Fashion Magazine

The Big Business of Beauty

By Demi Mist @Beautyandmist

Beauty is a strange and ironic animal. The person who possesses beauty, to whatever degree, can have easier access to life's accouterments, and yet that has nothing to do with aspects such as a person's potential, abilities, or personality. A person with such perceived beauty can even achieve more financial success than the average looking person. It's fascinating that such a superficial and truly unimportant part of a person's being can be so important to others' perception of them, and therefore to their self-worth.

Cosmetic companies are swift to pick up on this anomaly. It is said that on average, a woman will spend $15,000 on cosmetics during her lifetime. In the United States, the cosmetics sector sells 8 billion dollars to women (and men) per year. When you see the finished product, the hair, foundation, lipstick, eyes, it looks like it was effortless to achieve. Behind the scenes, it's a different story. Women can spend a lot of time looking into different products, trying and discarding (or keeping) one or several. Likewise, for the cosmetics companies, there's a lot of testing, marketing, retention, and most importantly, gauging the way the consumer feels about herself when using a beauty product, especially on a repeat basis.

A good beauty product testing company has its hand on the pulse of the cosmetics user's needs and desires, and spends a great deal of time, effort, and money to get that pulse. And it's not just the colors, textures, or wearability of the products. It is perhaps even more important to fix upon factors, such as the brands she is acquainted with, the convenience of purchasing, and price. Factors such as these can determine a woman's greater likelihood of purchasing the beauty products, and then purchasing the same products on a regular basis.

Even when a woman buys a cosmetic product after all of these factors, and her own careful research and consideration, the cosmetic companies will need to determine the next aspect of the repeat purchasing, which leads to customer loyalty. If the company has succeeded in creating a product that she enjoys and is satisfied with, she may likely be a repeat customer. It's much more expensive to a company to gain a new customer, but repeat customers will ultimately spend almost 70% more than that new customer. And over 80% of the adults in the United States say they are loyal to a brand or brands.

Customer loyalty can be achieved with one product or several products together. Another way to achieve customer loyalty is used in many industries and has been popular for quite a while. A customer loyalty program is a key to ensuring that a customer will keep returning for products again and again. And again, repeat customers spend much more on products and make more money for the company. And if the customer is happy with the loyalty program, they will be more likely to tell others, growing that business even more.

Not all loyalty programs are designed well. There are so many rewards programs out there that people will be less likely to use them - especially if they are cumbersome or take too long to understand in our complicated, fast-paced lives. Like many parts of a business model, a loyalty program is a trial-and-error situation that is dependent on the type of company, as well as the size and the money spent by the consumer on a unit of product. A unit in a cosmetics program would be smaller than a unit in an airline loyalty program. Virgin Atlantic has such a program, where the more miles you accumulate through flights, the greater you can get in rewards possibilities in higher tiers.

A cosmetic rewards program, on the other hand, should be much simpler so the customer will be more likely to want to participate. Sephora, for example, has a program where the participant uses a card onto which points are added each time a purchase is made. In turn, the points can be redeemed each additional time the customer makes purchases.

It's fascinating to see the machinations of companies' interests in getting to know us in their ongoing quest to be successful.

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