In 2020 the cosmetics market was the third largest market operating in the UK with a retail sales value of £8.7million. In addition, the UK cosmetic industry is seeing real digital growth.
With accessibility to in-store beauty counters and consultants reduced throughout the pandemic, consumers turned to online portals to keep their dressing tables stocked. In fact, 37.2% of consumers purchased health and beauty products online in the last year. Those robust numbers are only set to grow, with predicted beauty spend in the UK forecast to rise by 8.8% by 2024, equating to an additional £2 billion.
In addition, consumers’ affinity with beauty brands has become ever more intertwined with their social media exposure – in 2019, nine of the top ten US brands by interaction on social media were from the beauty industry (the exception being social content king Red Bull). With influencer advocacy continuing to drive consumers into the arms of willing brands and beauty in the top three categories by engagement on every social platform, mobile is the key to driving conversions for your brand. You just need to make sure you can reach your customers quickly, via the right platform, at the right time.
To put all this into perspective, global management consultants Mckinsey & Company found that ‘Beauty industry players will need to prioritise digital channels to capture and convert the attention of existing and new customers’ in its report: How COVID-19 is changing the world of beauty.
“I think the future of beauty will be more and more about technology, about quality, about formulation, about individualization, about digitalization, about responding to specific needs,” Jean-Paul Agon L’Oréal’s CEO and Chairman
With digital-first brands such as ASOS adding beauty to its offering, and Deliveroo teaming up with high street beauty giant Boots to deliver products direct to the consumer, expectations for ‘beauty-on-demand’ have never been higher.
Customer service, on their terms
So how do you compete in this hyper-competitive market? Given how mobile savvy the target audience is, you should be making messaging channels a key part of your digital strategy. WhatsApp Business is a fantastic customer service tool, but in the first instance, SMS should be on your list. SMS is often criminally overlooked in favour of younger, slicker messaging channels, but it has some very real advantages on its side. A 98% open rate being one of them, not to mention the fact that most messages are read within five minutes. In terms of ROI, there are few platforms out there that beat it.
As we’ve already mentioned, WhatsApp Business is the gold standard for customer service channels and it’s expected that a brand marketing to Millennials and Gen-Z will have a presence on WhatsApp. Younger consumers expect to be able to ask and receive answers to questions on their terms; where they want and when they want.
Mobile Marketing Cloud gives you access to both platforms and many more in one omni channel dashboard, so that you can reply to messages from multiple channels at once, without having to log into separate messaging interfaces.
The key to both SMS and WhatsApp Business success is to remember to keep your communication personal. Built into Mobile Marketing Cloud is a Customer Data Platform, or CDP that aggregates all our customer data from a variety of touchpoints to build a complete picture of your consumers. With all that data, your CDP can segment your audience to allow you to push targeted messages to each cohort, ensuring your messaging is relevant to each group, improving engagement and conversions metrics.
Keeping lines of communication open with WhatsApp for Business is also crucial to deliver timely responses to customer queries. If you can get them the answers they need when they need them, they’re more likely to convert on the spot. Waiting for answers to questions they can get quickly from your competitors is a sure-fire way to lose customers to your rivals.
Customer success stories
With an avid following of fans and customers, Revolution Beauty clocks thousands of customer interactions every day on myriad channels. Bringing that all together is a challenge in itself, but making sure that customer queries are handled efficiently is another altogether. Revolution switched its customer service to Mobile Service Cloud and increased productivity by 50% compared to its previous system, slashing a backlog of over 2,000 messages in 14 days.
Czech & Speake
With its Belgravia store closed due to the pandemic, London-based beauty brand Czech & Speake needed to move fast to replace its face-to-face customer interactions with virtual ones. We created a bespoke WhatsApp Business solution for them which helped them to manage customer service and communication during lockdown. Ultimately, it’s changed the business for good, increasing efficiency, advocacy and creating more sales opportunities. It’s also had the effect of boosting international sales by giving the brand a global marketing outlet.
Around the clock communication
Opening up new messaging channels is all well and good, but what happens outside office hours? Assuming you’ll need to sleep at some point, how can you be available whenever your audience needs you? The answer is automation. Scripted and AI chatbots can fill in the gaps whenever you’re unavailable. Perhaps more importantly, they can relieve the monotony of repetitive questions by automating answers to more common queries – questions related to delivery times, or return processes, for example.
Crucially, chatbots can also handle bookings – research by Phorest Salon Software found that 46% of bookings were made outside opening hours. Almost half of your bookings could go to competitors if you don’t have an automated solution. In addition, the research found that 36% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z respondents expect to see online booking options.
Our Conversational AI Cloud solution makes building your own fully-functional chatbots or AI customer service team easy, with a simple drag-and-drop interface and no coding skills required.
Get in touch today to discuss how we can help your business take full advantage of the digital opportunities mobile messaging and AI customer service offer.