Commentary

Why The Search For Beauty Care Products Takes Longer

Beauty care products like cosmetics, fragrances, hair and nail care, along with spa and relaxation products are popular around Mother's Day, but for this category shoppers need more research time before committing to a purchase, giving brands a little more reason to coddle consumers on retail Web sites.

Consumers tend to search on more generic terms when it comes to retail Web sites. Perhaps it's part of the discovery process. One may think that terms like "mascara," rather than "makeup" would more likely result in a sales -- perhaps on search engines, but not on retail sites, because more specific search terms like "brown eye shadow" are less frequently searched.

In fact, the top 10 search terms by traffic include mirror, Shea moisture, hair dryer, shampoo, curling iron, makeup, nail polish, makeup brushes, flat iron, and curling wand. This differs from the top 10 search terms by transaction. Those include shampoo, Shea Moisture, mirror, hair dryer, mascara, conditioner, curling Iron, nail polish, massage, and hair brush.

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In the MarketTree study, consumers reported on their browsing and buying behavior across specific categories. Some 62% said they liked to browse different products on the same Web site to compare products, vs. an average across categories of 50%. They also were significantly more likely to hold items in their carts, 27% vs. 19%, without immediately checking out.

While traffic typically makes up about 52% of Retail Search Exchange network transactional data, between Feb. 1, 2015, and March 31; volume comprised 39%; and value, 38%. What does this mean? Beauty care products, because of high research and traffic, convert at a lower rate than other similar items like personal and health care. Personal care conversion rates average 134%; health care, 116%; and beauty care, 81%.

The HookLogic white paper analyzes more than 17 million online transactions representing more than $800 million in cosmetic and beauty sales from Feb. 1 through March 31, 2015 across the HookLogic Retail Search Exchange (RSX) network. The analysis also includes survey data from a 500-consumer study HookLogic commissioned from MarketTree in May 2014, to understand the motivations that drive behaviors of Beauty Care consumers.

Another interesting point: In carts containing cosmetics, for example, 47% of those units are cosmetics but an additional 12% are other Health, Beauty & Personal Care items, and 41% are other units. In this analysis, fragrance clearly sells the least, with non-category units. For the carts containing more than one Beauty item, which subcategories are most often cross purchased?

"Given Hair Care’s high volume, you might expect that it would be sold with every subcategory, but Fragrances are most often purchased with Cosmetics, as is Hair Care itself," per the study. "It may be that Spa & Relaxation and Hair Care fit together in a consumer’s mind more like body care, while Fragrances and Cosmetics are more about beautification." 

1 comment about "Why The Search For Beauty Care Products Takes Longer".
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  1. Eric Johnson from Arizona State , April 3, 2017 at 5:46 a.m.

    Laurie,

    As a Marketing student that has been designing a Marketing plan for a spa line, I found this to be a very beneficial and imagination expanding article. 

    I was fascinated to learn about some of the top conversion search rates including: Personal Care (134%), Health Care (116%), and Beauty Care (81%). This demonstrates the idea of consumers recognizing their personal wellbeing as the number one priority, but the fact that beauty care is also a critical component of our self-esteem and mental wellbeing. 

    With that in mind, It was eye-opening to see the ten highest search results for beauty care products were mirrors, Shea moisture, hair dryer, shampoo, curling iron, makeup, nail polish, massage, and hair brush. By co-branding and the promotion of bundling products between these products group, we can expect signifcant boosts in product awareness and build reputation for foreign products on the market. 

    As Hair Care and Cosmetics seem to be a popular shared market, I believe there could be great possibility in adding a full nail salon within an already existing hair salon. One suggestion would be to combine these two of the most popular desired beauty services to create an ultimate pampering experience. This may be an excellent idea at retail stores like Nordstrom and JcPenney where many of the nail and hair salons products can be found throughout the store. By offering the convenience of the mega salon inside the retail store, consumers would have the opportunity for an interactive experience before purchasing the products.




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