We need to talk – Why Beauty Brands Embrace Conversational Marketing

Beauty is a deeply personal business. Consumers don’t want to settle for a product that’s been pushed on them because they fit some cookie-cutter profile. They want an experience that makes them feel unique, valued and in charge; one that leads them to products that suit their individual needs and personalities, delivered by brands that can evolve with them from season to season and through every stage of their lives.

Old school digital marketing solutions like email made it impossible for beauty brands to deliver this kind of dynamic, personalized experience to customers. But brands now have the power to engage in one-on-one conversations with the people they’re trying to reach. Those conversations allow them to create a more positive, targeted experience for consumers and lay the foundations for lasting relationships that grow richer and deeper with every engagement.

It’s called Conversational Marketing and it’s a genuine game-changer for beauty brands.


Beauty Brands know that where there’s trust, there’s opportunity

Beauty brands are blessed with a highly engaged audience.  Millennials may spend hours online watching beauty videos and hunting for information on the latest trends. According to Boston based influence tracker Pixability, global views of beauty videos on YouTube have grown an astonishing 60% over the last year, while Millennials make up some 60% of the beauty audience on Facebook.  They’re hungry for beauty products, but even the most voracious consumers can lose trust in brands that push the wrong goods and services at them.

Conversational Marketing harnesses the enthusiasm and interest online beauty consumers already possess and asks them to engage with a chatbot in something most people love to do – talk about themselves. This positive, one-on-one engagement then paves the way for future conversations to create richer customer profiles.

This is where the relationship really deepens. The richer the profile, the more beauty brands can continue to offer their customers products and services that make them feel special and genuinely valued.

For example, online shopping is supposed to save time, but I’ve spent hours scrolling through pages and pages of beauty products, searching for that elusive item that ticks all of the boxes for my skin type, tone, occasion and time of year. Conversational Marketing really is a time saver. The chatbot engages me through an application I use dozens of time a day, such as Facebook Messenger, then shows me products targeted specifically to the wish list I’ve shared — with my full knowledge and agreement — through that two-way conversation.

But it doesn’t end there. As the brand gets to know me better, it learns when to initiate an online interaction and what new products I’m most likely to get excited about.  The more the chatbot “gets” me, the more I engage with it.

Think about what that means for companies that want to focus on long-term, company-wide growth. Conversational Marketing liberates beauty brands from short-term success measures like return on ad spend by giving them an accurate, rich data set to create dynamic calculations based on Customer Lifetime Value.


Why Beauty Brands are investing now

Since Sephora launched their beauty chatbot in March 2016, fourteen of the world’s largest beauty brands have introduced a messaging project in North America including nine within the last six months. All of those brands had the foresight to see how consumers would embrace technology to improve their shopping experience.

Chatbots are the online equivalent of a personal beauty concierge. They help beauty consumers solve the problems they face while shopping. For instance, they curate products based on specific needs, instead of leaving it the consumer to go through long and confusing lists. They also offer services such as appointment scheduling, skin care diagnostics and relevant tutorials.

Consumers are getting wiser about online data collection. The only thing they resent more than having their every click and “like” fed into algorithms is having companies make inaccurate, and possibly offensive assumptions about their tastes and habits based on the imperfect profiles those algorithms compile.  I know every time a spam lands in my inbox, or an advertisement follows me around the web, I feel uncomfortable (and I’m a marketer myself so you’d think I’d have a higher tolerance for this). It’s like someone’s been watching me from the shadows. It’s creepy for consumers, not to mention, inefficient for the beauty brands trying to appeal to them.

Conversational Marketing rectifies the intrusiveness and inefficiency of legacy digital marketing by bringing the customer-brand relationship out of the shadows and into the open. And it does it via social media platforms where the biggest cohort of beauty consumers – Millennials— flock to find answers to their beauty questions.

When consumers engage with a chatbot via a messaging app, they share their preferences, concerns and desires on their terms, not some faceless algorithm’s.  That level of control is incredibly empowering. And customers who feel empowered are likely to share more information that leads to a truly personalized online shopping experience.

But don’t take my word for it. Just look at how customers responded to their Conversational Marketing experience with L’Oréal.  The overwhelming majority of those who engaged with the chatbot – 82% — said they liked the experience “A LOT”.

Conversational Marketing for Beauty Brands - NPS


Conversational Marketing outperforms tried and true email marketing tactics

Conversational Marketing is the way ahead for beauty brands that want to engage their customers in a fun and empowering way that nurtures lasting relationships. If you’re still not convinced that it’s a better investment than legacy online marketing, here’s a few more stats from L’Oréal.  

The beauty giant found that Conversational Marketing notifications had a 54% read rate, compared to an email open rate of only 16%.  More than a quarter of consumers responded to Conversational Marketing notifications, while the click-through rate on email was a only 2-4%.   Consumers averaged 11 steps per Conversational Marketing session, versus 4 website page views per session. Not surprising then that rich profile collection for Conversational Marketing was a whopping 31%, compared to 13% for email surveys.

Perhaps the greatest metric though for measuring the appeal of Conversational Marketing is time. L’Oréal found consumers spent an average of 9 minutes -NINE MINUTES- engaged in Conversational Marketing sessions.  The average time spent reading an email was only 11 seconds.  

The numbers are compelling and the interest is set to only get bigger – because there are millions of beauty consumers online just waiting for someone to talk to them. Are you ready to have that conversation with them before someone else does? With Automat, it’s easier than ever to get started.  So let’s chat!

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