Levin focuses on digital in path to purchase

BOSTON — Beauty is three times stronger in terms of its relative share online, and the category presents a huge opportunity for retailers, according to new data from IRI.

Larry Levin, EVP consumer insights and thought leadership at IRI, presented the data during an Insight Session titled “The Impact of Digital Marketing in Shaping the Path to Purchase” at NACDS Total Store Expo on Monday.

“Beauty is 6.5% of total CPG sales. But when you look at online CPG sales, beauty makes up 14%. The opportunities are enormous to connect with beauty customers. It’s also really important to drive beauty because it helps to drive a bigger basket,” Levin said.

Although all of the categories within beauty have been increasingly strong online, Levin said, fragrance and skin care sales have been especially robust.

“A lot of that has to do with YouTube, how-to videos and social. So when you think about your assortment, you have to think about whether you are bringing the right products and promotions in front of your customers,” Levin said.

The data show consumers continue to rely on digital media — social and paid — as a critical partner to plan their path to purchase. Many categories, especially in the area of health and wellness, are capitalizing on consumers’ thirst for knowledge and products that satisfy their needs to look and live a vibrant life.

Levin also said retailers in the digital age also must plan their assortments around “click ’n pick.”

“How are you making sure the right products are online to be clicked and picked? But also, both manufacturers and retailers have to think about the customers who don’t just pick up their stuff and leave. You want to put the right product in front of those who walk the store and see what else could be bought,” Levin said.

Levin ended with four key takeaways for both CPG companies and retailers:

  1. Online retailers fighting below Amazon have an opportunity to take that No. 2 spot.
  2. Make sure that you are connected to Internet influencers who support your products.
  3. Consumers expect more personalization than ever before.
  4. Leverage the blurring between health and wellness. Beauty also is about wellness.
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