If you’d like to cover more ground in today’s fashion market, you must understand that consumer shopping behavior is evolving at a rapid pace. To be crystal clear, this change is challenging luxury brands to reinvent and remain relevant in the marketplace.
Since the last decade, influencer marketing has been the go-to marketing strategy for fashion brands. Moreover, with the proliferation and increasing dependence on smartphones and other smart devices, it was only a matter of time before brands leveraged this change to capture the attention of consumers and lead them to the point of purchase.
Allow me to be clear. There is no doubt in my mind that influencer marketing was very effective. In fact, Influencer marketing statistics reveal that 89 percent of marketers proudly boast that it is in fact influencer marketing that brought the highest return on investment in comparison to any other marketing strategy.
It is no wonder luxury brands such as Santeva Beauty & Health have been using influencer marketing to promote inclusivity and reach more customers. For instance, the actress and reality TV star, Mehgan James, known for reality TV shows like Bad Girls and Marriage Bootcamp was one of the influencers that have been pushing the Santeva Beauty and Health brand recently. By employing influencer marketing, they have increased their brand awareness which has resulted in positive sales growth overall.
This years answer is the much hyped German Indie Beauty brand Rosental, known for its gemstone infused beauty products which has seen a staggering 8-fold growth by optimizing its direct consumer experience ( DTC) by using its popularity among influencers, actresses and even fashion models.
According to Founder Alexander Pelz, “Our skincare is made to make people fall in love the moment they use our product for the first time and we went through great effort to transport this feeling into our online shopping experience. The whole user journey is crucial for a brand’s long term success and we tap into every step of it to provide the user with the feeling of the lifestyle and the effect she deserves.”
Nevertheless, in spite of the success attributed to influencer marketing, technology is proposing a new alternative as we enter into the third decade of the 21st century. In short, it is a type of marketing that provides a more personalized approach. Let’s face it, the personal approach is what it is all about these days.
Forget Influencers. Let’s use tech instead:
According to Guive Balooch, the Global Vice President of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, “50 percent of women can’t find the right shade of foundation for their face, and women with darker skin tones have been crying out for more choice.” It’s literally impractical for cosmetic companies to produce millions of shades of foundation to cater to their large and diversified customer base.
So imagine a technology where your foundation adjusts its shade to fit your complexion perfectly. No need for swatches. No failed purchases. No leaving Sephora with an arm full of makeup to test at home. Nowadays, this is how beauty/tech takes marketing luxury brands to the next level. And to my point, global brands such as L’Oréal, Shiseido, and Estée Lauder are investing heavily in beauty tech as we flow in 2021. Beauty tech involves innovative technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Internet of Things (IoT) to enable luxury brands to offer personalized experiences of their products.
More to the point, this technology can show its face in various ways. Take for instance, virtual ‘try on’ apps such as Sephora’s Virtual Artist. Apps like Virtual Artist uses AR to help customers sample how the makeup will look through digital overlays. This is made possible through image recognition and face tracking technology.
Occasionally beauty tech shows up in the form of smart devices like L’Oréal’s Perso. Perso analyzes your face and activates the device to produce the perfect shade of foundation for your skin. Another good case in point is HiMirror which scans your face for blemishes and provides you with personalized tips and product recommendations based on its analysis of your skin. This kind of personalized touch is unlike anything an influencer can provide through an influencer marketing campaign.
Beauty tech connects customers with the products first hand through their smartphones or smart devices instead of taking a chance on products they see on their favorite influencer. And with the surge in the use of smartphones and video content, beauty tech can quickly solidify its presence in everyone’s hands.Moreover, more and more luxury brands are now able to produce video content that can promote their brands to more people. A simple guide to corporate video maker simplifies the whole process. This way, luxury brands can literally expand as far as there are devices that can be used to experience it and we can immediately learn the new methods.
Funding beauty tech to reach customers:
This sophisticated kind of marketing infused with AI may not be an easy feat without adequate finance to back it up. Production of these smart beauty devices or AI and AR driven applications require technical skills to create something that can personalize and market brands at scale. One needs to be open to employing different kinds of funding available. For marketing as futuristic as beauty tech, it makes sense to give futuristic kinds of funding a try as well. Alexandr Iurev, CEO of iCoinSoft and KukApp said “We’re currently experiencing an expansion in decentralized finance. Money is evolving to include digital assets. And it’ll be a shame not to hop on this trend while it’s affordable for all to be a part of it.”
Decentralized financing (DeFi) is worth considering as an alternative source that luxury brands can use to invest in beauty tech. In fact, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which has proven to be a good move. I have witnessed this taking place firsthand in the fashion business. Just last year, FIT faculty were invited to a teaching seminar on how bitcoin will affect and effect the fashion industry overall. More so, Bitcoin hit its record high of $20,000 recently, surpassing the value of gold itself. Almost overnight, cryptocurrency became the center of attention as it made investors smile at their fortunes. As such, companies like xSigma have become the go-to place fore many people when it comes to decentralized financing (DeFi). Backed by the NASDAQ listed company, ZK International, xSigma is creating a transparent and reliable exchange for users. Their aim is to revolutionize the DeFi ecosystem by offering pragmatic solutions to the world of open finance. And their mandate has expanded to all facets of the DeFi ecosystem, including stable-coins, custodial trading, wallet services and cross-chain lending.
What this means for the beauty brands:
If you’re a beauty brand one of the most important takeaways from the rise of beauty tech is the power of personalization. Regardless of how effective influencer marketing has been, it’s no match to how smart beauty products can win the approval of many at scale. It’s one thing to be attracted to a product because a celebrity is using it, and it’s another when your desire to use a beauty product is responsive to you. Since global brands such Sephora and L’Oréal have started employing beauty tech to their product line, it’s safe to assume more brands will follow in their footsteps.
The pandemic further strengthens the need to make a shift to the use of beauty tech in marketing. With health regulations requiring more people to stay home and observe the COVID-19 guidelines, the pandemic has given more meaning to virtually sampling beauty brands. Innovations brought about by beauty tech encourages contactless shopping. However, leveraging on the new age technologies to market luxury brands requires funding. Creating intuitive smart devices, or virtual ‘try on’ applications may be expensive. Hence, the need to explore different available sources of finances including digital assets and gold.
Be this as it may, despite the possible expenses of running beauty tech activities, it might be an investment well spent as mankind presses forward into the tech-savvy future.