to be pampered, and they want to leave an experience feeling special—every brand is capable of providing that with a little bit of effort.
Of course, we’re just at the cusp of the omnichannel revolution—as brands innovate and as technology expands, we will be seeing more and more encompassing experiences in the beauty industry and beyond. The benefits are real—with less friction throughout the process, there are fewer reasons and opportunities for customers to change their minds, which means they pull the trigger more often and retailers get a higher return on ad spend. It’s a win-win on every side.
Using an omnichannel approach helps companies stay nimble, reach ideal clients while increasing profits, and it is worth it to implement an omnichannel strategy for your company. If you’re looking to dive deeper into how this could work for your brand, we’re here to help. Check out more of our website and contact us with any questions!
About the Author
For over 25 years, Jay Sung has been a passionate leader in driving sustainable growth through direct-to-consumer, e-commerce, and customer acquisition strategies. Mr. Sung oversees corporate branding and growth initiatives utilizing a continuously evolving toolkit of digital marketing strategies and technologies to drive innovative direct marketing programs for portfolio companies – from startups to Fortune 500 organizations.
Previously, Mr. Sung served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Guthy-Renker, a $1.3 billion industry leader in the direct-to-consumer health and beauty market. He is best known for developing consumer acquisition and marketing strategies for leading brands such as Meaningful Beauty® with Cindy Crawford, Wen® Haircare by Chaz Dean, IT Cosmetics™, and many others. In addition, he served as the CEO of such well-known brands as The Proactiv Company and Lot18.
Mr. Sung lives in Los Angeles, enjoying all Southern California has to offer. You’ll frequently find him reading the latest business journal, cooking, or practicing the piano to relax. Mr. Sung earned his Bachelor of Science degree in economics with a double concentration in marketing and accounting from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.