Touch-and-try trumps AR when it comes to testing

By Julia Wray 2-Nov-2021

New research shows in-store testing is instrumental when buying beauty

In-store testing remains a vital tool when it comes to persuading consumers to spend on beauty goods, according to new findings.

Half of consumers cited testing products in-store as a key purchase factor – a number which rises to 63% of shoppers in the 25-34 age bracket and 58% of those aged 35-44.

According the the study of 2,000 respondents from the UK, US and Germany by retail innovation agency Outform, in-store testing is currently preferred to touchless technology, like augmented reality (AR), which just 21% of those surveyed said was important.

This number rises to 26% in the 24-34-year-old group, Outform added.

“Beauty brands were leading innovators during the pandemic. With sensory experiences effectively culled during lockdowns, they quickly pivoted to the next best options, from one-to-one virtual consultations to AR technologies. It was invaluable while shops were closed, but has also been a lifeline for those who were – and still are – more cautious of touch,” said Simon Hathaway, MD EMEA at Outform.

“But as the research shows, there is an appetite to reinstate the try-before-you-buy mindset,” he added.

“The next step for brands and retailers who dare to innovate will be turning this into a data touchpoint, so that they have a thorough understanding of customer expectations and habits, from how they shop all the way to their unique beauty regimes.”

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Samples were also purchase levers for female consumers at 65%. Meanwhile a third of Gen Zers cited online make-up tutorials as important, and 36% admitted to using in-store digital displays.

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