So how can beauty brands acquire new customers and accelerate new product adoption? Well, if beauty buyers can be convinced a new product is “sensational,” 78% will switch to it. Free samples can work, with 33% of people saying they help them adopt something new.
But a friend vouching for the product is more powerful, with 52% saying this will influence them. This suggests beauty brands can increase their chance of winning people over if they generate a product experience that people want to share.
This realization is driving brands to create beauty experiences to engage directly with consumers and deliver more convincing trial as well as encouraging new customers to spread the word and purchase.
But what factors are key to maximizing the effectiveness of these real world brand experiences? Here are five essentials:
1. Focus on a product or engaging theme. Beauty brand experiences work best when focusing consumers’ attention on a single product or theme. This Christmas, for example, L’Oréal pushed its Lancôme fragrances by erecting a 36-foot Eiffel Tower at London’s St Pancras International station made from 1,500 bottles of La Vie Est Belle fragrance, with a shop at its base. The bottles were then donated to the international cancer support charity Look Good Feel Better.
2. Deepen the trial experience. Create an environment that allows consumers to trial a product as thoroughly as possible, ideally with experts on hand offering guidance and demonstrations. Last Christmas, The Body Shop created a sensorial Enchanted Forest pop-up experience in Shoreditch, London to promote its green credentials and the new Christmas collection, featuring makeovers, workshops, panel talks and yoga classes. This year it ran the “Dream Big” beauty experience, bringing the brand to a younger, eco-focused audience in an environment that promised to "pamper, inspire and inform."
3. Make it personal. Tap into the highly personal and intimate nature of beauty products by tailoring the experience to each visitor as much as possible. A MAC Studio Fix (disclosure: a client) experience offered each consumer a "Shade Match" consultation to identify their unique foundation color codes. These were then applied to any product they purchased on the day at a #GetYourFix personalization station.
4. Include a spread-the-word mechanism. Enable people to post their experiences of the product or brand through social media. Use a prize draw or freebie to incentivize this vital process. For example, visitors to Benefit’s GlastonBrow pit stop on the road to Glastonbury 2018 who shared a picture of themselves at the festival with their gift got the chance to win a year’s supply of Benefit products.
5. Use data to grow your customer base. Incorporate ways to capture the data of pop-up visitors and get their permission to send them information, such as offers, free samples and beauty tips and guidance. This is a great way to drive sales and more importantly, loyalty, beyond the life of the activation.
Managed in the right way, beauty experiences are a key weapon in the battle to quell consumers’ fear of trying new products in this category, while also capitalizing on the importance of friends and family influence in encouraging people to switch brands.