New Delhi: So you thought the present-day wannabe Cinderella doesn’t know too much beyond choosing suitable shades for her lips or lashes, and relies on fashion rags for her daily dose of vanity. Recent research by Forrester dispels this mindset in style, pun intended.
The report ‘Marketing Beauty with the Internet Beast’, says the average beauty conscious consumer is more inclined towards online media portals than she is towards traditional media. In fact, Women who buy fashion products frequently are browsing the Internet even more than the average person in their search for cosmetics and clothes. So what if only a small minority -- 29% -- is looking for technology a la your friendly neighbourhood geek?
Want numbers? Compared with the 52% of the overall internet population, the report says 49% of beauty buyers make purchases online. The section demands a great deal of respect from brands, as 42% of Internet beauty buyers share the products discovered with their acquaintances on the web only. This ‘word of mouth’ marketing tool is the key to increased sales of cosmetic products.
Beauty buyers receive their fair share of emails, including more commercial emails and newsletters than the average net surfer. Around 38% sending messages daily. They receive more commercial text messages, too, and 61% admit to reading them before deleting them.
While their entry is marked to gather the description of the beauty and cosmetic products, many eventually end up making impulsive purchases when a browser throws up something they fancy. In other words, they aren’t just window shopping and often end up actually buying. Time then for the czars of cosmetology to step up their web-campaigns. How do they do that?
Know your customer
Most brands offer a rather vague email capture box on their home pages or elsewhere on their site, but few initiate a true conversation with interested Net users. The beauty buyer is a high-potential target to enroll in additional email programs.
The report prompts manufacturers to ask themselves whether or not their newsletters are presented well to site visitors. If the answer is no, they’d do well to task their Webmasters with adjusting the site and the offer to convert the maximum number of visitors to subscribers.
Start a dialogue
Consumers who are just visiting a web site and who have taken the time to reach out to a brand are particularly ripe for offers and contact. However, few fashion or beauty brands appear to welcome consumers who have just provided their email contact.
The report advises manufacturers to create at least one specific email that welcomes consumers to their brands’ conversation, sent within 24 hours after enrollment, and to use this email to confirm the value of the program and make an offer. Consumers who have recently interacted with or purchased from a brand are more likely to react again.
Deepen the dialogue
“The beauty buyer is an interactive surfer. Please her,” says the report. It advises manufacturers to start small with low-tech applications to profit from her willingness to share and communicate. All emails and site pages especially product pages must offer the possibility to “send to a friend,” like L’Oréal’s Biotherm.fr.
CoverGirl, from Procter and Gamble, facilitates the openness for these consumers by offering them online chats with beauty consultants.
Before moving to user contributions, companies would do well to carefully establish their policy on reacting to negative points of view. Deleting them is not an option. As in any relationship, responding and showing empathy to the unsatisfied consumer, as well as demonstrating a desire to improve, is the best approach. “In the end, it’s better that you are part of the dialogue, rather than finding out that a consumer is venting on a personal blog or on MySpace,” the report says.
Forrester reviewed 63 email marketing programs in December 2006. Nearly half of the campaigns reviewed missed the chance to capture customers where they are most likely to subscribe — on their home page. And those who do provide home page registration — like CNN and iVillage — often bury the link in a sidebar, footer, or in a dropdown tab. Retailers and travel companies are the most apt to pass this criterion.