Author: Louise Macpherson, Customer Relationship Manager
The world is digital. We are now comfortable using technology in all areas of our lives, even skincare. Our children will never know the trials of wanting to use the landline telephone when someone was browsing online. It has made our daily lives easier and reshaped the way we do business.
Covid has been a catalyst for digital transformation in the beauty industry, forcing brands and businesses to adapt to survive and thrive in this time. We’ve spoken recently about the virtual beauty counter and making use of the tech already in our pockets, but one of the most important steps for building a loyal customer base has always been the in-store experience with brand ambassadors. Demonstrating products and offering tailored advice is far more tricky to move online.
There is definitely an art to the online or automated consultation. How do you translate the in-store experience to the sofa? Here are the components that brands must consider to make that one-of-a-kind relationship building experience through digital platforms:
As Customer Relationship Manager at Cutitronics, my role is primarily to look after our brand partners, understand their businesses, and establish how our technology can work for their brands. One of the overarching themes to come to light is the need for brands to be able to reach customers on their terms. Make the purchase process as easy as possible.
I used to travel a lot on business, arriving home to an equally hectic family life. Skincare was part of my daily routine but not something I could dedicate time to. My purchases were often impulse-driven in duty-free. How can brands reach someone like me?
This is what excites me most about the Cutitronics technology – it knows my skin and can adapt to my environment, wherever I am in the world. Then, through the app, I can lean on the brand’s expertise to achieve great results. Better skin with little effort.
Other consumers may prefer to interact via social media, the company website, or through department stores. Brands must make sure one-to-one experiences are available through all of these channels. Make it as accessible as possible. Unburden the consumer by going to them.
When I began my role here, I decided to do some online consultations as research. The biggest take away is that these digital consultations still rely on the skills of the consultant as much as they do in-store.
Video felt more personal than a phone call. I was instantly put at ease and it didn’t feel quite so alien. Being able to see the brand expert and a demonstration of the products was such an important factor. This offered a more valuable experience.
It comes down to trust. We trust the brand experts in-store to offer the best advice. To echo this, we need eye contact through the screen (even if we are fed up with zoom calls now), as it allows us to build a relationship quickly.
As consumers, we know brands collect data on us and can build a customer profile just by accessing your browsing habits. In today’s digitised world, brands have that knowledge at their fingertips, so the expectation is that brand communications should be personalised and tailored. Anything less feels lazy.
For me, like most people when they hit their 30s, it was then I realised I needed more than just the regular cleanse/tone/moisturise in my skincare routine. I remember a trip to Clarins where the brand expert took the time to understand my needs, and so this brand has been a favourite of mine ever since. This personalised experience has instilled loyalty in me, something that needs to be present with online offerings.
The follow up activity is key too. When the customer has actively booked a virtual consultation, they’re eager to draw on the brand’s expertise and make their product selection easier. So the next step has to offer the simplest route to purchase. Always send a follow-up email that is tailored to the discussions held during the session.
Our patented Cutitron®® technology allows brands to understand what happens after the product purchase, and to use that data to create a better experience for the customer. Using this data to tailor samples, consultations and emails is a quick route to brand love.
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