The LRW Group recently convened executives and business leaders from Sephora, Glossier, Mary Kay and Violet Grey to “where the industry is today, where it is going and how brands can turn solid research and data into actionable business strategy,” the company said.
The marketing services firm facilitated topics that included “why brands should take the long view and stop chasing trends, the anthropology of online beauty conversations, and an examination of the DNA of online beauty consumers and their ultimate path to purchase,” a spokeswoman said.
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Among the presenters were Tatev Papikyan, marketing and data science manager at LRW, and Jean Zelt, vice president of account management at LRW MotiveQuest.
Zelt’s presentation explored why skin-care and makeup products are “a deeply personal pursuit” where the end goal is not transactional, “but rather the feeling of transformation that starts in the discovery phase, when consumers know what they want to buy and even before the buy or try the product,” Zelt noted.
The discussion centered on skin-care and makeup products as part of a journey where the consumer is seeking a solution as well as simply wanting to explore.
Some of the insights shared include data that showed nearly “twice as much online conversation is about makeup versus skin care” and that conversations “tend to happen at the same time due to industry seasonality, product announcements, reviews and industry news.”
With skin care, customers are specifically looking to solve a problem or “achieve a desired effect.” And often, a product brand is not the starting point in a conversation.
In Papikyan’s session, the path to product discovery and conversion was explored by asking: “How do consumers navigate the ever-changing landscape to buy new products?”
Core to the session was grouping consumers into behavioral persona cohorts — with each revealing different paths to purchase. The groups include “the feelers,” who need to “sample, engage in conversations with professionals or store associates and ultimately try before they buy.”
This group tends to “skew” to Generation Z, who “values tactile experience above all else” and are “status seekers” who are “more likely to shop at industry-specific stores like MAC, Sephora, and Kiehl’s than those on other journeys.”
Other cohorts include “the reviewers,” who feverishly scan web sites and product reviews while “micro influencers” are born from a sphere of influence that “starts within family and friends” and is “crowdsourced within micro-communities, but frequently can extend past that circle.”
The day’s program also include a panel session that explored the “cultural shifts” driving the beauty industry, which included a “broader view” of consumers and how they are impacted by these changes. Other topics discussed included the state of luxury and sustainability as well as health and wellness trends, among other topics. The goal of the event was to help participants turn the data and consumer insights presented into “actionable strategies.”