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The Benefit of Bringing Human Touch to Retail

Executives from Beauty Barrage, Act + Acre, Hush & Hush and Henry Rose discussed the needs of wellness in store.

As wellness products continue to conquer more shelf space in stores, well-researched, better-educated consumers are following — and they have questions.

According to survey findings from Beauty Barrage, 58 percent of consumers come in with specific wellness questions and for 80 percent of consumers, it makes a difference if a store’s beauty brand ambassador tells a consumer that a product has a wellness component.

“We know that everything is digital today,” said Amanda Fitzpatrick, head of sales at Beauty Barrage, at the WWD Wellness Forum. “When the consumer comes in, they’ve had a certain experience digitally and you don’t want it to fall flat in store.”  

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Joining Fitzpatrick were Kristy Engels, vice president of marketing at Henry Rose, Erin Foy, founding partner and director of marketing at Hush & Hush, and Colm Mackin, chief executive officer and founder of Act+Acre, who have all worked with Beauty Barrage to amplify their respective brands in stores.

A challenge for all brands at retail is making sure consumers are receiving education on the products. For example, Foy shared that while Hush & Hush has spent resources on clinical studies to prove the science of supplements so that people feel comfortable taking them, and while digitally the brand sends opted-in consumers this information, it’s far different from providing that education in store.

Similarly, Engles shared her experience working with brands that were given FDA clearance, saying that this messaging would need to be communicated in stores. And in the case of Act+Acre, products have been formulated to meet the specific needs of different scalp types, depending on details down to a region’s water type.

Ultimately, providing the consumer with the much-needed information requires ongoing education with the retailer and representatives in stores who can speak to the brand’s products and efficacy. Working with Beauty Barrage, brands can provide ongoing education to consumers through beauty brand ambassadors. These ambassadors represent brands in stores, helping consumers navigate brands with key insights that they also pass on to the retailer’s employees.

“They’re very good at making friends with other associates in the retail store,” said Foy of the Beauty Barrage ambassadors. “It’s about making sure that everyone is a cheerleader of our products. If someone is buying a $500 serum, they should be addressing the issue from the inside. So having an associate who works at the beauty counter cheerlead our brand, and having the Beauty Barrage ambassadors facilitate that relationship, is great.”

More than that, the ambassadors help to create a community that bridges consumers’ and retail employees’ experiences both in-store and online, sharing brand education which includes how-to videos and live conversations. It’s the power of human touch that brings the combination of education and community to life, Fitzpatrick told the audience.

“Beauty Barrage is really all about the human touch,” said Fitzpatrick. “What’s really important is that you can get your brand, but are you going to stay there? These relationships that you have with [store teams] and getting them on a personal level to understand and to educate makes a huge difference.”