Giving Beauty a Makeover: Digital Experiments And Personalization

The habit of a thousand years of retail shopping, changed in just two. The catalyst, the pandemic

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Two years back our beauty enthusiasts would hit the stores to restock their favourite products. While online shopping had taken shape, it was not widely considered a primary channel of purchase. The pandemic forced the nation to stay in and suddenly everyone was shopping online. The lockdown has pushed players in the cosmetic industry, big and small, to develop an expertise in creating virtual retail experiences that surpass the existing ones, exponentially, to convert customers.

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According to Observer Research Foundation, one effect of COVID-19 is that day-to-day activities such as in-store shopping will likely be converted to recreational one-time activities and hobbies. That means, whether lockdown or not, virtual shopping is here to stay.

A shift in consumer behaviour

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has affected consumer behaviour in the beauty sector, changing it and, in certain cases, accelerating current trends. Consumers now prefer a personal touch and virtual experiences are all for it. In the comfort of one's home, without the inference of a retail person one can turn to social media and their favourite influencers for the next product to purchase. Live streaming brings fans and celebrities of the Internet together as they explore the world of beauty. Such an experience caters to not only extroverts who love social interaction but introverts too, who prefer interaction with those they value. Consumers want to be engaged with people they trust. Multiple surveys on the subject have shown that more than 65 per cent of consumers today choose to buy a cosmetic product after reading the reviews or watching a video of an influencer on social media.

Apart from personalization, consumers now look to seamless experiences right from the get go. That means, effortless shopping and contactless payments. During the pandemic, when consumers were reluctant to visit stores, online technological advances such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet-of-things, augmented reality and virtual reality kicked in. Major beauty giants have invented virtual trials that let an online shopper try lipsticks virtually. One needn't visit a store to check if the shade compliments one's skin tone. This augmented reality is only going to stretch its arms and encompass all kinds of products.

The emergence of online culture as beauty adapts

With the boom in Internet and the advent of the metaverse, Gen Z and millennials have become the industry's dominating consumers. The two are known for expressing their individuality and spending much time in the virtual world. The industry is now able to utilize data-driven and individualized marketing approaches, such as a customer 360 perspective to develop individualized targeting and campaigns and shifting marketing budgets to digital media. Big companies are creating personalized landing pages, advertising, product recommendations, and promotions, among others by leveraging this information. The goal is to offer a fully integrated physical and digital experience based on customers' expectations, whether it be online consultations, quick launches of new products, or voice technology purchases. To give genuine, original solutions that are customized to each individual using the power of technology.

Transformation in technology and shopping

Cosmetic companies have increased their efforts to combine technology with beauty goods. While a virtual lipstick try-on service is already in the running and successful, AR will include all kinds of products for at-home virtual trials. Colorbar is soon to launch such a revolutionary undertaking. At Colorbar, we are also working on providing our consumers with bespoke beauty services at our exclusive offline stores. Currently, An AI chatbot is placed at the counter to help consumers make an informed purchase. Milking the powers of AI, we utilize the tool to forecast sales and accordingly stock our shelves with the right products. The AI sales tool helps us foresee consumer behaviour and adapt and innovate before time!

Make way for skin analysis apps and tools! With more consumers focusing on their skin, the need for an app arises that helps shoppers identify the right product for their skin type. Skin analysis tools use facial recognition technology to suggest products to enhance the texture and health of one's skin.

Soon the market will be infiltrated with machines that apply makeup on beauty enthusiasts. Printed makeup will change the way one perceives makeup with the promise of personalized, even application.

Consumers today are discovering companies in entirely new ways and looking for modern conveniences to influence their purchase. Regardless of the channel a customer uses, beauty companies must utilize omnichannel commerce as a strategy to offer a seamless buying experience from the first to the final touchpoint. For example, Colorbar has more than 120 stores spread across India and listed on 15+ ecommerce websites. This helps push the consumer to review, contemplate and purchase, without any hassle and at their convenience.

Yes, beauty is going through a makeover and the beauty industry should ready all its real-time formulations and technology before the future arrives.