For years, pundits and industry experts have been predicting the end of brick-and-mortar business. But those rumors of demise may have been greatly exaggerated, with merchants like French-import Sephora expanding their network of physical locations in recent years.
But while brick-and-mortar business rolls on, some changes have come – and are still coming – to the industry.
The health and beauty industry is slowly, but surely, evolving when it comes to tech. And, according to research inside the latest Omni Usage Index™, mobile applications and features have become particularly crucial in the health and beauty retail business.
Just under one-quarter (22 percent) of customers say they use retailer-provided mobile offerings “regularly,” and another 22 percent say they use these apps “occasionally” – a far higher percentage than that reported by shoppers in the grocery, clothing and accessories or mass merchant industry. These customers are largely turning to mobile solutions in hopes of saving money, whether in-store or online, with 14 percent saying they consider discounts, coupons and loyalty programs to be very or extremely important to their overall shopping experiences.
But while health and beauty merchants are beginning to move into the technological age, the transition is not without some speed bumps. Consumers gave retailers an omnichannel satisfaction score of just 37.9 out of 100, lower than that of both mass merchants and apparel and accessories merchants.
What’s more, when it comes to pleasing customers, large format and small format stores are mostly on equal footing. Large format retailers received a score of 36.4 out of 100, nearly identical to the score for small format retailers (36.7 out of 100).
Here are some more key takeaways from the May 2018 edition of the Index:
- Sixty-one percent of large format store shoppers and 54 percent of small format shoppers say they shopped at brick-and-mortar stores about as often as they had in years past.
- Brick-and-mortar shoppers were the most satisfied, giving merchants an average omnichannel satisfaction score of 37.2 out of 100, compared to a score of 36.2 out of 100 from any-channel shoppers and 35.8 out of 100 from digital-only shoppers.
- Purchase history capabilities were some of the most popular among shoppers who had tried various features: 16.7 percent of those buying medications, 15 percent of those buying beauty services and 8.2 percent of those purchasing beauty products say those features are “very good” or “excellent.”
The Vitamin Shoppe Turns to eCommerce, Subscriptions
Mobile-friendly features aren’t the only capabilities retailers are investing in as part of an effort to gain an omnichannel edge over competitors.
Nutritional supplement retailer Vitamin Shoppe, for one, has looked beyond its brick-and-mortar locations to eCommerce sales and subscription services in hopes of standing out from the growing crowd of health retailers. In a recent interview with PYMNTS for the latest Omni Usage Index, Sam Norpel, the company’s general manager of digital commerce, noted that developing effective omnichannel offerings for customers in the industry can be particularly vexing.
“When it comes to health and wellness, it’s about figuring out if that’s the right product to have a customer ingest, how it’s going to affect them and how it’s going to mix with other supplements and medications they’re taking,” Norpel said. “We’ve found that having our trained and knowledgeable health enthusiasts in the store can be really helpful to that process.”
To find the rest of the data and insights, including nearly 900-plus data points, check out the inaugural edition of the Omni Usage Index™.
About the Index
The Omni Usage Index™, powered by Vantiv, measures consumer satisfaction with various omnichannel purchasing features at health and beauty retailers, focusing on how shoppers feel about retail brand offerings across multiple channels.
The Index is based on a survey of more than 2,000 consumers regarding their most recent shopping trip. We asked them questions about their shopping experiences, their knowledge of various omnichannel features offered by the merchant, whether they used these features and how they felt about them.