Advertising and marketing are essential pieces to any beauty brand’s puzzle. Effective ads deliver your product to a wide net of consumers and increase both visibility and sales. From traditional avenues to more modern guerilla-style and viral advertising, it is standard for companies to allot a significant amount of time and money to these purposes.
Consumer Habits and Statistics
The age of social media and online retail, however, is beginning to change the conversation. An increase in written customer reviews and consumer-controlled channels, like YouTube and Instagram, allow consumers to take matters into their own hands and test products out for themselves. Other consumers are far more likely to trust the word of a fellow buyer than that of a marketing team or ad agency. Therefore, it’s essential for businesses to start paying attention and utilize these tools.
According to a recent BrightLocal survey, 88 percent of consumers trust an online customer review just as much as they would trust a personal recommendation. Reading through a reviewer’s personal experience can seem far more relatable and trustworthy to consumers than an ad coming from a business itself. For beauty products in particular, consumers look to customer reviews to get an honest experience of the products’ feel and effectiveness. They can trust that customer reviews, both positive and negative, are truly unbiased.
These customer reviews have become integral factors in consumers’ final purchasing decisions, and are therefore priceless for retailers. A new study from Pew Research showed that 82 percent of online shoppers consult customer ratings when buying for the first time, and nearly half (46 percent) said that reviews can help them gain confidence in their final purchase decision. This level of trust and belief significantly emphasizes the importance of positive reviews, and also highlights the potential impact of negative ones.
Advantages of Consumer Reviews
From a sales standpoint, online reviews have a number of concrete advantages.
An increase in positive customer reviews helps your search engine optimization to blossom. By encouraging customer reviews, businesses’ websites will accrue more star ratings. These stars are then integrated into your rank in a customer’s initial search result. The better the reviews, the higher the rating, and the more visible your brand. Simply having a review or product rating in your page’s description can improve click-through rates as much as 20%. This causes a build in trust even before a potential customer visits your page.
An increasing danger in this consumer-controlled review system lies in the authenticity (or lack thereof) of online reviews. An upswing in paid and incentivized reviews has consumers and companies alike paying attention. A number of brands have been known to provide discounts and/or free products in exchange for positive reviews. This may increase the overall number of reviews, but it ultimately delegitimizes the reviews themselves. In the long run, overloading your reviews with incentivized positive ones could cause a lack of trust for future and potential buyers.
Some retailers, like artnaturals managed by eKomi, are taking measures to combat false reviews by implementing a Customer Feedback Management team. This team moderates every art naturals review to ensure that it is authentic and both legally and third-party compliant. Consumers are significantly more likely to shop with brands that they can trust, and verified reviews are a sure way to fortify that trust.
As helpful as written reviews have become, video reviews shared through social media have begun to capitalize on that familiarity and trust. There are currently 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube, according to the data software company Pixability. Beauty consumers have realized is that it is one thing to read about a fellow buyer’s experience; it’s another to see it with your own eyes.
Being able to witness the effectiveness of a product increases trust in the product itself, therefore increasing the likelihood of a purchase. This is especially important with selling beauty products; if consumers can’t try the product for themselves at home, the next best thing is to see its effect on someone else.
Online beauty influencers and YouTube beauty vloggers have brought these video reviews to the forefront of consumers’ browsers. These personalities have curated relatable, exciting and short videos that grab consumers’ attention. The delivery in these videos is often casual and relaxed, causing consumers to feel at ease while listening to the content of the reviews. Creating this trust and familiarity can prove to be more powerful than a written review, because consumers can see the person who is making the review itself, as well as see the product being used before their eyes.
Whether written or filmed, consumer reviews have taken beauty marketing and advertising and thrust it into the hands of consumers themselves. Beauty vloggers and reviewers are shifting the focus of beauty brands off of flashy ads and into the real world. If brands are able to harness the power of these reviews, they can help their product fly off the shelves.