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Beauty Sector Sees Strong Ecommerce Growth

User reviews top the list of website functions

Overall sales growth is expected to be strong across a number of retail categories in 2013. But consumers are showing a wide willingness to increasingly make their purchases online.

In most retail sectors ecommerce will outpace overall sales growth, especially in the beauty and personal care sector, according to L2 Think Tank. A survey of 85 beauty brands conducted by the organization in November 2013 found that ecommerce sales were expected to grow by almost 30% in 2013, compared with only 6% for total sales.

L2 Think Tank found that competing brands, aware of the potential revenue from online retail, are now pouring money into digital channels in order to keep up with one another. These brands are certainly taking a close look at the features included on their website, a key consumer touchpoint for those along the path to purchase.

The survey found that 83% of sites had incorporated user reviews, making it the most widely adopted feature. Nearly three-quarters of sites offered a product sample with a purchase in 2013, up from almost six in 10 the previous year. Overall, brands have been moving away from live chat features on websites, but have increasingly included customer Q&As in their website content.

Although L2 Think Tank found that 43% of consumers shopping for beauty products used a tablet to research products, brands have been somewhat slow to incorporate tablet-specific responsive design into their websites. While almost six in 10 brands had optimized dropdown menus for tablet shoppers, only about three in 10 had included swipeable content, with only about one in 10 incorporating swipeable product galleries.

With ecommerce showing such a strong growth trend, it makes sense for beauty brands to closely consider investing in responsive design as mobile devices will play an increasing role in the shopping and purchase processes.

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