Health and Beauty Shoppers Seek More Info In-Store

Smartphones can unlock packaging’s potential 

Author: Jen King

October 31, 2018

In a physical retail environment, packaging continues to influence consumers' purchasing decisions. This is not just from a design or visual standpoint, but also from a desire for more information.

According to a September 2018 survey of 3,000 consumers worldwide conducted by science and technology company Danaher, ingredients were the most important packaging element to health and beauty shoppers, followed by the expiration date. Touch and feel and design features ranked lower. 

Increasingly, shoppers are turning to digital means to find these important attributes. The study found that in the past three months, 19% of internet users took a photo of a product to search for more information, 15% scanned a bar code to learn more about a product, 13% used a code to verify the authenticity of a product, while 7% used an augmented reality (AR) app.

While the penetration of these functions is relatively low, the survey found that in the future, respondents felt these smartphone activities will be used more. 

In addition to learning more or authenticating products, 60% of respondents said they would use a smartphone to get a discount code, while 46% would use the device to complete their purchase without having to wait in line. Roughly three in 10 respondents said they’d like to see more apps that allowed these abilities.

The beauty sector is readying itself for consumer technology adoption. In an April 2018 Celebrity Intelligence survey, 58% of beauty marketers thought using AR for makeup discovery will be adopted at scale within two years. 

And the future is already here for some. 

Sephora has been at the forefront of using AR to allow users to try on makeup virtually, and L'Oréal bought AR beauty tech startup Modiface in March 2018. 

Apps like Think Dirty and GoodGuide allow mobile users to scan health and beauty products to decode product labels and research ingredients.

And companies like Perch have eliminated the need for smartphone scanning altogether. The in-store digital platform being used by brands like Nivea and Johnson & Johnson automatically displays product information on a touchscreen when a shopper touches an item displayed on a store shelf. Perch reports that beauty brands have experienced a 37% sales lift from these interactive displays.