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Health and beauty retailers fall short on personalisation: study

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Health and beauty retailers are passing up opportunities to engage with their customers in a personalised way, according to a new study.

Retail marketing agency Leapfrogg analysed ten of the UK’s health and beauty ecommerce operations – Feel Unique, SpaceNK, LookFantastic, Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay, Escentual, Blow Ltd, Beauty Expert, Urban Retreat Beautique and Bath & Unwind – to find out how they collected and then used customer data to offer a personalised experience.

Two studies were carried out concurrently over one month. The first researcher made a purchase on each site, while the other followed the same path but did not make the final purchase. Each then followed a set of interactions with the ten retailers.

Overall, half of the health and beauty brands researched gave shoppers personalised content while they were browsing on site, by showing recently viewed or recommended products. A fifth (20%) collected hair, skin and beauty preferences during the purchase or email sign up process. Less than a third (30%) of retailers studied collected customers’ gender as they signed up for marketing and special offer emails – although all emails that were subsequently received were female-focused.

When sending emails, 30% addressed respondents by their first name. 20% personalised email communications to shoppers according to previous purchases, while a further fifth sent trigger emails influenced by on-site behaviour.

Meanwhile, 40% of health and beauty brands showed consumers personalised retargeting or display ads on other websites including Facebook, based on products viewed or purchased.

“The health and beauty sector has ample opportunities for personalisation during the browsing and shopping experience, given every existing and potential customer will be interested in different products based on their age, skin type, hair condition and brand preference,” said Rosie Freshwater, MD of Leapfrogg. “Our research shows there is currently a real lack of targeting. Minimal data and preferences were being collected and we saw little evidence of tailored content or offers, with most retailers taking a general approach to communication across multiple channels.”

Leapfrogg looked at data collected pre, post and during purchase, online communication, packaging, trigger emails, offers and content based on onsite behaviour plus personalised retargeting.

“While some were collecting shopper preferences, there often wasn’t any indication as to how data was being used. Retailers have the potential to upsell and encourage repeat business by showing that they recognise and understand customers with relevant content,” said Freshwater.

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