Consumers name product selection, free shipping and price as most important qualities of online beauty and personal care retailers
Online consumers spent 33% to 45% of their monthly beauty and personal care budgets online, according to a March 2012 survey of online buyers in North America conducted by A.T. Kearney. Shoppers are using both etailers and brick-and-mortar stores to purchase these types of consumer packaged goods, meaning that brands need to step up multichannel marketing efforts to reach their clients wherever they are buying.
Almost six in 10 online buyers said they had purchased beauty or personal care products online in the last year, making it the fourth most popular online product category among consumers.
Fully 96% of online buyers shopping for personal care and beauty products said the ability to find a specific product was their topmost desire from an online retailer, followed closely by free shipping (93%), finding a favored brand (92%) and then best price (90%). Interestingly, online buyers indicated that receiving free samples and reading product reviews were features that were not nearly as important to them.
Amazon was the preferred online destination for beauty and personal care products for a plurality of buyers, but Sephora.com was not far behind, with a respectable 18% share.
While online shoppers seek low prices and product variety, consumers who favor brick-and-mortar stores want a more tactile experience with products, or to interact with staff in person. Established brick-and-mortar retailers, then, may have an advantage over their online-only competitors in bridging the gap between on and offline channels.
Sephora, for instance, has experimented with offering some in-store customers the use of iPads loaded with customized apps that provide digital services, such as the ability to watch instructional makeup videos, read online product reviews and sign up for loyalty programs. “Having the iPad in the store is more about facilitating clients’ shopping, whether it’s because they want more product information or they want to get a service,” said Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Direct, in an interview with eMarketer.
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