During the pandemic, many people had time to reflect on what truly matters to them. From re-evaluating careers to making lifestyle changes, the hardships brought on by COVID-19 encouraged them to break away from previous habits and routines. However, this also extended to opinions on the businesses they engage with, giving rise to a new class of shoppers.
In 2020, a survey from Accenture introduced the “conscious shopper”, illustrating how the pandemic has propelled sustainability into the spotlight. It found that 61% of consumers reported making purchases that were more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical than before, and that they would continue with this post-outbreak.
Now that high-street stores are reopening, six million consumers have confirmed they want to do more in-person beauty shopping, as a quarter said they bought the wrong online products, totalling an incredible £860m. The negative impact this industry has on the environment has been widely publicised, which, in turn, is changing the way consumers choose brands. According to Zero Waste Week, 120 billion units of packaging is produced annually by the global cosmetics industry, the overwhelming majority of which is single-use plastic that can’t be recycled and inevitably ends up in our landfills and oceans.
So, with more beauty shoppers visiting in-store, and an increased emphasis on the environment, how can we expect this to impact the industry?
All industries, and not just beauty, will need to rethink how they present themselves to their customers and the wider world.
How authentic a brand appears will be fundamental in winning over audiences as we see the return of in-store retail experiences. Rather than placing interest on the physical products themselves, consumers will be searching for more emotionally driven experiences.
This might include honest messaging around how brands contribute to society, how they treat employees, and whether they’re committed to eco-friendly and sustainable business practices. For the beauty industry, this could extend to carbon-neutral shipping, sourcing ethical ingredients, and Earth-friendly production methods. Offering consumers a 360-degree view of your sustainability strategy will be essential for moving forward.
Stories are appearing every day around brands facing backlash, prove that they’re under greater scrutiny than ever before. Only the ones that truly listen and invest time into their customers, staff, and sustainability strategies can expect to thrive. For example, Henkel, L’Oréal, LVMH, Natura &Co, and Unilever have recently announced a new global collaboration to co-develop an industry-wide environmental impact assessment and scoring system for cosmetics products, and it’s movements like this that we can expect to be welcomed by consumers.
Having the right Prestige Beauty Sellers on your team is vital, as they will play a key role in how customers perceive your brand during the return to in-store experiences. They can unlock potential sales, educating shoppers on your brand values and mission. The ability to build rapport, curate a collection of products and demonstrate effectively requires a specialist set of skills.
At Elevate, our teams already work for Chanel, L’Oréal, Dior and Charlotte Tilbury. They have been expertly trained to deliver deeper, richer, and more meaningful brand engagements. In fact, our 2021 retail survey showed that our Prestige Beauty Sellers develop more effective conversations and achieve higher levels of shopper satisfaction (average 4.7/5.0) than standard brand ambassadors.
When you choose to work with us, you’re also choosing to work with a business that’s taking its own steps towards helping the planet. Last year, we launched ‘Elevating Purpose’, our plan for social and environmental action. The report outlines the steps Elevate is taking to tackle the wider issues around climate change and social injustice. It contains information on our targets for sustainability, diversity and inclusion, along with what we’re doing to support our employees and the communities we work within. You can download it here.
We are a people-powered agency that recruits, trains, and deploys premium staff nationwide with a high focus on brand experience, upselling and capturing data. We would love to take you through our capabilities and share our top-line thoughts on your immediate challenges. Please contact your local Elevate office to see how we can take your beauty campaign to the next level.