The coronavirus has given rise to a new set of circumstances none of us could have predicted just a few months ago. Consumer habits, preferences, and behaviors have shifted. Self-care is the new personal care, with physical and mental well-being playing equal parts in new consumer attitudes around health. One way we’re seeing this attitude manifest is the increased demand for virtual connection, expertise, and education.
As consumers redefine what it means to be well, they are growing more accustomed to—even dependent on—highly personalized virtual tools, experiences, and services. Not only can they make more informed decisions around products and their health, they can satisfy their cravings for human connection.
To better understand these evolving services, as well as how they’re impacting businesses, we spoke with Credo Beauty and the team behind Hero, a technology platform for conversational commerce.
Even before the pandemic hit, Credo saw a growing need for more personalized online support specifically for the clean-beauty consumer. “The switch to clean is complicated,” said Dawn Dobras, CEO of Credo Beauty. “We work really hard to meet you where you need to be and help educate you in those paths. It’s really hard to do that on a website.”
To address this, Credo launched Credo Live in 2019, powered by Hero, a move that has proven invaluable to their business. “You can have a real conversation like you would in the stores and get real advice,” says Dobras.
What was a service that was working well before the pandemic has now become essential to Credo’s business? Compared to sales on the regular site, conversion rates with Hero are 10 times higher and average order value is 20% higher.
“If you had told me six weeks ago that our business would be doing this well, I’m not sure I would have believed it,” said Dobras. “Not only are we seeing off the chart results with virtual selling through Hero, but we’ve also been able to keep all of our employees on staff, something that we’re very proud of as a values-driven company.”
While Hero works with a variety of brands across industries, the effect on beauty has been particularly impactful. According to Lindsey Scott, Head of Communications for Hero, conversion rates are up by 41%.
“The pandemic has ushered in an incredibly uncertain time for retailers,” said Scott. “It has also highlighted the necessity of omnichannel technologies like Hero to help brands capitalize on a surge in online traffic, give store associates the ability to work from home and facilitate human connection when consumers are craving it now more than ever. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen strong evidence that shoppers are more willing than ever to engage with virtual selling tools, as conversations and sales through Hero have increased by 48% and 86% respectively since COVID-19 hit.”
Deciem is one of the most recent major brands to partner with Hero. They launched a dedicated landing page for “Deciem at Home” with a detailed introduction to the service, alongside a major press push to help generate buzz.
“Since the pandemic hit we’re seeing record levels of interest for virtual shopping. New business inquiries are up 500% month over month, with a particular uptick in the beauty category,” said Scott. The team is also actively rolling out new features, like a two-way video-calling feature and WhatsApp integration, which will allow for even more personalized relationships between store associates and customers.
The high-touch digital service offered by companies like Credo and Deciem is having a strong ripple effect across the industry, as other brands look to deploy new tools.
The Well launched an entirely virtual membership service with virtual classes, consultations, and support circles. Dr. Barbara Sturm and Johanna Czech are both offering customers facials and 1:1 coaching from the comfort of their own homes, services they had offered before the outbreak, which have now skyrocketed in popularity. Naturopathica is bringing the spa directly to the consumer for the first time by piloting digital aesthetician services.
We can’t help but think these kinds of high-touch digital experiences are part of a new normal, and likely just the beginning. As consumers come to rely on virtual tools to achieve self-care and health goals, retailers and brands alike will feel the pressure of growing demands even in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Photo: via Credo