- Pop-up Shops
How Beauty Brands Boost Retail Traffic
The long-term impact of the Internet on foot traffic to brick-and-mortar beauty retailers is well documented — plummeting sales, physical store closings nationwide. Covid only deepened the crisis, as more and more beauty and cosmetics consumers learned to shop online for items they’d traditionally purchased in store, and they liked the e-commerce experience.
Consumers enjoy more choices than ever before, with more and easier ways to comparison shop, find product reviews, and learn what other customers have experienced. Buying beauty products — cosmetics, skincare, and everything in between — online should be a no-brainer first choice for consumers.
It’s not, though.
In the United States, about a quarter of consumers make all of their beauty purchases in-store. Another 20 percent split their purchases between online and physical retailers. What’s special about physical stores for beauty and cosmetics purchases? And how can you leverage it to boost retail traffic and increase in store visits for your beauty retailer?
Six Strategies to Increase Retail Traffic
Events and Pop-Ups
Pop-up shops are “temporary retail spaces that engage consumers immersively” via a heady mix of aesthetics, social media buzz, and community-building. Typically held outside the confines of the brand’s brick-and-mortar home, pop-up shops take the brand and its image directly to customers in shopping districts, at events like concerts, and high traffic areas. Because they’re novel, unexpected, and visually interesting, pop-ups “can also harness the power of social media to encourage hype to build around a brand and help it go viral.”
Burt’s Bees recently partnered with Promobile Marketing to build out a custom airstream for their pop up events.
Partner with other brands and retailers for in-store events like product launches and demonstrations. Broadening the scope of the event with partner brands widens its appeal and creates more ways for customers to interact with your brand while increasing foot traffic to physical retailers.
Drive In Store Traffic with Exclusive Promotions
Offering attractive discounts or promotions that are event-specific, limited-time-only, or available only in-store are a great way to increase foot traffic and store visits for beauty retailers.
The benefit of this is two-fold: You’re offering an incentive to participate in the event or purchase more or new products from your beauty retailer, which increases foot traffic to your local market — which benefits other retailers nearby — and pulls more customers into your physical store.
Exclusive promotions also create a sense of urgency around that participation that entices consumers who’ve never visited your beauty store or tried your beauty brand with a reason to to go ahead and take that leap. Exclusive promotions work exceptionally well during the holiday season when shoppers are more willing to try new products.
Preferences and experiences with beauty products are personal, and inherently subjective, which means consumers want to know more about “real” people’s experiences with products — they crave other consumers’ insights.
For this reason, beauty consumers place high value on user-generated content like reviews, demonstrations, and tutorials. “Many consumers are more inclined to believe peers’ opinions and experiences over brands’ marketing schemes,” explains a recent article. “Showcasing real people using beauty products, brands may gain credibility for providing beauty advice and recommendations.”
Take advantage by creating photo-worthy spots and selfie stations within your event or pop-up. Encourage customers to post their photos to Instagram and other social media, and share their content on your own social media channels. Doing so not only gives you the benefit of user-generated content but also communicates that you’re open, transparent, and interested in offering beauty tips and advice.
Increase Foot Traffic with VIP Shopping Experiences
An in store experience or event like an invitation-only product launch or special store hours make your best customers — or those who were the first to sign up — feel closer to your brand and your products, as well as introducing new visitors to your beauty products. According to a recent study, “91% of respondents were more inclined to make a purchase after attending an experiential retail event.”
These in-store VIP events frequently offer personalized consultations and “masterclasses” featuring in-house experts or beauty professionals, plus goodie bags, refreshments, and other special touches. In addition to boosting sales, successful events can drive in store traffic and build customer loyalty for beauty stores because “event goers feel more affinity for a brand after a positive experience.”
Here, too, user-generated content helps boost beauty brands beyond the confines of the event itself. A successful VIP event — a strategy used often by cosmetics retailer Sephora with their live make-up events — is ready-made for social media, with excited potential customers posting photos and video of the experience. Social media buzz from a successful event “can create a halo effect as people who didn’t attend get curious about what they missed.”
Interactive Experiences and Workshops
Unlike most retailers, in the beauty industry, personalization is key — consumers want products, colors, formulas, and tools tailored to their particular needs and tastes. Many beauty retailers have adapted this to the virtual realm via virtual try-ons, quizzes, profiles, and other diagnostic tools that help users choose foundation shades, identify their face shapes, and select colors and products that suit their features, skin type, and more.
Skincare brand Bioré partnered with Promobile Marketing for an interactive experiential marketing event, where visitors would participate in a balloon popping game “Pop this, not that” — and get free samples of Bioré skincare products.
But even a fantastic online experience doesn’t replace real life for many existing customers. In-store purchases and experiences “provide the tactile element that many customers still desire when it comes to beauty products,” and research shows that in-person shopping experiences can be more effective at both selling products and generating brand affinity for beauty retailers.
Free classes and workshops help attract visitors, increase traffic, move product and generate customer loyalty, because they “empower your customers by teaching them the skills they want to learn in relation to your products.” Shoppers who learn how to use a product are more likely to buy it, plus “you’ll create stronger bonds with customers and position your store as a trusted resource of information.”
The Unique Opportunities of In-Person Shopping
Shopping for beauty products is already an enjoyable experience for many shoppers. Customers who enjoy experimenting with new products find brick-and-mortar stores offer a space to be creative and experiment with new looks.
Enhancing that experience further via special events like brand collaborations, in store-only promotions, and interactive learning experiences will drive traffic and increase in-store visits, enhance your brand’s exposure and customer engagement while creating immediate sale opportunities, loyal customers and social media buzz.
Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.