Diana Ordonez

Digital imaging tools can impact purchase decisions, said Diana Ordonez, director of project management at Canfield Beauty.

The company develops technology involved in documenting clinical trials and product efficacy, which can be used to the benefit of retailers and brands, Ordonez said.

“We’ve mostly as retailers only changed where we’re selling products, but not how we’re selling them,” Ordonez said. She added 47 percent of health and beauty shoppers prefer an in-store experience, and that online shopping and social media mean customers are already midway through their buying journeys before they walk through a retailer’s doors.

“Consumers are 70 percent of their way into their buying journey before they ever get in front of your sales associate,” Ordonez said. Building those relationships in a store can motivate customers to come back, and differentiated in-store experiences can even prompt shoppers to share on social media.

“They’re looking for more ways to stand out in their social network,” Ordonez said. “You have to provide a unique enough experience for them to feel comfortable sharing it.”

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Consumers like personalization she added, noting that 22 percent of consumers think brands generally do a good job with personalization but that 37 percent of their “favorite brands” do a good job with it.

She argued that imaging tools can enhance the experience, noting that there is a 40 percent increase in sales when customers engage with imaging tools, and twice the basket size. While the technology is primarily used to make skin-care recommendations or show product efficacy, it can translate to tooth whitening and hair color, she said.

“We’ve found it is an experience that does influence a purchase,” Ordonez said. “Everyone wants to know right away if they’re going to like a product.”

The concept also gives brands an opportunity to engage further with consumers.

“You hold that relationship going forward, you can understand the impacts products have had on their skin and you can adjust,” Ordonez said. “They have a reason to share more about themselves with you.”