How can beauty tech enable a richer customer experience?

The beauty industry is leading the way for technology innovation in retail. Several leading brands have seized the opportunity of digitalisation tostart ramping up the use of innovative beauty tech that helps to attract and engage with new customers and retain old ones.

Far from a traditional, product-focussed marketing approach, beauty tech innovations help brands to create unique products that speak to customers, as well as experiences around the products themselves. This shift has changed the tenets on which beauty brands traditionally compete –moving from brand, price, size, and durability to customisation and personalisation as the new unique selling points.

Technological innovations in the beauty industry

Several brands have started incorporating beauty tech solutions in every stage of the customer journey - from the first time the customer hears about the brand to the final checkout or loyalty phase. These innovative solutions enhance the customer experience and give brands the opportunity to learn more about customers as well.

Take the example of Rihanna’s  Fenty Beauty. Launched in 2017 with a fully digital campaign that was primarily geared around social media content, this hugely successful brand reported $100 million in its first few weeks of sales.

Burberry is another brand that conceived an innovative engagement campaign powered by a mobile app. The campaign, “Burberry Kisses”, allowed people to send virtual kisses via their phones to anyone in the world, giving them the chance to customise the shape of the lips, colours, and styles to reflect their latest product offerings. The campaign not only created a unique digital experience, but also allowed them to showcase their product in a discreet manner.

These are just two examples of the countless ways in which the beauty industry has been successful in utilising digital and technological solutions to capture audiences.

Key trends in beauty tech

The beauty industry has adopted several key digital trends that have been dominating the conversation around technology in business for the past few years.

Augmented reality, for example, is a trend that has been exploited by beauty brands to enable virtual try-on of beauty products. This enables customers to interact digitally with brands, while experiencing a wide range of products that would normally not be available in store to try on so freely and easily.

Likewise, machine learning is helping beauty brands to identify styles, product preferences, effective offers and marketing strategies and much more. This wealth of data helps them create a better experience for customers, both in store as well as online.

Virtual assistants have been coming into vogue, as well. Avon’s virtual assistant, which functioned via a mobile app, was able to tell women whether they are selecting the wrong or right shade of foundation. The usefulness of this feature resulted in a 23% increase in sales, proving without a doubt that technology is no longer just an enabler, but indeed, an influencer in its own right.

Smart beauty devices are the final trend set to change the face of the beauty industry. For example, a smart mirror developed by a Taiwanese skincare brand can scan your skin, identify any issues, and send you personalised skincare recommendations. Devices such as these are set to become increasingly widespread and will eventually integrate seamlessly into beauty customers’ daily routines.

Several leading beauty brands like Maybelline, L’Oréal, CoverGirl and Rimmel have been utilising these digital solutions to both, educate as well as provide unique and personalised experiences to their customers. Many of them also leverage these platforms to enrich what would normally be simple product information with storytelling regarding their brand, which helps to create a deeper connection with customers.

An omnichannel approach to beauty tech

The modern-day customer can be reached at multiple touch points, whether it is through social media, websites, events, or in-store visits. Beauty brands are slowly realizing the importance of an omnichannel approach. Beauty tech plays a huge role in creating seamless customer journeys along multiple channels in order to engage with them on multiple levels.

While the bulk of beauty sales still take place in retail stores, brands have started to incorporate digital solutions and experiential marketing in order to set themselves apart even in the traditional retail setting. These technologies help to deliver customised and meaningful experiences in-store that offer greater value to customers than a simple one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. It also helps to make the process of beauty marketing more of a pull strategy rather than a hard sell, which can often be deemed as too intrusive by modern-day customers.

A great example of how this can be done effectively is through Odore’s revolutionary beauty tech solution. Odore partners with leading beauty brands to create compelling online sampling campaigns that help them engage with customers. In addition to this, its one-of-a-kind in-store sampling device can help enhance the digital customer experience while in store.

Throughcutting-edge technology, Odorecreates a way for beauty brands to not only collect customer data but also analyse it and use it to create additional customer journeys and opportunities for remarketing and loyalty building that is personalized and relevant to each customer.