A New Look: Product Positioning Tips from WWD’s CEO Summit

May 18, 2022

Last week we had the pleasure of attending WWD’s CEO Summit entitled Beauty Unfiltered: A Candid Look at the Future. Below, Sabrina Noorani shares her takeaways from The Big Blur: Rethinking Beauty panel, featuring: Deepica Mutyala, Founder & CEO of Live Tinted, Alicia Yoon, Founder & CEO of Peach & Lily, and Allison Collins, Senior Editor of Beauty at WWD. Read on for insights into current customer behaviors, and tips for increasing conversion within your brand’s e-commerce experience.

1. Solving a specific problem promotes loyalty

The Story
Deepica underscored that she is committed to “meeting customers where they are”—fundamentally. For her, this means ensuring that Live Tinted’s products directly facilitate increased representation. She originally broke into the beauty industry by way of YouTube, where her hack of using a red lipstick as an under-eye color-corrector went viral. Deepica concluded that the video’s popularity was rooted in her technique and visage—she had clearly demonstrated a solution for an everyday problem that women of color, specifically, experience.

Sabrina’s Take
Understanding and anticipating customer needs should be at the core of any product offering—it's why we've seen the beauty industry becoming highly segmented in recent years. Stepping away from homogenous, high-level problems allows brands to speak more directly to their target audience. This strategy has shown that, if you solve a specific problem, customers will stick with you and become your champions.

Action Items
Take a step back and consider your product’s positioning. Ask yourself what specific problem your product is solving, and who experiences this problem. Is there enough specificity to make your product stand out in today’s beauty landscape? Is it niche enough to inspire a repeat customer?

2. Customers shop across price points

The Story
Alicia posited that Peach & Lily’s data revealed that their customers tend to shop across a variety of price points, without necessarily sticking to a specific range. Her team observed customers willing to jump across price points while seeking solutions—not only low-to-high, but also high-to-low.

This purchasing behavior was observed at Ulta Beauty across Peach & Lily’s two product lines: Peach & Lily Collection, and Peach Slices. While Peach & Lily Collection averages $40.97 per product [1], Peach Slices offers $14.24 for its average product, in comparison [2].
When Peach Slices was launched in the “mass” category, as part their partnership with CVS, it’s sales didn’t cannibalize those of Peach & Lily Collection. (One might have initially assumed that the product lines weren’t differentiated enough, and would be competing with one another). On the contrary, the company observed customers willing to shop “across the aisle” from both product lines.

Because Peach Slices’ snail-mucin-focused products cater to those looking for acne solutions, the lower-priced line complemented the higher-priced offering, drawing in consumers due to the products’ functionality. This data is strengthened by the fact that both lines are sold successfully at Ulta and are excelling within both pricing categories. After Peach & Lily Collection was named a “Top 10 Prestige Brand” by Ulta, Peach Slices subsequently became a “Top 10 Mass Brand” for the retailer.

Sabrina’s Take
Like businesses, customers are also multi-dimensional and have evolving preferences that aren't linear. Working “across the aisle” (the “aisle” being segmentation factors like price, location, and ancillary interests) can, surprisingly, deepen connections with your consumers. When in doubt, test it out.

Action Items
Move beyond assigning each of your target demographics to a singular price range or target price point. First, start by mapping each demographic to specific value propositions that they might resonate with. Second, decide which products fit those value propositions, determining “fit” based on product function rather than price.

3. Value-based storytelling drives conversion

The Story
When asked to reimagine “the retail store of the future”, Alicia highlighted that Peach & Lily’s DTC strategy is primarily data-driven, and rooted in consistent A/B testing. A recent content test revealed that conversion increased when ingredient storytelling was incorporated into product messaging. The team determined that this purchasing behavior was due to consumers seeking proven value when making a purchase, and ingredient storytelling most clearly illustrated the value delivered by a product.

Sabrina’s Take
Consumers today are savvy and research-focused, making it essential for brands to offer a frictionless experience. All sales channels need to proactively answer consumer questions about:

  • Your value proposition
  • Why you are meeting their needs
  • The problem you solve

Offering this information to customers (before their questions arise) gives beauty brands a competitive edge: they can offer educational content on their own channels without losing potential customers to another research rabbit-hole.

Action Items
Identify common support questions from your customer base and wider audience, and build those answers directly into product messaging and product detail pages (PDPs). Providing up-front educational resources on ingredients, formulas, and supply chains makes purchasing decisions more straightforward for your potential customers, and builds trust within your online community.


Sources

[1] “Peach & Lily Collection”, Peach & Lily.
<https://www.peachandlily.com/collections/peach-lily-collection>
Full-size products range from $6 for an individual Original Glow Sheet Mask, to $175 for the Glass Skin Routine Kit (which includes the cleanser, sheet mask, essence, serum, and cream from the namesake line).

[2] “Peach Slices”, Peach & Lily. <https://www.peachandlily.com/collections/peach-slices>
Full-size products range from $2.49 for an individual Hydrate Mask, to $47.97 for the Snail Rescue Trio (which includes the toner, moisturizer, and mask from the Snail Rescue line).

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