Comment: Consumer Behaviour

Gemma Ward discusses how brands risk losing touch with a new generation of consumers


Gemma Ward.

Do you remember those days when you needed a new moisturiser and you would take a trip to your local department store and spend hours speaking with the wonderful sales consultants behind the counter? You would be shown an array of beautifully packaged products and talked through the benefits, to then leave with a selection of lotions and potions hand picked for your skin type? Some consumers may still prefer this method when making beauty purchasing decisions, but many have now turned to social media for advice. 

This trend is on the rise and in my opinion here to stay (at least for a while). Most people, when they make a purchase or book an appointment for a treatment, have already done hours of research and their decision is made.

Instagram and YouTube have a multitude of beauty bloggers who provide good and informative product reviews. Only those that give real and honest reviews have the longevity on their blogs and vlogs. Consumers are more tech savvy and becoming more aware of paid for and gifted content. One of my favourite beauty bloggers in this region is @thebeautymajlis. With a background in biomechanical engineering, nursing and broadcast journalism, Lauren always gives real and honest reviews. I asked Lauren why she felt consumers were turning to social media for advice. “The beauty industry is a minefield and people want an honest opinion. I think my blog is popular as not only do I try out the products extensively before I write a review, but I also examine and research the ingredients. I am known for always giving an honest review and having a tell it like it is approach.”

People want a non-biased review. If you go to a brand directly, they will of course tell you that what they have on offer is the best. Social media gives you the tools to do in depth research into all your options before making a decision. 

In this region, Facebook groups and online forums are particularly popular with consumers when looking for beauty advice. It is the perfect platform to get real reviews from real people.  Many are using these social media channels to make purchasing decisions for anything from lipsticks to more invasive surgery. I asked Robyn Nugent a member of an online beauty forum called The Big Beauty Scoop, why she was using social media for advice? “There is so much on offer and it is difficult to decide what is good and what will work for you. Having a group that is dedicated to beauty gives me a place to ask for peoples’ reviews and opinions. I have spent so much money on different products and services over the years and now I can make an informed decision before I buy.”

Brands need to ensure their marketing and sales strategy evolves to incorporate the new age of social media. How do you do that? Work with reputable beauty bloggers to produce honest and informative reviews of your product. You can also join the beauty-focused Facebook groups to get the inside scoop on what consumers are saying. Work with these groups: they know their market and can help you reach your target audience. Finally, make sure your advertising is slick and focus on what sets your product apart from its competitors. 

Gemma Ward is a Dubai-based business owner, one half of the online beauty forum The Big Beauty Scoop and an experienced marketer. She is passionate about all things beauty and fashion and when not working is a doting mum of two. Join The Big Beauty Scoop on Facebook or follow @thebigbeautyscoop on Instagram.

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