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The way consumers discover, purchase and appreciate beauty products has seen a dramatic shift in the past 5 years. While you could be forgiven for thinking that online was the most popular way to shop for beauty products, a new wave of ‘Beauty Playgrounds’ are opening up to provide beauty enthusiasts with a totally unique experience.
Purchasing make-up and skin care is no longer just a case of buying a product online or purchasing from a store as beauty brands provide inventive, new and exciting ways to reach out to their audience. The big blue-chip brands are creating new spaces, guided by contemporary formats to teach and inspire their consumers to get creative with their products.
The Middle East saw the first independent event of its kind in April 2017 when Jamaloukicon made its mark as the first beauty and fashion convention in Lebanon. The event hosted a range of live makeup tutorials, given by world renowned makeup artist Bassam Fattouh, alongside the official NYX Lebanon launch and a makeup demonstration by L’Oréal. There were also a number of interactive workshops, discussion panels and meet-and greets, giving fans and followers a chance to meet their favourite prominent beauty influencers. Dana Khairallah, Paola El Sitt and Nour Arida were some of the popular influencers in attendance.
The In-Store Experience
Beauty bloggers have single handedly driven an ‘experience culture’ which beauty product consumers rely on to make informed decisions about products they are tempted to buy. This makes influencers a key driver for consumer spending. As a result, big name brands are feeling the pressure to create a more satisfactory store experience to guide consumers through their consumer journey. An example of this is the Charlotte Tilbury’s stores in Kuwait and Doha where they have created “Beauty Wonderlands” incorporating pioneering digital innovations to create show stopping demonstrations of their products. One of the most talked about features being an AR interactive ‘magic’ mirror which transforms the customer’s image into one of the brands iconic looks. Brands are realizing that they are no longer just selling the products, they are selling the experience. Charlotte Tilbury has revolutionized the way consumers shop for her products by creating a space which provides personalized fun and allows consumers to interact with the products. Tilbury’s wonderlands are designed to bring the backstage fun and glamour to the consumer and create an enchanting experience. However, Tilbury also recognises the importance of making her make up easy to use, choose, and shop for, in a comfortable yet theatrical sensory environment.
It is becoming apparent to marketing strategists that the product purchasing journey is not linear. Especially when it comes to bespoke and premium beauty. There is a greater expectation from the customer for the brand to satisfy and support them throughout their customer journey, due to the higher level of emotion involved with purchasing a beauty product in comparison to buying more mundane items, such as groceries. Many women in the UAE invest a significant portion of their income in beauty products and self-improvement. So, alongside wanting a product that is proven to work, they also want to invest in a brand that offers them an experience as an added incentive to make the purchase.
MyBeautyFest: Dubai’s Number 1 Beauty Event
The region’s largest beauty event, MyBeautyFest, returned to Dubai again in March 2018. First launched in October 2016 in the Dubai Outlet Mall as part of PopCon, it has proved to be the ultimate destination for beauty enthusiasts who are eager to meet international celebrities, leading beauty influencers and bloggers. MyBeautyFest also welcomed an unrivalled number of international beauty brands from across the globe. Some of the top brands on show for 2018 included Huda Beauty, L’Occitane, NYX, Rimmel London and Inglot amongst many others.
Throughout the much-anticipated weekend there was a non-stop schedule of meet and greets, master classes, panel discussions, demonstrations, interactive sessions and product launches along with numerous competitions throughout the weekend. Those in attendance were encouraged to learn from one another and share beauty experiences along with enjoying the invaluable networking opportunities with the top influencers.
The Message For Brands
Current market trends indicate a growing need for brands to provide a novel customer experience. Through this customer experience the seeds of loyalty are planted, and sales can be either won or lost. The key to contemporary success for beauty brands lies in fostering retail culture, by knowing the customer, using attractive in-store merchandising, interactive demonstrations and building recognizable brand and mission values.