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The Changing Way Consumers Shop Online for Cosmetics

By: Ross Glick and Judy Shulman Brown
Posted: January 20, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 8

Q: From your experience then—would you say that the luxury  industries, including beauty, should have a different strategy when it comes to their digital campaigns? Or for beauty consumers, is buying beauty products the same as buying groceries?

Shulman Brown: No, it’s not remotely the same. A luxury brand should have rich content for those who want it and some won’t be interested in it no matter what—the point is to give users the option of choosing their experience. When you go to a good commerce site, you can get to the same area or product many different ways, and now with all the social media and mobile capabilities, people are experiencing a brand from multiple touch points. The problem is that it can be costly to create the content that will drive the rich experience. So again, it’s trying to find the optimal balance. But if experience commerce works, it’s about helping customers to feel a certain way about a brand from these multiple touch points.

Glick: That is a critical point because the reality is that—as mentioned—people are interacting now with brands at various touchpoints within the context of many different environments. The idea of being able to buy a product or engage with a new brand or an extension of a brand doesn’t necessarily have to happen on their dot-com site.

That being said, if a brand is out in the vast Internet landscape looking for customers, then it must be about engaging them in a deeper way that goes far beyond traditional marketing communications. The online engagement, when it happens, must be an amazing customer experience and fulfilling.

Q: Laura Mercier recently launched its new experience commerce site and you both collaborated on that project. What sort of challenges did you encounter creatively and technically?