Complete the Routine for Beauty with Dynamic Bundling

Complete the Routine for Beauty with Dynamic Bundling

When seeking out a new skincare routine or makeup palette, consumers have more options than ever. In fact, with such a broad selection to choose from, they may need a helping hand in order to choose just the right items for their individual needs. 

In-store, that process might involve trying a few samples or consulting with a stylist – but how about online? Thanks to new technology that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to blend merchandising with personalization, shoppers can confidently design their own beauty and skincare routines from start to finish.

Beauty buyers have complex expectations

Beauty and wellness was the leading category of retail growth in 2023, and eCommerce drove much of the increase, accounting for 22% of beauty sales, according to Insider Intelligence/eMarketer. The coming year promises to bring further expansion, with 36% of consumers saying they plan to spend more on beauty products online, eMarketer found. 

But despite the rosy forecast, beauty merchants face challenges when it comes to selling online. Among the complicating factors:

  • Stiff competition – While mass merchants and drug store chains are the most popular options for beauty buying, the most buzz-worthy names are manufacturers selling direct to consumers. Not only are classic brands like L’Oreal thriving online, but so are upstart newcomers such as Drunk Elephant and celebrity brands like Kylie and Fenty. Merchants who hope to stand out in this crowded marketplace need flawless online experiences.
  • Shaky shopper confidence – While online beauty sales are growing, that doesn’t mean shoppers are comfortable. Even among online beauty buyers, 46% have sometimes visited a store instead of buying online so they could see or try items first, according to Digital Commerce 360. When it comes to color-matching or finding a formula that works with a given customer’s skin or hair type, even new-fangled tools like virtual try-on or livestream shopping often aren’t enough to convince shoppers to order online. Additionally, shipping complexities and hygiene concerns can limit the options for returns, compounding hesitation for buyers. 
  • Desire for tailored products and experiences – The days of chasing a monolithic beauty ideal are over. Consumers now seek beauty and skin care products that are gender-neutral, multicultural and cater to a range of ages and life stages, with 54% of U.S. beauty buyers saying inclusive product ranges should be the norm, according to GWI. As they shop, consumers expect brands to reflect their priorities; 75% would even pay more for experiences that address their individual needs, a survey from YouGov and Bolt found. 

Complete the routine” experiences help shoppers – and your bottom line

In this complex selling environment, beauty businesses need more than an online shopping cart to make their eCommerce experience competitive. Brands must demonstrate understanding of shoppers’ precise needs, while simultaneously providing enticements to explore the full range of product and service offerings. 

Personalization strategies are especially effective at creating these highly relevant experiences. According to McKinsey, 75% of consumers rely on personalization to help them navigate brand offerings, while 67% said they appreciated that personalized experiences “give me relevant recommendations.” 

Holistic guidance for beauty buyers

Personalized eCommerce features such as cross-sells and upsells are a hit because they key off what shoppers have already selected to suggest further items and upgrades to consider.

But for beauty buyers, sellers should go a step further.  

Because products often work in tandem with other items in a skin care routine or makeup palette, merchants can and should curate suggestions meticulously. 

Using functionality called dynamic bundling, sellers can organize selections according to makeup effect, sun protection factor, skincare concern, brand name, or any other custom attribute they design. Thanks to the processing power of artificial intelligence (AI), these assortments can be further tailored on the fly to factor in attributes such as popularity and availability in addition to taking into account individual preferences. 

These curated “complete the routine” collections are beneficial to both consumers and merchants because they:

  • Build trust through meaningful customer experiences. Bundled collections communicate a recognition of underlying intent and address shoppers’ core beauty needs. Suggestions for multi-step skincare solutions or makeup attuned to a trending aesthetic demonstrate a deep understanding that goes beyond individual products. These ultra-relevant experiences build the trust necessary to convince shoppers to order online. Personalized beauty routines and tutorials would help 37% of consumers feel more confident in their purchases, the YouGov/Bolt survey found.
  • Speed connection with the right items. Once a shopper expresses a particular preference – say, for makeup that matches a particular skin tone – that information should “stick.” Subsequent product suggestions should include items that match or complement the original selection, helping shoppers locate items that align with their individual needs faster. Merchants can bundle items according to colorways or degrees of shading to guide personalization tools to make the right selections. 
  • Prompt delightful discoveries. While it’s essential for bundled recommendations to accurately address the shopper’s original goal, inspired curation can open possibilities for other items. Authoritative suggestions can convince shoppers to consider products they didn’t already know they needed, while playful picks can spur them to try new looks.
  • Boost the bottom line. Merchants deploying highly curated recommendations can achieve improvements across major eCommerce metrics. Displaying products that address shoppers’ holistic beauty needs not only encourages additions to the shopping cart, but relevant picks foster confidence in completing purchases – with additional items added to the final order so customers can follow all the steps in a routine or achieve a striking look. These higher conversion rates and order totals lead to higher overall revenue: McKinsey reports that growth leaders derive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than the competition and achieve higher repeat purchase rates and higher marketing ROI. 

As an example, a beauty merchant using “complete the routine” bundling and recommendations can assign a selection of eyeliners, dramatic eyeshadows, shimmery blushes, and bold lip colors and glosses to a bundle for formal evening looks. A shopper who navigates to the product page for a particular eyeshadow duo sees suggestions for other products in the bundle. The recommendations factor in the preference for cutting-edge trends and warm colors, as well as a willingness to spend more for top-of-the-line brands. The customer ends up buying not only the eyeshadow, but a lip liner and lipstick as well. 

How Monetate’s Dynamic Bundles can help

Monetate offers Dynamic Bundling that seamlessly incorporates multiple inputs to create real-time personalized experiences at scale, helping beauty buyers find the right products for their needs. Bundles factor in:  

  • Product attributes – Sellers can automatically target picks by brand, category, inventory status, sustainability certifications, SKU details such as color or item size, price range, customer ratings, and more. 
  • Customer data –  Monetate’s AI algorithm factors in individual behavior signals, past order information, and information supplied through such site experiences as beauty quizzes or live chat interactions to assemble bundles that maximize relevance for each individual shopper. 
  • Merchandiser input – Marketing and merchandising teams can supplement input with manual product groupings that support business goals, such as seasonal picks for the holidays or items available for automatic replenishment subscriptions. 

Once categories are defined, rules are set, manual input is incorporated, and recommendations are activated, the platform automatically generates tailored bundle options – and, because the algorithm can analyze bundles’ performance data, product picks improve over time in a process of continual refinement. To optimize further, merchants can A/B test dynamic bundles to perfect presentation, messaging, and placement to ensure maximum engagement.

Armed with this sophisticated toolset, beauty merchants can navigate the heightened expectations and complexities of the marketplace successfully, ensuring their brands will thrive in 2024 and beyond.