From craft beer to boutique hotels, shoppers are opting for independent brands over traditional branding, and beauty is no exception. While most independent brands are just a drop in the industry bucket, a select few have scaled up to become truly competitive forces. Legacy brands are doubling down on their digital investments and catching up, resulting in an increasingly competitive landscape.

L2’s eighth annual Digital IQ Index: Beauty offers a few ways brands can differentiate themselves through digital:

Invest in visual content. Adoption of on-model imagery, before-and-after photos, and mouseover images has increased year over year. Meanwhile, fewer brands support text descriptions and text-based tutorials. Charlotte Tilbury elevates visual aspects by including collateral directly on product gallery pages. Overall, one-third of beauty brands now support on-model imagery, demonstrating product results and guide shade selection.

Optimize for browse & buy on mobile. In 2017, many beauty brands have focused on functional mobile site enhancements to make navigation and checkout easier. 64% of beauty brands now support persistent navigation on mobile—a feature that allows users to access the primary menu while scrolling—up from 19 percent of Index brands at the beginning of the year, highlighting the importance of m-commerce.

Use straightforward product titles. Brands can better optimize by including extensive descriptions in product titles as a way to combat Google’s new mobile search format, which boosts visibility of brands and products with commonly searched terms included in the title of the product. By expanding the names of products, brands can better capture valuable PLA real-estate against unbranded search terms.


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