The first half of 2020—amid a global pandemic—required beauty and wellness brands to adapt their marketing strategies based on the needs of consumers, especially as they sought out self-care.


Elizabeth Ray speaking at the Beauty Inc. Wellness Summit.

At the recent WWD Beauty Inc Wellness Virtual Conference, Elizabeth Ray, VP of Client Strategy at Attentive, discussed the shifting trends that dominated the online beauty and wellness market, as well as what the second half of this year may look like. She shared some practical tips on how to harness text messaging to drive revenue as customers are increasingly seeking meaningful brand connections. Here are some of Ray’s takeaways:

Looking at the data—beauty & wellness e-commerce sales

At the start of the pandemic, Attentive analyzed anonymized e-commerce data from our 1,000+ customers. Over the first 90 days of the pandemic, we found that e-commerce sales were pacing above average across all verticals—a sign that consumers were shifting their purchasing behaviors to be primarily online after many stores announced closures due to state-by-state guidelines.

It’s also important to note that consumers were—and still are—very value-driven, with e-commerce sales across verticals seeing significant spikes whenever offering discounts or promos. For wellness and beauty brands, specifically, we also noticed a shift in the kind of items being purchased. 

For the beauty vertical, self-care and at-home haircare items were some of the top purchases in March and April, with perfume and makeup tending down. It wasn’t until May that consumers started purchasing more “discretionary” beauty items. 

When looking at e-commerce data around the health and wellness verticals, home gym equipment, virtual training sessions, and at-home dental care were some of the items that trended up in March and April. 

When May approached, as some states began lifting “stay at home” directives and the weather across the nation started heating up, we noticed seasonal items—like suncare—trending up, and home fitness and virtual training trending down, perhaps as consumers looked to the outdoors for their workouts. 

Leaning into SMS Marketing

As consumers have spent more time at home and on mobile during the first half of the year, and considering the majority prefer to communicate via text vs. other communication channels—SMS provides wellness and beauty brands with an effective, direct way to communicate with customers. Some of the use cases include:

  • Geo-targeting: As some cities begin to reopen, brands can use geo-targeting to keep local subscribers up to date on location reopenings or social distancing guidelines. 
  • Behavioral data: Automatically send a reminder to subscribers based on actions taken—like abandoning their online cart—to encourage them to complete their purchase. 
  • Discounts: As consumers remain value-driven, sending discounts—like BOGO, percentage/dollars off, or a free gift with purchase—is a great strategy to encourage purchases.
  • Non-promotional: If your brand doesn’t offer direct discounts, consider sending benefits like back-in-stock alerts, complimentary shipping, or upcoming product launches. 
  • Mission-driven content: Consumers care about what your brand stands for. Let text messaging subscribers know if you’re donating to a cause or celebrating an event or movement that your brand believes in.

Predicting the second half of 2020—where do we go from here?

Where can beauty and wellness brands focus their efforts for the second half of the year? Here are our three predictions:

  1. In terms of COVID-19, trends will differ per region as re-opening phases vary across the country. When engaging with your audience, it’s important that you keep in mind where they’re located to ensure you’re sending relevant content or offers.
  2. E-commerce will only continue to grow. Even as stores begin to re-open in some regions, many consumers have become even more comfortable making their purchases online. In addition, consumer intent to go back to in-store shopping is down 19%. Having a strong e-commerce presence makes it easy and seamless for your brand to connect with shoppers, regardless of location.  
  3. Consumers will remain value-driven. From day-to-day purchases to the upcoming holidays, consumers will be looking for good deals and brands that offer them. 

With more e-commerce options and consumers feeling more comfortable than ever with online shopping—especially on their mobile devices—having a powerful, direct channel like text messaging will ensure you’re reaching them with the content they want, where they want it. 

 

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