As social trends continue to rage on in the consumer world overall, beauty brands are wise to keep up on what kinds of advantages and opportunities social shopping can offer. However, as discussed by product content management software company Salsify’s Emily Saka in her August 2013 blog post “Can Trendy Health and Beauty Sites Avoid The Social Shopping Trend?,” the same rules might not always apply across brands, categories and markets. As Saka writes, “We wondered: is the consumer experience the same across all price ranges and levels of trendiness, especially when it comes to social shopping? As it turns out, the answer is no.”
For the post, Salsify analyzed sites dubbed “best” in beauty by an expert panel for the London newspaper The Times. The findings were surprising. “We soon found that the social shopping features that have become a fixture in mainstream retail are all but gone in these upmarket sites—which is more detrimental to the shopping experience than they might think,” Saka writes.
She points out how sites such as those recommended offer a limited social network and comments area, instead often turning to well-known associated names and experts (famous hairstylist for hair care lines, online advisors). “In short, brands and experts whose names inherently signify quality are less likely to derive any benefit from opening up communal sharing and review avenues about their products,” notes Saka.
She also writes, “While the conscious omission of things like customer reviews and social media plug-ins make sense if the consumer is as trendy as the brand or expert, the beauty of social shopping for ‘the average consumer’ (myself included) is that it brings the shopping experience to a level playing field.”
So where does your brand fit in? Saka sums up, “With consumers in mainstream channels quickly learning that their greatest resources are one another, companies are at a severe disadvantage if they consider themselves exempt from the social shopping trend.” Read the full post on this topic here.