The Digital Makeover Your Site Needs To Build Trust with Beauty Shoppers

March 13, 2023

Beauty websites are going through a 360 digital makeover.  What was once a place to get quick facts and reviews about products before purchasing, has now become a hub for ingredient education and community.  Beauty brands are rapidly building sites that are now a destination to learn about industry trends, events, product packaging, and sometimes even tutorials from dermatologists. 

What has driven this mass upload of information?

Over the last 3 years (amidst the rollercoaster of COVID shutdowns and multiple attempts at reopening), beauty shoppers began seeking the benefits of the in-store experience online.  Once businesses were forced to close their brick and mortar stores, they had to bring the informative, high-touch in-store experience to digital.  Daniel Heaf, VP of Nike’s direct-to-consumer business Nike Direct, shares “digital is more than just a sales channel. It is a way to build connection and community.”

Transferring the Human Element of Trust-building to Digital

Harvard Business Review’s article “How Customers Decide Whether to Buy from Your Website” by Derrick Neufeld and Mahdi Roghanizad explains that “in traditional business contexts, trust emerges and evolves in a physical space, and between two or more people interacting in person. But in the e-commerce setting, a prospective customer usually does not have any such contact, and so they must rely entirely on the digital experience.”

So how does a brand deliver a sense of human touch into their ecommerce experience? 

Many rely on delivering that person to person connection through user-generated content or influencer marketing campaigns on Instagram and TikTok (check out this high impact example).   The struggle remains to infuse that “human touch” version of information gathering directly into websites.  Most importantly, the in-real time responses, recommendations and brand storytelling from those you trust the most: the store associates. 

We’ve identified three ways to make your website build trust with shoppers by (1) being a resource hub, (2) delivering personalized value and (3) demonstrating clear alignment between commitments and actions.

1 - Make Your Website a Resource 

Transforming your e-commerce site into a resource hub rather than just a collection of PDPs keeps customers coming back - and builds trust over time. shared, “Education is the future of marketing. Education builds trust with your audience because you are showing yourself as the industry expert.” 

Making it happen: Craft an ingredient glossary with all of the ingredients your brand uses. Skincare favorite Farmacy’s Ingredient Transparency page is a great example of an interactive, informative experience that delivers value with every click.  By showcasing every single ingredient in their product line up, you’re able to find a definition for everything,  including those long scientific ingredients that no one can pronounce (TRISODIUM ETHYLENEDIAMINE DISUCCINATE anyone?).  Farmacy further enhances the user experience by including a Search bar - meaning a quick lesson on exactly what you were looking for.  No more waiting for chat bots to deliver the trusted information your store associates would handle in person. Just click your way to ingredient clarity.

2 - Provide Personalized Value In Real Time

Value is king when it comes to site retention.  When brands provide customized, genuine value, shoppers are much more likely to come back for more. “The power of digital allows us to serve personally, at scale, around the world,” says Heaf.  While shopping in-store, customers are able to share that they have combination skin, frequent outbreaks, and sensitivity to hyaluronic acid to a store associate who can guide them to a selection of products perfect for their skin.  Recreating that experience online is pivotal in delivering a personalized recommendation online.

Cotz Sunscreen Quiz offering quick facts while delivering personalized recommendations

Making it happen: Use quizzes to give instant value back to your shopper before they’ve even sampled your product. Rather than doing it the Buzzfeed way, make your quizzes include valuable information after every question.  If you’re creating a blush shade finder, share why certain pigments are harder than others to get right after the customer answers. Cotz Skincare uses a Typeform survey to get curious about the shopper and help them find the perfect sunscreen for them. Along the way, the quiz taker gets valuable nuggets of info about how the sun’s rays can penetrate through different materials - something most shoppers wouldn’t be aware of. This kind of exchange allows you to build trust before they’ve even made a purchase - only adding to their commitment to your brand once they also love your product. 

3 - Enhance your Brand Storytelling on your "About Us" Page

Outdated “About Us” pages are the Achilles heel of any brand.  What starts as a powerful page to show what the company stands for and how they’re taking action on those core values,  often becomes an afterthought.   “They [customers] are looking to connect with businesses that reflect their own values,”  says  Amanda E. Johnson, co-founder and COO of Mented Cosmetics. When beauty shoppers are looking for reasons to align with your brand, they’re looking for action and results.  Without ongoing updates, the  commitments to drive change seem to fall flat. 

Make it happen: Craft your About Us page to include at least one true cause that aligns with your core values and keep them updated regularly.  If you’re transitioning to more sustainable packaging, share the process. You don’t have to be complete or perfect to drive change. Here are a few ways you can connect with your audience about your brand evolution:

  • Link to blog posts or include recent content around how this cause or value was supported by your brand 
  • Host and post a Town Hall
  • Share data, videos or quotes from the organization following through on your brand promise

Bringing this page to life helps build a better relationship with customers who are in search of value alignment

The Future

As the beauty space moves further into the mixed space of online and offline, websites continue to be an integral part of the shopping experience. 

Trust building comes in many forms, but the simplest and most honest remains to be the brand’s website.  Make an impact with your beauty shoppers by testing out these digital enhancements.

To learn more about how ClearForMe can support your Ingredient Glossary: Reach out for a quick demo


Images via Farmacy and Cotz


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