Health and beauty customer experience – more than skin-deep

Dan Hartveld, 26th June 2019

There's something of a revolution happening in the in-store health and beauty business. In his latest article for MyCustomer, CTO Daniel Hartveld looks at what retailers need to do to provide a flawless service.

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This article first appeared in MyCustomer.

There’s something of a revolution happening in the in-store beauty business - shopping by brand and trying to navigate display upon display of skincare, cosmetic and hair product ranges armed with just a superficial knowledge of what they are and how they work are being replaced by an altogether more curated, personal customer experience.

Luxury retailer Harrods has just launched its new digitally-enabled beauty emporium, designed to deliver an immersive experience in an opulent setting. And Boots has ‘reinvented’ the retail experience for its beauty customers by refitting 24 of its biggest beauty halls and replacing traditional counters with trending zones, discovery areas and live demonstration spots. On top of the physical redesign, Boots has also introduced 200 independent beauty specialists in-store, each of whom will have had ‘immersive’ training on products and how to give customers the right advice.

Of course, when you consider the GlobalData prediction that health and beauty will be the fastest growing industry sector over the next five years, with the UK market alone reaching £26.7bn by 2022, it makes sense for retailers to tap into this rich seam of revenue. And key to building a strategy to attract and retain health and beauty customers is to recognise that they are looking for more than just the latest colour palettes and skincare ranges – they want a personal touch from a trusted consultant who knows them and their beauty regime.

As Harrods and Boots have shown, the only way to make this a reality is to provide VIP in-store experiences where each consultant and sales colleague has the right digital tools to deliver a truly personalised, one-to-one service with every customer’s details at their fingertips. Breaking from tradition has never been so achievable – from consultation-based services with individual conversations based on customer preferences to tailored inspirational content and tutorials, digitally-enabled beauty advisors are in an ideal position to deliver the kind of experience which will ensure customers keep coming back to the store.

When it comes to converting experience into sales – after all, even the most well-designed beauty hall isn’t doing its job if visitors don’t buy anything – the ability to offer seamless purchases which move items from the consultation into the customer’s basket without friction goes a long way to making sure advisors don’t lose any sales. Even if the customer wants to review their products and perhaps take a look at a tutorial before making a decision, they can complete their transaction at home with a single click when they decide to buy.

And if you back your digital clienteling tools with smart analysis of customer data, you automatically empower beauty consultants and advisors to identify and understand purchasing behaviours and patterns, giving them the opportunity to confidently suggest products, services and events to customers. It’s a virtuous circle – customers get a personal service and accurate recommendations which builds trust with the advisor, ultimately leading to further consultations and increased sales.

As the beauty sector continues to grow and retailers increasingly look to customer experience to secure their place in the market, those tasked with upgrading what they offer in-store will have to make sure that all the digital tools are in place to allow beauty consultants and advisors to offer a flawless service.