Last week, our Customer Success Director, Alastair Kidner, sat down with OPI’s Ecommerce Manager, Holly Willis, to explore how she implemented smart on-site merchandising to drive higher AOV for the beauty brand. In this blog, we unpack some of the key insights discussed.
Adapting to shifts in consumer behaviour
With the growth of flexible working and people spending more time at home in the last few years, the beauty sector has seen a widespread shift in consumption. For example, 45% of consumers now admit to grooming their hair and makeup much less frequently than in previous years. Whilst consumers might be using beauty products less often, OPI had a theory which helped them stay ahead of the curve.
“Reflecting on trends from lockdown, colour consumption is down but skincare is actually up! Consumers are starting to prioritise skincare and wellness benefits when choosing products. This is what we’re seeing across the board at Wella! So at OPI we brought the focus back to our core care ranges. And we actually saw our Nail Envy range, which is part of the care collection, improve by +300% during lockdown!!”
Holly emphasised the importance of not relying on newness to drive sales. The pandemic has helped the brand become more people-focused with new launches aiming to emulate feelings of hope & brighter days ahead. OPI has collaborated with Xbox to promote the growth of gaming in both genders – launching 1st of March.
Personalising the customer experience online
It is no secret that beauty buyers need guidance through the purchase journey. For example, colour matching and product testing often plays a huge role in influencing purchase decisions. We were eager to understand how OPI adapted to improve the online customer experience.
“As a predominantly online-only retailer for our consumer business, our main priority is to deliver personalised experiences online. So, we partnered with Increasingly to drive more visibility for relevant product combinations. For example, through AI product bundles, customers who were searching for nail polish will be able to purchase a top coat and base coat required to complete the regime.”
Increasingly allowed OPI to drive higher AOV through intelligent on-site merchandising. As a result, OPI has seen significant performance including a +33% increase in AOV in just three months!
Why is product discovery so important for beauty buyers?
With the ecommerce sector seeing significant growth in the last few years, retailers are becoming heavily reliant on discount strategies and expensive advertising campaigns to drive growth. This means profit margins are diminished and lower ROIs. During the webinar, we discussed the power of product discovery as a more effective alternative.
“Being a nail polish brand, colours are subjective and can be difficult to get across online. It’s so important to create a super convenient buying experience to drive more sales.”
Holly also talked about the importance of creating a digital storefront which encapsulates your brand. When doing so, she suggested prioritising product imagery, the design and layout of product detail pages and the ease of the purchase journey for consumers.
“Being less reliant on retail events means less peaks and troughs in performance and allows for more sustainable revenue and longer-term gains.”
Holly went on to explain how powering product discovery through Increasingly has allowed OPI to drive more longer-term performance which results in higher ROI overall. Increasingly have quickly become a core partner for OPI for this reason.
What key learnings should influence strategies for beauty brands?
In our recently published guide, How to Merchandise Your Way to Higher AOV, we found Increasingly AI helped our beauty clients see an average otf +25% growth in AOV and powered on average 8% of site-wide revenue through smart on-site merchandising. We asked Holly what key insights she picked up from the last year that helped inform OPI’s strategy for 2022.
“Black Friday starts earlier every year. Last year, we found launching our Christmas collections post-October had a generally negative impact on our trade revenue, as salons were starting to prepare further in advance. For that reason, this year our aim was to be competitive and early.”
Holly went on to highlight the importance of staying ahead of the curve. She explained that with the growth of new micro-brands across social media, it is inevitable that your competitors may be promoting the same things as you. This isn’t something you can control, but planning your strategy as far in advance as possible will help. Powering product discovery throughout the year, also places less reliance on peak periods like Cyber Weekend and Christmas to reach revenue targets.
How can brands become famous for more than just their hero products?
Within the beauty industry, thinking about brands like Charlotte Tilbury and their Magic Cream or Benefit and their Roller Lash mascara, most brands have one ‘cult product’. So, the real challenge is how brands can build notoriety for the whole package rather than a singular product.
When discussing this, Holly highlighted how Increasingly has helped OPI to drive more sales for new items through personalising product discovery. Using historical purchase and product data, Increasingly were able to deliver intelligent product bundles and recommendations for the brand.
“Using tools like Increasingly has helped OPI to get customers looking at the whole regime. For example, the AI and manual bundling features identifies hyper-relevant products that will compliment the item being viewed and bundles them in an attractive way for our customers.”
In addition to using Increasingly, Holly mentions the importance of customer advocacy in persuading customers to trial new products. Customers are becoming more considered shoppers, particularly within the beauty sector. So brand trust is a pivotal player in influencing purchase decisions. Holly highlights the value of product reviews in doing this.
How can beauty brands deliver growth in 2022?
“My main advice for beauty marketers is to focus on the small wins. Small optimisations can support sustainable and incremental growth. It is also important to recognise your weaknesses. Wherever you are on your growth journey, it’s so important not to get complacent and continue looking for small wins, as these can add up to big results.”