Recently, The Beauty Connect 2022 event brought together a handpicked cast of global thought leaders and experts to discuss the future of beauty industry. In this article, we explore the highlights from the event.

The Beauty Connect 2022 event featured 350+ beauty decision makers, disrupters and strategic partners, newsmaker brands, R&D innovators, market analysts, and retail and beauty thought leaders offering actionable insights as we head towards 2023. 

This year's conference proved again that dynamic speakers and innovation partners across marketing, R&D, and growth, can generate meaningful conversations about the state and future of beauty. The immersive event, which featured this year's best beauty product innovations, offered a wide range of opportunities to meet industry executives and entrepreneurs, experience a range of beauty services, attend brand workshops and private pitching opportunities, and join insightful roundtables. 

The New Digital Marketing Practices for Optimum ROI

The last few years have taught us to be digitally fluent and adjust to the new social commerce realm. But, how do you get the best return from increasing customer acquisition costs? At the event, expert leaders hosted a panel session “Leveraging Digital Marketing for Optimum ROI”. The panel session was moderated by CreatorIQ's Conor Begley, who was joined by Samantha Kimmel, Creative Partnerships of TikTok, Taylor Serrano, Director of Social Media and Influencer Relations of Too Faced Cosmetics, Marie La France, VP Strategy of Dash Hudson, and Patrick O'Keefe VP of Integrated Marketing Communications of E.L.F Beauty. 

In recent months, there has been a noticeable shift in how influencers and creators are viewed. And there’s more: the evolution from influencers to creators is changing how companies execute campaigns and collect data. "Creators are co-creating unique, authentic content with brands and giving them access to diverse communities and audiences," said Taylor Serrano.

Moreover, with the expansion of platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter, the industry recognizes that the way in which content is delivered must change. Some companies like ELF beauty utilize TikTok for educational purposes. Patrick O'Keefe said that most TikTok users didn't know what E.L.F stood for, so “our team used this as a jumping off point for creating content; we made a song called "Eyes Lips Face" which went viral” he adds.. 

According to Samantha Kimmel, 1 in 3 TikTor users have bought a product from an influencer. However, videos by creators are “believable and approachable versus influencer videos which are determined to sell you a product”, adds Kimmel. Marie La France agrees and believes that attention spans are much shorter, so brands have to come up with new, innovative ways and opportunities to better engage their audience. She also added that measuring success in advertising is different video content is innately different from static content. Marie La France also said they use a proprietary metric at Dash Hudson called "entertainment score" (scale 1-10). “Brands with a decent entertainment score (1-5) saw 17% sales lift, brands with highest entertainment score (5-10) saw 51% sales lift”.

The Evolution of Categories: Opportunities and Challenges

Times of great difficulty help produce new ideas, and according to industry experts, this is the time to innovate, develop new technology, and invest in quality and efficacy. Below are some of the opportunities and challenges industry thought leaders listed during one of the panel discussions:

  • Covid has sparked a desire for fact-based information and science-based brands. “Consumers want proven performance benefits, and certainly post-pandemic, we will see an increase in clinical, science-backed brands. Moreover, product performance and efficaciousness is an expectation – consumers are now demanding better customer service and guidance and require more education and knowledge,” said Elana Drell-Szyfer, CEO of Revive Skincare. 
  • Offering more deals, automation, and convenience to deliver an exceptional shopping experience all year long is a top priority for many retailers, including industry leader Walmart. “At Walmart Connect, the U.S. arm of Walmart's global advertising business, we take what makes Walmart great – like our company's commitment to saving customers' time and money – and apply those values to create meaningful shopping experiences between our customers, suppliers and sellers,” said Laurie Tessier, Merchandising Director Prestige Beauty at Walmart.
  • Brands and retailers are also well advised to keep tabs on market research — figuring out what is selling and why. Laurie Tessier continued: “We've also seen the most success with High Awareness brands. We've recently partnered with Space NK to bring prestige beauty products to and nearly 250 Walmart stores nationwide this summer. Customers will now have a convenient way to shop both beauty staples and prestige specialty items during their weekly Walmart shopping trip.”

Beauty Technology: Streamlining the Customer Experience

Key players in the beauty industry are embracing the digitalization of brand-and-consumer interactions by enhancing how shoppers can connect with their favorite brands at different touch points. In a panel session “Beauty Technology - Streamlining the Customer Experience” Richard Kestenbaum, Partner at Triangle Capital LLC, Sarah Chung, CEO at Landing International, Destiny Villarreal, DMM at JCPenney, and Matt Rice, Industry Manager at Meta, explored how brands and retailers are using the latest technologies to offer an exceptional customer experience and gain customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Retailers must prepare to provide customers with an on-demand and personalized experience to deliver on their brand promise whenever and wherever their customers prefer to shop. In the case of JCPenney, this further strengthens their newly launched concept, "JCPenney Beauty," as it brings a personal touch to customers when buying beauty products online. For its newly launched JCPenney Beauty experience, the retailer partnered with Revieve to deploy a category-specific personalized digital experience in the form of a virtual makeup try-on and online skincare advisor, which was crucial to their strategy for customer acquisition and retention. 

With the AR-powered makeup try-on powered by Revieve, we can enable our customers to try endless makeup products and find their favorite beauty product, while with Revieve’s AI Skincare Advisor we can streamline the customer experience from online to offline,” said Destiny Villarreal, DMM Beauty at JCPenney. 

Moreover, it is also becoming harder to determine with clarity the main driver of customers' purchases. Digital interactions are increasingly influencing spending decisions not only at physical stores but also online. Matt Rice, Industry Manager at Meta, agrees and said, "Multi-dimension shopping is the new era as the line between online and offline has blurred. As of today, we have a huge demand for AR try-on solutions. At Meta, we believe the next five years in AR will be defined by "world effects" going beyond the 2d/3d face try-on”.