Why Voice-Based Shopping is Exploding in the Beauty Industry

The beauty industry is constantly evolving. And the last few years have seen tremendous strides in technology's influence on the industry—from incredible interactive in-store displays to smartphone augmented reality apps. However, by far the most significant user adoption and largest opportunity for beauty brands is with voice-based shopping.

Customers using voice assistants to research products and shop have skyrocketed. Researchers believe that voice shopping will rise to $40B in the U.S. alone by 2022.

Some valuable statistics for context include:

Conversational Marketing

Voice technology provides significant benefits for beauty brands. Conversational marketing is the fastest way to move buyers through the marketing and sales funnel. Through voice assistants that can answer customer questions and make suggestions, brands can personalize interactions and give shoppers an extremely efficient experience that nurtures brand loyalty.

Voice assistants employ better AI and machine learning with each iteration and constantly improve the conversations shoppers can have with them. The improvements contribute to 71% of consumers who prefer to use voice searches instead of typing out their search queries. It's convenient, becoming more and more user-friendly, and is not a trend that will slow down.
Beauty Shoppers Love Voice Assistants

Beauty brands use voice assistants to bring beauty advice and tutorials right into bathrooms or home vanity areas—the very spaces where their customers put on makeup in the morning or apply their skincare routine in the evening.

Beauty product lovers have been eating up makeup and hair tutorials and makeover content for years. Department stores and beauty specialty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta have had in-store makeover stations for decades. And shoppers are increasingly turning to YouTube tutorials and online influencers for beauty tips—a fact experts attribute to the growth of the now $532B industry overall.

In 2018, Google Assistant and Sephora's YouTube beauty tutorial content came together in a Google Home Hub partnership. Kristy Frivold, Sephora’s Senior Director of their Innovation Lab, said at the time:

“We aren’t doing it just for tech or because it’s cool or new. We know our (customers) would love to have a beauty advisor in their home — like the ones they come to our stores for.”

Exciting Voice Assistant Features

There are several ways beauty brands can effectively use voice assistants. The technology allows your customers to experience:

  • Personalized makeup and skincare techniques and hairstyling remedies and ideas
  • Diagnostic quizzes that conclude with specific personalized product suggestions
  • Instant answers to product and beauty regiment questions
  • Connecting readily to a particular product straight from an ad played on a smart speaker
  • Conveniently reserving in-store or live virtual beauty consultations
  • Quick and easy purchase re-orders

A bonus for brands using such features is that they can attract new business. Global beauty company Coty, learned this after launching their voice assistant on Amazon's Echo Show (a voice assistant featuring a screen). Elodie Levy, Coty's Senior Director of Digital Innovation, says:

“Interestingly, 80% of those that have interacted with (our voice assistant) are new customers, which means it also facilitates the discovery of our company."

Who is using voice assistants?

So what brands are using voice technology? Some examples include:

  • Estée Lauder has been on Google's Home Hub since 2017 and introduced Liv, their virtual beauty advisor tool, in 2019.
  • Beauty heavyweight Coty released their Clairol Color Expert with Google in 2018, giving customers step-by-step instructions on the hair dying process and aftercare.
  • In 2019, DKNY started targeting millennials and Gen-Z shoppers with a voice-activated sampling service, allowing customers to use voice to request product samples.
  • Shiseido, a Japanese multinational cosmetic and personal care company, launched its voice assistant in 2017, which offers over 2,000 unique combinations of curated looks and visual how-tos.

What about your brand?

Although the top beauty companies are blazing the voice technology trail, there are still many opportunities for smaller brands to easily enter this arena and show themselves to be early adopters of voice tech. Many niche brands, lacking the big budgets of Maybelline and Ulta, may assume launching their own voice technology is expensive and difficult. And most simply have not realized the value of voice apps and have yet to begin to consider using conversational commerce in their business. However, when partnering with a company like Blutag who exclusively creates retail voice apps, voice technology does have to be complicated or expensive.

Conversational commerce voice technology is available right now, and not difficult to implement. To learn how your brand can quickly get a jump on voice technology, check out our ebook What Direct to Consumer Brands Need to Know About Voice Apps, where we look more in-depth at how brands are using voice assistants and how you can strategize, implement, and promote them.

what brands need to know about voice apps

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