Beauty is one of the industries with the lowest customer loyalty. There’s so much choice that people feel curious to try ever new products.
Also, big drugstore brands have traditionally trained consumers to shop at discount. We all know our favorite brand of shampoo is on sale every other month.
Plus, the common misconception that cosmetic products stop working after a while doesn’t help cosmetic brands keep customers for long and consistently.
So what can you do as a cosmetic brand selling online to be successful? How to stay in business in such competition?
We say, there’s a way to win loyal a customer base and get repeat orders.
Because it gives you stability. A positive ROI after acquisition costs you’ve paid. The reassurance that if you stopped advertising for some time, sales will be fine. It means people like your product.
Returning customers are friends to your business and help you make profit, not just revenue.
Here are our suggestions how to keep customers coming back to your online cosmetics store and buying repeatedly.
If you’re not selling yet and looking for ways to start manufacturing your own cosmetic line, here’s a comprehensive guide.
Of course. It’s the type of product people like to see, smell and even try before buying. That’s why it’s tough to sell with product description only.
Every order is an opportunity to give out samples:
Native, a natural deodorant company, created a continuous feedback loop in order to shape their product to customer preferences until they got the perfect formula (version 24!). It worked great because Native gets about ½ of their sales from loyal customers.
Another cool way to use samples is as rewards for VIP or frequent customers.
It’s hard to keep the fire burning so the excitement of a new surprise every time might keep them hooked. They can even be your insider group of testers to make them even more engaged with the brand (and spread word-of-mouth).
If you’re not willing to give out samples to everyone, do it like Sephora.
They let customers claim different freebies based on order value. This stimulates people to spend more for a bigger gift (awesome, right?) and introduces products that might turn into regular purchases later.
You know you have to be helpful in your communication with clients and to add value.
One way to do it in the beauty industry is to be prepared and help your customers for very special occasions.
Prom and wedding season are huge and makeup, perfumes, skin toning, tanning and hair color subcategories sit on a pile of cash.
The added benefit of such campaigns is that if people trust you for their big event, they’ll trust you for everyday products as well. Valuable help content can bring you loyal customers for years to come and raving reviews from happy brides.
And don’t underestimate the power of user-generated content. People love showing off and being the trend setter among their friends.
Whatever campaign you do, ask customers to share their own photos. You’ll get to more of their contacts and will give them 5 minutes of fame, which will make them love you and buy again.
Speaking of makeup artists, who can better showcase your products than them? Even if it’s just giving them free products to work with on clients (not even talking about influencers, which is the norm of the industry), it’ll still get you references.
For other niches events and partnerships are great, too.
Bio cosmetics will be welcome at events for new parents and specialty cosmetics for acne can work with nutritionists to educate teenagers on the problem. A deodorant brand will get huge exposure in a national gym chain’s bathrooms.
The idea is to boost your credibility thanks to an expert. Nothing too crazy, but it’s better to be you doing it than your competitors, right?
How to make sure people choose a product they’re happy with when you can’t put testers like in drugstores?
Make the ecommerce experience as close to real life as possible.
Such presentation of the product will make your buyers more at ease. Sugarpill, for example, does it in a very convenient “hoover preview” way:
Categories like shampoo, body wash and hand cream are absolute must, but subfiltering by skin type, specific need or complexion will make the shopping experience truly easy and enjoyable.
Look at the Yves Rocher website – it offers filtering by skin type, need, and 4 other options for face care alone.
This one’s little trick in your favor as well.
First, customers will have a quick way of keeping track of their favorite shades and product variants (it’s hard to remember that lipstick color!).
Second, you check one box for GDPR compliance because you have the right to keep customer history if you make it available in their profile. Otherwise you might have to delete it if they don’t specifically agree to you keeping that info.
When people find it easy to choose and they’re satisfied with their picks, it’s a no brainer for them to come back and shop from you again. The barrier is eliminated.
Beauty is an intimate industry and our choices of cosmetics are very personal.
That’s why it hits harder when a cosmetics brand gets things wrong and pushes irrelevant (or even offensive) products to the wrong audience. I, for one, flip tables when brands think I need fake tan or fat burning lotions.
To tailor your communication and deliver pleasant experience, use tags in your CRM based on customer purchase preferences (type of hair, skin needs, etc.).
You’ll be able to send them relevant info and offers, and not annoy them with weird products (bright pink eyelashes, anyone?) when they’re not the target.
You can easily automate the engagement of different subgroups with triggered messages and carefully selected deals to get orders in more frequently.
You can proactively speed up the reorder rate with automated emails at the right time when customers are likely to have used up that bottle of body lotion.
Simply find out when that is for your products and trigger an email to hit right on time.
How can you know?
A rough estimate of average usage cycle can help (250 ml is 25 applications x 10 ml each, so maybe a month). Or you can use repeat purchase reports to see how long people take between orders.
Another thing to do for your LTV is reactivation emails of idle customers.
Don’t let them forget about you – keep the relationship alive with content on ingredients, lifestyle, food, anything relevant. The point is to stay top of mind.
Even if the customer experience is flawless, people get distracted by the so many offers out there and switch to other brands.
To prevent that, you need to spice things up. You’re more than bottles and price tags – show it. Hooked them on your brand.
Your brand story of creating the products and the values you stand for are what people relate to and you like you for.
Explain your philosophy and your choices to find your supporters. Highlight what sets your products apart.
Icelandic company BIOEFFECT surely stands out with its story. It was founded by geneticists who discovered a way to produce a skin renewal protein from plants. Their production facility’s negative carbon dioxide footprint helps establish them as pioneers, too.
Related: How discounting devalues brands?
If your products are organic or cruelty-free, get listed on reference sites and join like-minded groups on Facebook. Even better, build your own community to communicate directly with your audience about your shared interests.
Loyalty in the beauty industry requires lots of stimulation, but when you unleash your creativity, it’s not impossible.
Metrilo’s mission is to help you build your ecommerce brand and win your place in the customer’s heart. We share what we learn from our daily work with product innovators and founders here. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the freshest lessons and conquer your niche.