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The Health and Beauty industry is one of the largest markets in the world both in terms of products and with regards to marketing techniques, encompassing brands which offer everything from perfume to make-up, anti-ageing skincare, sun cream and after-sun, special skincare solutions for different skin types and conditions, diet and weight loss supplements, nutritional support, wellbeing products and a lot more besides – including accessories to support most of those different sectors. With so many different product types and categories captured within under the ‘Health and Beauty’ umbrella, the opportunity for discounts, deals and vouchers within the industry is rife, with many retailers offering various deals across their different product sections depending on the season, current trends and needs, and what is popular – as well as what is not so popular!
It is anticipated that the Health and Beauty market will grow and expand further in the coming years, as more and more brands seek to plug gaps in the market which provide solutions to very specific issues, needs, and problems. A common example here lies in the haircare world – previously a very straightforward market which was served by a number of big players across the hair industry: think BaByliss, John Frieda, and L’Oreal. Now, however, that market has grown exponentially to recognise and embody the need for different products tailored to different hair lengths, hair types, hair colours, and hair textures. Whether or not this response was originally formed from the saturation of the existing market, or from an actual need, is now irrelevant – the fact is, the market was expanded, and the buyers reacted.
Another example lies in how products are made and tested, with the rise in veganism playing a huge part in defining a market of new and improved health and beauty products which are hitting our shelves. Historically, health and beauty products were tested in laboratories, often on live animals to ensure that they were safe and suitable for human use. Of course, this as a practice has been widely criticised, and as a response is now illegal across most of the world including the UK, the EU and Australia. However there are still brands and entire countries with question marks over their heads regarding testing, leading to a huge rise in the number of brands and products which are announcing themselves to be vegan friendly – made and tested in settings which are in no way harmful to animals and other wildlife. This is one of the trends which shows just how the health and beauty sector is adapting to the world we live in, not only through the use of clever marketing and well timed deals and discounts, but also through integrity and brand transparency.
Before we can hope to understand the health and beauty market and identify where the success and popularity of the sector really lies, we first need to understand exactly how wide this industry really is.
Not only does it include the daily health and beauty products such as haircare, make-up and moisturiser; it also includes a whole range of products which are tailored to the seasons as well as to the buyer. This is where the real success of the health and beauty industry lies.
Buyers have become accustomed to the idea that there is a product for every individual, and that there is a product suitable for every season, for each individual. Perfume is a great example, with buyers often having a scent they choose for the summer months and a different one they wear in the Winter. Another example is skincare, particularly for the face – with SPF creams being recommended by retailers in the summer for extra protection, while in the winter we are told we should be using thicker creams which are more suited to keeping our skin moisturised during the cooler months.
So, what does it mean to become a successful retailer or e-merchant in the health and beauty industry?
Success in the health and beauty industry comes down to gaining and maintaining a trustworthy brand image in the eyes of your target customer. While fashion and basic product lines can be seen through images and videos and even in store - making sales much easier - selling a health or a beauty product is far more about the use of words, reviews and simply persuasion in order to allow the customer to feel like what you are selling really will help them and impact their appearance or body in a positive way.
Many brands do this through tutorials and testimonials; paying vast sums of advertising money for televised ads, posters on trains, social media targeted ads and large banners plastered on buses. Others use celebrity models and endorsed adverts in order to entice the audience and use the age old “if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me” tactic of marketing. Others still, rely mainly on customer testimonials and reviews – taking real buyers off the street and using their own experiences and responses to the product as relatable advertising.
And of course, once you have built up a solid customer base, you can start to offer the discounts, deals and sector sales which turn your brand into a household name – with popular health and beauty retail brands like Boots and Superdrug taking this one step further by offering customers the chance to sign up to a loyalty card which rewards them for every purchase.
Upon exploring the global health and beauty market, it immediately becomes apparent that different countries and regions have their own go-to brands in the market, with many of them offering the same product lines but with the retailers’ own pricing system, discounts and deals.
As such, standing out in the health and beauty market is a case of knowing where the competition stands, and taking the time to understand how their unique offers and deals work, which vouchers they offer to buyers, and how they create extra customer value through loyalty cards and exclusive access events.
Boots is one of the most popular and renowned brands in the UK, offering a wide range of third party branded products which are lined up alongside its own brand of stock – featuring everything from shampoo and hairspray to hair accessories, make-up brands, skincare, cold and flu tablets and medicines. Also providing a pharmacy service to customers local to their branches, Boots has succeeded in expanding its own offering to appeal to a wider audience who may not need its health and beauty products but will still regularly go into the store to use the pharmacy – thus presenting the retailer with an opportunity to upsell and market their promotions and deals. On a similar level, Superdrug offers a similar model as one of the main national competitors for Boots.
On a global scale, the health and beauty market is dominated by the large companies who own most of the individual health and beauty brands – namely Unilever, Wallgreen Co., Procter & Gamble, The L’Oreal Group, and Bayer AG, as well as a whole host of others. The success of these large companies is dependent on scale and quantity, with many owning more than one brand within the health and beauty sector to maintain a high stake in the industry. Expending their global resources for the good of the brands is what makes these health and beauty company owners so valuable to the smaller brands – and is likely what allows so many of the brands to offer affordable prices and exclusive discounts on a regular basis, relying entirely on a large quantity of sales driven by the extensive marketing and resources given to them by their parent companies.
Gifting is big business in the health and beauty industry, with some of its most high ticket items including perfumes and technological gadgets making it onto the “must-have” gift lists of media outlets and articles all over the world.
As such, there is often a big drive around popular gifting times across the health and beauty industry – with retailers offering exclusive shopping deals and discounts, multi-buy savings, voucher codes and extra loyalty benefits, and a rise in the amount of gift cards available.
The value of a gift card offering in particular gives a buyer the freedom to present their gift’s recipient with the choice of what they would like – with many health and beauty gift cards extending their use across the entire retail store and its collections, including both instore and online use.
One of the most notable trends in the health and beauty sector is the use of celebrity culture as a means of advertising and marketing different products to different audiences. More so than with any other industry in the world, health and beauty – particularly haircare and skincare – is subject to age and background, with many different brands constantly expanding their product ranges to include items which are specifically created for those with darker skin, fairer skin, thinner hair and even a sensitive scalp. This means that for many of these brands, they have not one but a whole series of different models and famous faces, each designed to attract and target a different section of their proposed audience and potential customer base.
It is also interesting to note that while celebrities and influencer endorsements are used on a retailer scale in many other industries, for example using Holly Willoughby to promote Marks & Spencer fashion and using famous footballers to promote Nike sportswear, any select health and beauty store will tend to play host to a number of different faces – each attributed to their own individual designer brand rather than the retailer as a whole. It could be that this is a make-up brand, it could be a designer who has launched a perfume line, and it could even be a limited edition product being specifically marketed by one individual. Whatever it is, however, the health and beauty brand is one of the widest users of celebrity culture to attract and help buyers relate to the products they are seeing being advertised.
We have already suggested how the health and beauty sector has adapted to appeal to a wide subsection of buyers and customers, through changing its welfare practices, by using relevant celebrities and marketing techniques, and by playing along with shopping events and various discounts and deals for specific buyers and audiences.
As an industry however, one other thing that health and beauty has done is add to its own repertoire in light of growing trends, with popular examples being the growth of weight loss and nutritional products as an entire industry within the health and beauty sector, the inclusion of technology and gadgets as supporting features within the industry, and the inclusion of food and drink in many health and beauty stores – as much for convenience as for anything else.
How, then, do we decide which health and beauty retailers to visit? After all, if they mainly stock the same products and brands as each other, and all use what is essentially the same pricing structure with very minor changes, does it really make a difference where you shop?
This is where our vouchers and deals, VIP buyer discounts, loyalty cards and exclusive events come in. The most important thing which sets any health and beauty retailer apart from its competitors is the response to user experience and the way that they factor both instore and ecommerce experiences in to their selling process, their marketing and advertising, and the way that they offer different deals and discounts.
Of course, you will always have the Buy One Get One Free offers, and the Black Friday deals. But the true value lies in doing your research and finding out which health and beauty stockists and retailers are offering the products and brands that you want at the most attractive and appealing price.
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