Click and Mortar: Bridging In-Store and Online Experiences

By Sarah Assous, CMO, Zoovu


No two humans look alike or have the exact same preferences, and when it comes to the health and beauty industry in particular, people want to express their individuality in unique ways. Health and beauty brands have come to understand this as a truth, and in their efforts to appeal to each and every consumer, they are supplying an endless number of products and variations. But have they taken things too far?

While brands’ efforts to provide variety and personalized product sets have positive underlying motivations, they have become a double-edged sword as consumers are now faced with choice overload and shopping paralysis. What this means is that there’s too many options when shopping for health and beauty products, leading to indecision and cart abandonment. In fact, 70% of beauty consumers are overwhelmed by having too many product choices and 54% have stopped purchasing from a website altogether because it was too difficult to find the right product.

While this is a complicated issue to solve entirely, health and beauty brands can take certain proactive steps to help alleviate these challenges, streamline shoppers’ online and in-store experiences and improve their ROI overall by increasing conversion rates. A key to this lies in utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) enabled experiences and bots to help brands solve the “I want” moment—the exact point when a shopper decides what they’d like to purchase—for their customers. Below are three strategies to help.

Provide AI-driven intelligent recommendations

By leveraging machine-learning algorithms that analyze consumers’ interactions and detect behavioral patterns, brands can better understand shopper intent and context to curate and personalize what is presented to them, all while adding a bit more humanization to the process. This can help reduce complexity throughout the shopper journey and increase relevancy for the end user. Our research has shown that when making a purchase, 71% of consumers have switched to a competitor because it made choosing the product easier. By providing recommendations that are relevant, brands can beat the competition and reduce consumer friction that can occur due to poor, or non-existent, personalization. Ultimately, the goal is to create a unique and conversational experience, which should, in-turn, lead to greater customer satisfaction.

Educate and inform
Educating consumers is key to driving purchasing decisions, and there’s no better way to do so than offering a consultative experience both in-store and online. To make better-informed choices online and in brick-and-mortar shops, consumers want to know about a product’s benefits and how it will satisfy their “I want” moment.

Rather than overpowering consumers with generic content that can be found anywhere online, brands should use intelligent digital technologies to educate consumers with tailored, contextualized information based on their respective needs and interests. It’s important to keep information that the consumer has already provided in mind to shape their personalized recommendations. This data can be obtained in a variety of ways, but providing Q&A conversations on brands’ pages can be an easy and effective way to do so.

Gathering data to improve the shopper experience

An extended benefit of using the aforementioned technologies is that they can gather valuable first-party data to get to know consumers and gain a more accurate understanding of their needs, which can then be used to fuel future interactions. Utilizing AI in future interactions gives brands an understanding of the types of products bought, which ones were successful and specific answers about performance to ensure the conversation is always optimized.

It’s important to note that when gathering consumer data, it must be done with a specific end goal in mind—this means that compiling data just for the sake of having it should no longer be common practice. Consumers have spoken, and they’re still willing to share their personal information as long as it leads to better and more personalized shopping experiences. In fact, according to recent research, despite 81% of consumers saying they’re more concerned with how companies are using their data, 71% say it’s worth sharing this information so long as companies are using it to improve their lives.

Where brands will run into challenges with customer loyalty and retention is if after collecting data, they’re still providing the same, broad targeting that isn’t meaningful for their target audiences. In short, transparency, authenticity and value-add are key.

It has become clear that those businesses that invest in technology to improve the shopper journey and provide personalized experiences will stand out among the competition, and this could not ring truer than in the health and beauty industry. Utilizing the strategies outlined above can help ensure customer retention and attraction.


Sarah Assous





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