Mobile Device Screens Revolutionise Beauty Selling Culture
(Part 2 The Challenges)

February 2014

Screen challenges
Screen (mobile device) technology flattens and democratizes the beauty market. We previously highlighted the positive aspects, and now discuss some key challenges for skincare brands in creating the right selling culture.

Maintaining USP on screen
Differentiation has been a key marketing strategy. The beauty market has been a carefully constructed world that has rested on "separateness," or brand differentiation, to justify pricing levels (profit margin, status...).

Screens dissolve the separateness that differentiates brands and segments. Screen technology increases the numbers of beauty buyers while simultaneously reducing brand differentiation.

Screen segregation unenforceable
Physical separateness has been a bedrock of brand differentiation. Until now premium beauty has been able to occupy a totally separate retail and marketing universe to the rest of the sector. At the point of sales premium brands do not mingle with the non-premium, remaining separate even from each other. The multiplicity of beauty counters and stands, especially in the selective channel exclusively dedicated to high-end brands, further enforces this separateness.

In a similar manner brands are strictly segregated at marketing level. Prestige brands are not featured in magazines that advertise lower priced brands. The glossy magazines and beauty editors have been very effective gatekeepers in controlling access. They have benefited from maintaining brand separateness.

But the beauty counters merge on screen and new gatekeepers and influencers hold power.

Customer service and physical presence
An integral element of any luxury buying experience has been the high level of customer service. It was exquisite customer service that differentiated premium beauty from the rest of the market with its self service sales model.

Customer service in premium beauty has been intimately connected to physical presence with the sales assistant behind the counter and the actual product which could be touched. This physical presence was yet another guarantee (a layer of packaging, as it were) which protected the reassuringly expensive contents and justified the price.

But virtual sales platforms demand new client-seller relationships.

The Screen Skincare Market 2014