The beauty industry has been recognized for its resilience throughout previous economic downfalls such as the recession 2001 and 2008 managing to bounce back fully by 2010. Although forecasts are predicting similar results in terms of the 2020 pandemic, brands are still vulnerable with the president of ITEC France, David Bondi, reporting that “the crisis has accelerated changes that were underway in the industry.” This makes it unsurprising that many of them have been deciding to push back any further developments planned for 2020. However, the aftermath of the crisis is expected to remain for more time than we can predict, which may seem like an awfully long time to keep our plans on hold. This is a guide to walk you through some important planning steps for brand owners aspiring to expand their business on an international scale post COVID19.
Re-evaluate the markets you want to enter
If you have already had your sights set on working with certain retailers, it would definitely be worth looking into how their incomes have been affected. This is important because rise or drop in their sales may have a direct effect on yours too. If the retailer is receiving less attention in general than consumers are less likely to purchase from the brands that they already know and love, let alone experimenting with new launches. “Market research often reveals counter-intuitive facts about the current situation in the market” which is why it’s vital that you carry out your research carefully and from many different angles. It may also be worth considering the state and regulations of the cities and countries that you are wanting to expand to. Perhaps looking into places that have been less affected by the outbreak. This can be an especially good idea if you are not able to adjust to the crisis by creating new products because regulations on mask-wearing may amount to less time. It’s also important to consider political changes such as the tariffs being put on the UK as a result of Brexit. Whilst it may have been a price that you were once willing to pay, now might not be the best time to take that risk.
Research consumer needs
An article on Lifestyle INQ states that “In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, lipstick is being replaced with eyeliner, as the pandemic has created a “new normal” of wearing face masks all day long.” If we have to wear masks on public transport, we can probably guess or else quickly realize that a matte lipstick which doesn’t easily smudge would be a more convenient option than lip gloss. Products that are designed to be kept in place are now going to be appreciated more than ever before. A hand care collection would also be a beneficial addition due to all that we have been putting our hands through with excessive cleaning. A good example would be a moisturizing cleanser as a solution to keep hygienic whilst not over-drying our skin. However, if your brand is either not in a financial position to produce a new line of products, or it doesn’t fit with the rest of your brand, it may be beneficial to focus on marketing your products that are most appropriate to the crisis. For example, if you are already selling anything that wearing a mask won’t interfere with such as mascara or hair spray, bring those products to the audience’s attention through samples or an online campaign. Online retail may currently be the most effective way to expand your brand globally.
Focus On Digital Retail
Digital retail is one of the easiest ways to sell your products between different countries and this might be the perfect opportunity for a review. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in eCommerce which has encouraged consumers who initially didn’t shop online to contribute to digital growth. Consumers spending more time online serves as an opportunity to deepen the engagement between your brand and its audience perhaps through producing compelling content and community-engaging campaigns. Agencies that were made to cancel live beauty events actually moved them online if possible in order to keep everyone connected. You may find that increasing your focus on your brand’s digital presentation can currently be just as effective on a global scale.
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Overall, despite the economic setbacks, the beauty industry has remained resilient throughout the crisis in comparison to other industries such as the restaurant/entertainment industry. With many brands creating COVID19 accustomed product and e-commerce sales being twice as high as they were in 2019, it’s not looking too bad for most brands. However, for the purpose of our protection, there is a change in the way that we shop in stores such as eliminating testers. Instead, we could consider providing more samples. Beauty retailers like Ulta and Sephora have been determined to undergo store changes whilst disrupting the consumer experience as least as possible. As a result, they attempted to replace in store testers by offering virtual makeup try-on app known as GLAMLab. Surviving this really begins with being open to change and adjusting your brand accordingly. It is difficult, but the experience that you gain through the struggle may likely strengthen your brand in the long run.
How have your own shopping choices changed since the lockdown? Take that into consideration when adjusting your brand communication.
MABE’s brand development consultancy services support new and developing beauty and lifestyle brands with sustainable content creation, brand messaging, values and culture, social influencer marketing, and recruitment outreach in addition to promoting a brand’s efforts in reaching new audiences.