With less than a week until the holidays, consumers are busy shopping for last minute deals and steals. Holiday bundles and kits, free gifts with purchase, friends and family sales, and buy one, get one free are all promotional strategies beauty retailers have been using to drive sales during the festive season.
However, what is different in 2016 is consumers’ increase in savviness in where they can get the most value for their dollar. With consumers buying wherever they can find the best deal, retailers and marketers have proven that they are willing to accommodate changing consumer preferences by offering exclusive online deals.
Besides loyalty promotions, one of the most common strategies retailers are using to entice consumers to buy digitally is through the offer of free shipping. Chalk it up to the “Amazon Prime Effect,” but consumers’ expectation of free shipping growing strongly, especially around the holiday times. Retailers are also more transparent than ever before regarding shipping schedules and providing shoppers with timelines of when they need to place orders to take advantage of free or expedited shipping for purchases to arrive before the holidays. In the week leading up to the holidays, CVS and Macy’s are among two retailers to offer free shipping on all beauty products with no minimum purchase, while Nordstrom notes that the last day for $10.00 rush shipping to receive a gift by the holidays is on December 23. Even more importantly this holiday season, Sephora holds a flash sale for shoppers to buy free, two-day unlimited shipping with no minimum purchase required for an entire year, all for the price of $10.00.
Beauty subscription boxes get into the holiday spirit by offering special promotions to lure new buyers into an all-year subscription. Birchbox offers a free “extra Birchbox with four surprise deluxe samples (plus a special seasonal treat)!” with subscription. Newbie Amazon Luxury offers a $19.99 credit to use on a future purchase of Luxury Beauty Products, with a qualifying purchase of a luxury beauty sample box. Not only is the retailer making an initial subscription sale, it is almost guaranteeing a repeat customer by offering a credit to its still fairly new luxury beauty website.
We would be remiss to talk about digital promotions without talking about the promotions of social media-famous brands, as the medium helps to reshape the beauty landscape in 2016 and beyond. Kylie Cosmetics is a makeup brand with a cult-like following, and the famous teen behind the brand knows how to reward customers. In December, the brand announces through social media it will be having a “12 Days of Christmas” promotion and subsequently announces the limited edition giveaway of a free Merry Lip Kit with every purchase. Beauty lovers all around the world rejoice as the stark days of hunting for Kylie Jenner’s highly anticipated, limited edition Lip Kits are over.
For more information regarding holiday promotions and what is happening in the beauty retailing world, take a look at our Beauty Retailing USA: Channel Analysis and Opportunities study, which is currently underway. With detailed channel and retailer profiles, this insightful study will provide a clear view of the challenging and ever-changing retail landscape specific to beauty and personal care products. Moreover, our recently published Boutique Beauty Retailers: Channel Analysis and Opportunities yields solid data and insights on one of the leading and fastest growing channels for beauty—freestanding stores.
Written by Kelly Alexandre, Analyst, Consumer Products