Aveda topped L2’s Digital IQ Index: Hair Care & Color with a Digital IQ of 163, and was joined in the Genius category by only two brands (L’Oréal Paris and Garnier). What brought the Estée Lauder-owned brand to the top? Here are the five keys to Aveda’s digital strategy:
- Create a useful, easy-to-use website
Aveda’s website provides a smooth shopping experience by making it easy to contact customer support and spotlighting user reviews. But the website is far more than just a virtual retailer. It also acts like a stylist, helping customers find products suited to their desired styles. The four-step “Hair Advisor” tool recommends a complete product regimen that can be added to the online cart with one click.
- Send frequent emails
In 2015’s first quarter, email marketing increased across industries by 15.5% year on year , and hair care brands mirrored this trend. DTC brands like Aveda sent the most emails (four times as many as their peers).
Within that group, Aveda was the third most frequent sender. Subscribers received an average of 4.04 messages per week – significantly higher than the industry average (2.96). These emails combined incentives, rewards, samples and product curation.
- Offer professional guidance — to professionals
Hair salons make up a significant proportion of Aveda’s clientele, so the brand needs to target professionals as well as individual consumers. Aveda accomplished this by launching LearnAveda.com, which offers digital classes for salon professionals that go far beyond the sparse video selection offered by most brands. Students get an up-close, 360° view of the cut and technique employed by the instructor. The new site complements AvedaPurePro.com, which already attracts over 20,000 unique visitors a month.
- Take advantage of social platforms
Due to Facebook’s community changes, brands now find it difficult to engage users. Only four in ten Index brands managed to increase interactions (i.e. likes, shares and comments) generated by posted content—led by Aveda along with Head & Shoulders and Pantene.
Aveda also leads its competitors on Pinterest. While more than 70% of hair care brands maintain an official presence on the platform, 37% did not post new content in more than 90 days – the most inactivity on any social media platform.
In contrast, Aveda is the only brand to link product posts to its DTC offerings. This is a strategic move, as millennial Pinterest users who share hair products demonstrate a higher likelihood of purchase intent than those on Facebook or Twitter.
- Make mobile matter
With more searches taking place on mobile than desktop and as many as 65% of hair care-related queries originating from smartphones and tablets, most hair care brands have adapted to support a mobile site experience.
However, few have significantly invested in their apps. Over half of the 50 apps in L2’s study had received no ratings or reviews. The average offering dated to early 2013.
Aveda has been a leader in this regard. Its iPhone app brings the interactive concept from the brand’s website to mobile. The app is marketed as a “personal experience” comparable to “visiting an Aveda salon.” It is also “a community” where users can upload their own looks or chat with an Aveda Style Advisor.
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