Health and Beauty Buyers Search for Deals – and Require Extra Pampering

This post was published by Click Z – Marketing News and Expert Advice on July 26, 2011. Thanks for the feature!

Health and beauty shopping activity online was in full swing this spring. Marketers looking for ways to increase visits and purchase rates for their e-store may want to listen to the ever growing and savvy health and beauty shopper. According to Compete’s Shopper Intelligence Survey, 25 percent of online shoppers bought a health and or beauty product over the past three months (up three percent, year over year). One in five shop at least once a week online, proving that demand in the online space is very much alive.

The health and beauty market has seen large shifts over the past year, including Walgreens’ acquisition of Drugstore.com. Also, traditional health and beauty retailers now offer in-store pickup of online orders.

While digging through our data I realized that there are two measures of satisfaction that health and beauty shoppers are after: good value and cross-channel convenience. These trends are not unlike other product categories, yet there has been little movement in the health and beauty category online to date.

By understanding health and beauty shopper self-reported purchase behavior, small but valuable marketing and customer service techniques can be uncovered to can help improve on and offline sales.

Delivering Good Value

Although many say it’s convenient to shop online – a concept familiar to you and me – are there other factors that serve as a catalyst for online health and beauty product purchases? A total of 20 percent say that they shop online because coupons are available. Couponing can be a conversion booster if used within reason, but it seems as though the point of diminishing returns has not hit the beauty and health market. The majority of health and beauty consumers we spoke with say that they would purchase more products online if they were able to use in-store coupons online. Furthermore, 79 percent say they would have bought the product if they had a free-shipping coupon. Knowing this, health and beauty retailers could increase online conversions. Allowing coupon usage to flow between both online and in-store purchases and offering free shipping helps create convenience, something that all marketers should aim to provide for their consumers.

Cross-Channel Convenience

Does the health and beauty consumer wish for more incentives when it comes to online and offline attention? The answer is two-fold. There are marked differences in how consumer shopping behavior differs online to offline. Consider these survey findings:

  • 77 percent of health and beauty consumers state that they purchase different products online than in store, unveiling an opportunity that arises when looking for ways to increase the purchase funnel.
  • 48 percent of health and beauty shoppers would purchase more online if they were able to return products to brick-and-mortar locations. Knowing that many are purchasing different products online than in store, the prospect of increasing foot traffic both in store and online suddenly becomes feasible.

OK, so now you’re wondering how this will increase purchases and ultimately affect your bottom line? One in three health and beauty shoppers say that when they are in a store returning items purchased online, they purchase new items at the same time.

Understanding consumer behavior is essential in building an online strategy and an integrated online to offline sales funnel. Creating excellent consumer experiences and offering incentives do help conversions and repeat purchases. Marketers who understand how to create the quintessential customer experience know the importance of creating seamless transitions between online and offline purchasing.

About Pashmeena Hilal:
Pashmeena Hilal is a Senior Associate at Compete. Pashmeena does competitive analytics, POV's and surveys for the retail division of Compete. Before Compete Pashmeena was an agency account manager at Carat and Studiocom.