Retail tech, especially in the beauty sector, isn’t necessarily about sales at all — it’s about personal interactions and customer experience.
Now, yes, only the brands with the best customer engagement (including digital), brand recognition, and culture make it to the very top. But as retail tech grows into one of the biggest industries in 2020, it’s important to look at all the ways companies are succeeding and seeing ROI, separate from immediate sales conversions.
Retail technology isn’t always new technology. For example, consumer virtual reality has technically been around since the ‘90s. But VR and AR didn’t really make their way into the beauty industry until around 2016 following Snapchat’s introduction of the ‘Lens’ feature.
After lenses and ever-increasingly complex filters came virtual try-on features and ‘get the look’ capabilities in brands like L’Oreal and Rimmel London. In fact, nearly every major makeup line now boasts a “try it on” program, allowing consumers to upload a photo and try on products, even layering eyeshadows and mixing products before being able to transfer the whole tested-out look to their virtual cart.
Are Brick & Mortars Still A Thing, Let Alone Crucial?
Yet, while this feature certainly helps convert more online sales, how are the same beauty brands utilizing retail technology in their brick and mortars, and is it just as worthwhile? Is the increased speed of mobile-first transactions and scannable items enough to keep physical storefronts relevant in a world of digital Davids against the Goliath of Amazon?
Take a look at Sephora. They’ve recognized the importance not only of staying adaptable and adoptable as new technology comes out, but that they cannot lose the brick and mortar feel that shopping consumers still want. Over the last 2 years, they rolled out various programs in their stores to increase community engagement and brand culture, like hosting classes that cater to both makeup beginners and experts. Their marketing and creative efforts haven’t gone fully digital.
But then– speaking of staying adaptable– they also rolled out their color IQ technology. Every employee is able to, in seconds, scan a consumer’s face in 3 places to help them find the perfect shade of foundation. It’s a penultimate (nothing’s the ‘ultimate’ in tech evolution) combination of technology and human interaction to optimize brand loyalty and sales.
NYXing Outdated Strategies
One more example– NYX (owned by L’Oreal). In various of their storefronts starting in 2017, NYX started offering in-store virtual reality experiences where consumers can get face-to-face with their favorite beauty bloggers for a makeup tutorial. Again, we see that the highest performing Brand Names, in chasing the speed of technology, have not forgotten the importance of human interaction and customer experience.
Technology moves fast. It’s ever-apparent that staying relevant requires supply chain optimization, IoT product implementation, deep data gathering, and more (including literal robots rolling around).
But what’s more important — yes, even more so than the tech itself — is using it correctly to grow your brand as a leading entity in consumers’ eyes. Because behind all the data, employee trainings on new technology, and execs hiring dev teams to roll out AR/VR experiences, apps, and more, is a team of creative marketing strategists to execute on all those advanced analytics. A performance marketing group with case studies on premium brands already under their belt to craft retail technology in YOUR favor.
Luckily, that’s what we do. As a top marketing firm in Austin, TX, experts in Amazon AMS strategy and PLA management, and seasoned strategists in building and growing brands from the ground up, Rock Candy Media Austin has never fallen behind the tech curve.
If you want to get ahead with retail tech, stay ahead with brand performance, and find out why our clients see ROI 2-3X faster than other Austin ad agencies, hit us up.
We don’t wait around, but we do answer the door for passionate people with forward-thinking brands to build.