Takeaways from WWD Digital Beauty Forum 2019

February 17, 2019

The Capacity team was proud to attend the Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) Digital Beauty Forum as a sponsor again this year, giving us the opportunity to show off our services at the same time as taking in some of the most compelling speakers in the beauty sector.

As usual, the forum attracted some of the best and brightest minds from across the industry. From fiery startups to household name brands, iconic influencers to key consumer representatives, the speakers and panel discussions covered some key topics impacting their business.

This post takes a quick look at some of the main themes emerging from the forum this year.

Top Takeaways from WWD Digital Beauty 2019

After gathering the collective thoughts of Capacity team members in attendance, the following common themes that came up at WWD Digital Beauty 2019:

Data-Driven Influencer Marketing

The health and beauty sectors understand the value of influential online voices better than most, but who to choose and how much they’re worth has, up to now, been more educated guesswork than informed decision making. This is beginning to change.

Michael Ashton, makeup artist to Adele and an influential voice in his area of the beauty industry.

Even with some vested interests in accelerating the trend and the large sums required to bring thought leaders into their corner, beauty brands are starting to put more accurate ROI metrics on influencer marketing.

Tracking online visibility, monitoring consumer discussions, and using advanced sales analysis platforms have all helped bring influencer ROI firmly into the realm of science and data.

What Do Consumers Really Want?

That modern consumers demand more than ever is no secret to anyone involved with eCommerce, but the nuance of what they want seems to have been overshadowed by the rush to implement new technologies.

Although we heard a great deal about the potential applications of A.I. and the ability of mobile beauty apps to increase engagement, the consumers offering their perspective at the forum indicated otherwise.

When questioned, as in the panel pictured above, these millennial and Gen Z representatives clearly stated that this was not a shopping technique they ever use. This leaves brands in the color makeup, skincare and hair care space with a balance to strike between keeping up with the latest tech and tools, while not allowing those trends to obscure what customers really want from the brand.

In short, the importance of actually listening to individual customers and having a two-way dialogue with them came across louder than ever. Easy to say, not so easy to act on.

Those that are truly talking to their customers observe that fans have taken over both product curation and creation.

Brands like OUAI have followed the likes of Glossier in terms of living the direct-to-consumer philosophy, engaging in active dialogue that produces as much as one-third of new product offerings.

The Intersection of Brand Reputation and eCommerce Experience

While the behind-the-scenes aspects of eCommerce might not spark the same enthusiasm in marketing professionals as a cross-platform promotional campaign or the creative spark of their latest 30-second spot, we noticed that VPs of marketing increasingly understand the value of an exceptional eCommerce experience.

Many seemed interested in our fulfillment solutions as a way to improve service levels and enhance brand appearance. Among those we speak to, speed to customer was most frequently cited as a top issue.

Erika Shumate, co-founder of Pinrose Scents, emphasized the value of a unique product and brand experience.

Even before delivery, many speakers championed the aforementioned customer dialogue as another vital aspect of the brand experience.

Alongside the more creative elements of brand communication, such as consistent colors, recognizable assets and exquisite packaging, the more practical aspects of interaction were talked up at WWD 2019.

Features like the ability to assist with orders in real-time, 24/7 chatbots, and software solutions that seamlessly lead customers through the eCommerce process to checkout are considered transformational by many in the industry. Integrating these less personal technologies in a way that authentically compliments brand values will be key to making the most of the opportunities these speakers identified.

As ever, we could write pages on the many insights gleaned from the WWD Digital Beauty Forum.

In the interests of brevity, we’ll keep it to these three for today but we encourage you to share your takeaways or opinions with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Much like the best beauty brands, we’re always listening!