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Paths to Purchase

By: Sara Mason
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

For beauty brands, consumer loyalty has become a bit elusive. Brands need to ensure that they are meeting—or exceeding—expectations so that consumers continue to see the enhanced value brands deliver. And that “value” must extend beyond the product purchase. “Brands that connect with consumers throughout the research, purchase and use continuum can help guide customers to the best products for them, ensure that they know the best ways to use the products, and gain powerful feedback to continue to evolve their products to meet the evolving needs of their consumers,” said Kelly O’Neill, director of product marketing, ATG—a provider of personalized cross-channel commerce software and services. Brands that are good at doing this will deliver value well beyond product prices.

Consumers have fundamentally changed the way they live and shop. “We are quickly becoming a digital-centric world as consumers turn toward their laptops and cell phones to find information, connect with their friends and family, and access goods and services,” said O’Neill. In fact, a recent ATG survey shows that 48% of consumers typically use two channels—computers, mobile devices, brick-and-mortar stores, catalogs, customer service reps, etc.—to browse and research products, whereas another 24% say they use three channels.

Regardless of where or how the final purchase is made, consumers often start their research and browsing online. They turn to brand sites, social sites, bloggers and retailers to learn about new trends and products. And, when they find the must-have product, they want to buy the product wherever they may be at the time. Brands that offer consumers multiple paths to purchase—through their traditional retail partners, through new affiliates and partnerships, and directly through their own or distributor Web sites—will best meet the needs of this new “commerce anywhere” consumer.

Mass Retail

German-based Lavera Naturkosmetik used the downturn in the economy to make its products available to a wider audience. Lavera is among the market leaders in Europe for natural skin care with 27% of market share in general health and beauty products and a 50% market share in sunscreen products. But the brand has its sights set on the American mass market. Best-sellers from Lavera skin care, makeup, hair care and sunscreen lines were launched through California CVS/pharmacy locations and cvs.com in 2009 and launched in Target stores nationwide in March 2010. The calendula-infused products are now available in 24,000 doors in 25 countries.“It is our goal at Lavera to make truly natural skin care and beauty products more accessible to customers,” said Ulrike Jacob, CEO, Lavera USA. “By exposing more consumers to natural products, Lavera expands on its goal of promoting health, radiant skin and overall well-being.”