This is another edition in our series Broken Commerce, examining practices that frustrate consumers and lead them to abandon purchases.
Along with being a writer and photographer, I’m also makeup artist — an obsession which grew from the lethal combination of having an older sister who’s an amazing freelance artist and an undying love for beauty products. Following makeup artists on YouTube and Instagram has been an integral part of my social media consumption since the early YouTube days. Internet makeup fads, as well as my own style, have certainly evolved since their beginnings — but, oddly enough, the commerce processes behind makeup tutorials really haven’t. While tutorials are a great way for consumers to discover beauty products, there’s an added layer of friction at the commerce level that’s frustrating consumers.
Think about it. In one Valentine’s Day-inspired soft makeup tutorial (posted February 1, 2017 with 1.4 million views and counting), NikkiTutorials uses at least 30 products from start to finish — that’s 30 products from 15 different beauty brands in just 10 minutes! Yet as a consumer and viewer, if I want to recreate this look, I have to pause the video and write down each product as it’s being introduced (or if the artist is kind enough to provide a list in the description, which she is, thank your lucky stars.) Either way, I still have to scour the interwebs for each product, from skin primer to liquid matte lipstick, bouncing around from drugstore sites to Amazon to beauty brands’ pages. That means entering my credit card information, shipping address, yadda yadda for every last product — all 30 of them. And again, we’re only talking about one makeup tutorial. Check it out for yourself:
There’s got to be a better way.
What about shoppable video? What about vertical video so that I don’t have to turn my phone on its side every time I want to watch a tutorial? What about a way to see how the product would look on me without having to order it online or test it in a retail store? Most importantly, why aren’t cosmetics companies jumping at the chance to make the online shopping experience more seamless?
Every beauty junkie I know follows YouTubers and Instagrammers from all over the world, both for beauty inspiration and product recommendations. The makeup and skincare industries have taken stabs at influencer marketing, and hardly a flick of the thumb through my Instagram feed goes by without someone touting the latest charcoal mask. However, this is simply not enough. The consumer experience for YouTube-watching, Instagram-scrolling beauty addicts is fractured and in need of serious reform. The market is truly global (check out Philippines star Ana Victorino, Dubai-based Huda Beauty) and wildly profitable (anticipated to reach $461 billion by 2018). When will beauty brands seize the opportunity to sell to the masses who are all too willing to shell out cash for a new, awesome product? The industry is doing an amazing job of promoting discovery but when will it revolutionize the commerce experience?
Smart beauty brands are working with Curalate to power experiences that adapt to meet customers’ expectations, thus driving discovery and conversion at scale. Stila Cosmetics leveraged Curalate to launch exclusive sales on Instagram that led to major increases in sales and website visitors. House of Lashes leveraged Curalate to source amazing fan photos and make them shoppable, leading to a big jump in average order value.
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