Beauty and personal care customers often expect a less transactional experience with these brands than with other retailers.
With most products, customers simply want to purchase a product. While they may have brand loyalty and trust the brand they’re buying from, the primary focus of the relationship is transactional in nature. However, when buying beauty products that affect how customers look, feel and even smell, consumers are looking to create a long-term relationship with a brand. Instead of just buying a product, they want to receive personal attention and empathy along the way.
Many beauty brands are increasingly turning to a lifecycle marketing approach to first create the framework and then continue a personal — and hopefully lifelong — relationship with customers. With lifecycle marketing, you often start with very little information about the customer, and then work to gather data needed to create individualized communications. Using Intellipse, you can capture data — even from anonymous visitors — needed to create segments. By then using very personalized outbound messaging, you can increase the likelihood of converting the lead into a customer.
Personalization vs. Individualization
During a recent webinar, Josh Aberant, former VP of Growth at Iterable, shared how personalization has been promised for decades, but marketers have never been able to deliver a truly personalized experience. He explained that past attempts at personalization were actually segment based. Because the segments are so broad, most beauty customers don’t quite fit. He proposes leaving the failure of personalization behind and moving towards what he terms as individualization.
“Individualization is where you promise to provide each and every one of your visitors, users, customers and prospects with attention, distinction and empathy at scale through the computer mind of artificial intelligence,” says Aberant.
With individualization, you must present messaging at the right time and in the right place. Each person has a time of day when they are more likely to make a purchasing decision. Equally as important is the channel you use to connect with each visitor. For example, many people make most of their purchases from their mobile device, making SMS messaging a better channel for connecting with them.
Keys to Providing Individualization
Aberant says these are the three keys to providing individualization:
Collect the right data. To generate accurate models, you must feed data into the AI algorithms — but not just any data. You need a large volume of the right data. While many beauty retailers already use common tools such as Google Analytics and Heap, Aberant recommends going a step further to gather a more complete picture, using technologies such as Hot Jar that create interactive heat maps. He also recommends Full Story, MixPanel and Amplitude to record page views and mouse movement and create custom events and other individualized experiences.
Employ AI-clustering algorithms to predict buying behavior. Typically, if a visitor views your website in anonymous mode, you don’t know who they are, much less their preferences, demographics or habits. However, AI-clustering algorithms can now predict barriers to conversion and the likelihood of an anonymous visitor purchasing a product. You can use this data to determine whether you should begin lifecycle marketing or immediately try to convert. For example, if a visitor repeatedly clicks on different shades of a product, the algorithm knows the customer is likely unsure of the right color, and you can launch interactive content to help educate that person on the shade they’ve selected.
Create interactivity with website visitors. Intellipse found that 10-20% of visitors will engage with interactive content, and 55% of those who start a quiz will answer all questions. Even if you don’t convert a visitor into a customer at the time, you gather information you can use to create a more individualized experience the next time they visit your website. Intellipse also found that interactive content can drive 2-5% of lead conversions, which can impact your bottom line significantly — especially in the beauty industry, where customers often have a long-term life value.
As more brands move to digital transformation, beauty companies must prioritize individualization. By using AI to get to know their website visitors, and then proactively help solve their challenges, beauty brands can both gain new customers and begin a lifelong relationship to help them look and feel their best.