Over the past decade, blogs and social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube have radically changed the way people shop for health and beauty products. From reviews to video tutorials encouraging people to experiment with their hair or make-up, these online communities are now a major influence on sales.
Before the era of advice articles and vloggers, people relied heavily on beauty consultants in stores to help them apply make-up, find the perfect shade or discover their skin type. The marketplace has grown to become more inclusive, with many people learning the techniques that were once only the preserve of make-up artists. Driven by online influencers, customers know exactly what they want and their tastes have evolved to become more diverse than ever.
For retailers, the challenge does not lie in attracting customers into store but in building relationships with them while they are there. There is no point stocking the product everyone is talking about if people cannot find it on the shelves or the shop is so dirty and untidy that it damages their perception of the brand. Brands can also use these store visits as an opportunity to cross-sell other products, often through promotions, rather than just single product sales.
This is one of the reasons why signage, point-of-sale and digital displays continue to play such an important role in health and beauty retail. Navigational signage points customers to the products and ranges they want, while touch-screen displays can help them test different colours before purchase. It is not just the ‘superficial’ elements that are important either. People increasingly want to know about ingredients and interactive screens can provide the information they need.
Another important consideration is lighting. Whether watching TV, on social media or at the cinema, today’s customers are used to watching everything in high definition so retailers need to emulate this. As well as high-quality imagery, LED lighting is an effective way of showcasing products, evoking a feeling of glamour and luxury, but it is only useful if the product is in stock and presented in the right way.
Zoe Brannan, client services manager at CJ Retail Solutions