by Amanda Stevens
Of course, the beauty industry has been one of the major sectors impacted, with the shopfloor still dominated by the iconic global names that everyone knows now peppered with niche brands new to the market. So what’s the psyche of the indie brand consumer. And how do YOU sell indie brands to a changing consumer?
1. FOCUS ON NEWNESS
The rise of millennial consumers is changing the game for beauty and many other categories. Millennials are entering their peak purchasing years and they are hungry for what’s new and trendy. Their nomadic outlook on life is reflected in their brand choices and shopping behaviour. They seek out journeys of discovery and brands that speak to an aspirational, nostalgic view on the world. They work to live rather than live to work. They seek out brands that offer more than cream in a jar – they want to connect with brands that reflect their lifestyle. They are often seeking out a new brand simply for the benefit of discovery. Help them with that journey by showing them what’s new on the market.
2. UNDERSTAND THE EMERGING IMPORTANCE OF FOUNDER AND PHILOSOPHY
Consumers love a good story and love to feel connected to a brand story. What independent brands have over the global giants is they have their founder and philosophy as an intrinsic part of their brand DNA. Consumers feel connected and it makes the brand appear more authentic and engaging.
A unique brand story also helps a brand grow through word of mouth. Female consumers love to share a new brand with their friends, particularly if it has an interesting story attached. In terms of brand appeal, this can often transcend the functional aspect of the product itself.
Independent brands have a unique and interesting story; how it started, the founder’s journey to getting on the radar, how the product is made, where it’s made, who’s behind it, which celebrities are devotees, the sourcing of ingredients and the insight behind the brand name.
More and more, consumers are connecting to a brand’s philosophy just as much as the benefits and often they will buy the ‘why’ more than the ‘what’. Your ability to inspire your customers by demonstrating your understanding of all aspects of a brand will dramatically improve your powers of persuasion.
3. BE INGREDIENT-AWARE
A major trend driving the rise of independent brands is those that have tapped into the increasing desire for organic, sustainable skincare. Brands inspired by botanical-based ingredients such as Jurlique have been popular for many years but many new brands are appealing to consumer demand for certified organic products that are completely free of chemicals. The vegan-friendly stamp is increasingly sought after today. Consumers are more ingredient-aware than ever and as a beauty expert, you need to be too.
4. ENGAGE THE SENSES
Research shows that for every sense that is engaged in a purchasing situation, propensity to buy increases. In other words, if your customers are seeing, holding, feeling and smelling a product, they are far more likely to take the product home.
Many new independent brands, particularly those that are certified organic have essential oil based ingredients and smell heavenly. Some have also developed ranges that are aesthetically engaging; an increasingly important purchase factor for today’s consumer who sees her skincare products as an extension of her bathroom style.
Encourage your customers to have a tactile experience with new products and watch your sales increase.
5. EXTEND THE VALUE BEYOND THE BEAUTY COUNTER
Many new indie beauty brands have engaged a loyal consumer base from day one by inviting them to ‘co-parent’ their brand.
They utilise social media to have a two-way conversation with their consumers and involve them in everything from product names, launches, behind-the-scenes footage from photo shoots and online communities. As such, their consumers become their ambassadors and this word-of-mouth marketing enables them to grow market share without the expense of traditional marketing methods.
By understanding what’s on offer for a customer once they purchase a product, you can help enhance the perceived value of the brand and lock in future sales in the form of repeat purchases and word of mouth.
As the beauty sector becomes more fragmented, with the new kids performing on a block that is dominated by a handful of global giants, we will see increasing numbers of niche brands, aiming to capture a small slice of the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry. Today’s educated and brand-aware consumer comes beauty shopping all genned up with research and having had a good chat with her girlfriends – work with her inquisitiveness.
Of course she wants a product that works and lives up to its claims, but she’s also more likely than ever to care about a brand’s environmental impact, where it’s made and who’s behind the brand. Be ahead of the game on this knowledge and you will be a retailing rock star.
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