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Customer experience

Digital transformation


How to Optimize the DTC Beauty Consumer's Journey

From awareness through to purchase and post-purchase delight, every step of the customer's journey offers an opportunity to create a lasting impression.


But rather than adopting a general approach, consumers in a specific vertical require a specific approach – and direct-to-consumer (DTC) beauty shoppers are no exception.


In this article, we explore some effective strategies to enhance your DTC beauty customer’s journey.

October 12, 2023

Anastasia Hamurari

Where do online beauty shoppers start the purchase journey?​

To understand how to encourage consumers to purchase, brands must first understand how consumers prefer to navigate the purchase journey.

66% of beauty consumers say that they search for information online before making a purchase.

Dedicated beauty retailer websites, such as Sephora, remain the preferred starting point for 58% of online beauty shoppers. Amazon is a distant second with 19%, followed by a brand’s own DTC site with 7%.

The most popular place to purchase a new beauty product is also a dedicated retailer’s site (36%), followed by Amazon (14%), in-store (14%) and brand’s websites (12%).

While owned DTC sites account for only a small percentage of the beauty buyer’s journey, this channel is no less important. Indeed, it warrants greater time and focus in order to drive conversions behaviors on DTC sites.

Woman at makeup counter picking up product

Consumers are likely to purchase new (to them) beauty products alongside habitual items

For many consumers, willingness to try new products has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

96% of consumers say that when they’re purchasing a beauty product that they use habitually, they’re at least somewhat likely to also buy a new product within the same purchase. Nearly half (43%) indicate they’re very likely to do so.

As such, it’s essential that brands generate plenty of reviews for newly launched or lesser-known products. This content boosts shoppers’ confidence – and the likelihood they’ll buy.

Online beauty shopping is dependent on user-generated content and reviews

If a consumer purchases a product they use habitually, they know exactly what to expect. However, when a shopper ventures out to try a new product, there’s a level of uncertainty involved.

This is especially true when consumers are shopping online, and lack the opportunity to physically see, feel and try out a product before purchasing.

However, by leveraging reviews, images, videos and other independent user-generated content, brands can boost consumer confidence and increase their likelihood to buy.

When shoppers explore this content, they look for a number of key elements.

Consistency and product quality (82%) is the top consideration. This is followed by what the product looks like on a real person (75%), skin type and effect on the skin (74%), how long the product lasted (i.e. a few hours vs all day), products that complement it (26%) and scent (25%).

When delivered in a genuine way, this content gives shoppers the confidence to ultimately make a purchase. 

close up shot of makeup station with person opening lip gloss

Three tips to improve the DTC beauty buyer's journey

1. Deliver convenient and seamless experiences, regardless of shopping channel

Research and comparison are essential to the online shoppers’ buying journey.

But to stand out in online comparisons, brands must prioritize delivering convenient, engaging and seamless customer experiences to encourage positive shopper feedback.

This includes, among other factors, being available across multiple channels, offering fast and free shipping, better bundling options and gifts with purchase (GWPs).

Brands can drive this further by offering membership-based loyalty schemes, whereby shoppers pay an annual subscription and receive a better service, such as free next-day delivery or free samples.

For example, LOOKFANTASTIC offers a premier delivery subscription, with members eligible for unlimited next-day delivery options for a fixed price for one year.

Transparency is key to this. As such, brands should encourage shoppers to score their service on varying metrics, such as speed, convenience or outcome, which can be displayed on the website for ultimate transparency.

2. Encourage impulse shopping to incentivize larger basket sizes  

Consumers are often more likely to buy new beauty products alongside their usual purchases, and so innovation designed to drive impulse spending can help boost basket sizes and average order values online.

There is an opportunity to leverage conditional promotions (Buy one, get one free (BOGOF), buy and earn loyalty, buy and save on specific items).

Alongside this, tactically placing lower-priced products either near high demand items or at the checkout phase can help capitalize on this impulse spending.

Free shipping with a minimum basket value also encourages consumers to purchase extra items to reach this threshold​.

For shoppers that demonstrate an interest in new brands, retailers can also offer free samples of yet-to-be-released products and provide information around the brand and the date the product is set to launch.

Online retailers such as Boots enable shoppers to filter by newest-in. This can be expanded further by offering a separate page that only displays recently launched brands.

This accelerates the exclusive feel of buying online, driving trials of new and limited-edition products, generating conversation around those which are yet to be released, encouraging more sales upon their actual launch. 

3. Beauty brands and retailers must continuously measure and optimize their UGC strategies 

89% of consumers look to user-generated reviews to inform their purchase decision, with 78% confirming that these reviews are the key influencing factor for these decisions.

As such, brands and retailers must make it a priority to collect and display it to attract – and retain – shoppers.

Success of this hinges on several basic elements: encouraging shoppers to submit reviews, nurturing positive ones, collating reviews prominently on home and product pages, to name a few.

But above all, brands must continuously measure the performance of their UGC program. The insights gleaned from consistent measurement and analysis of performance help brands implement changes that’ll drive more ROI.

Showcase this content for all consumers so it is easy for shoppers to find – whether they’re browsing from home on a computer, in-store on a mobile device.

With the right partner, building a comprehensive and effective DTC beauty buyer’s journey is easy and achievable. At THG Ingenuity, our brand partnerships rely on a solid foundation of core solutions that deliver an optimized, holistic beauty consumer journey.

This starts with our cutting-edge technology, facilitating enhanced on-site interactions through an agile ecommerce platform designed by and for brands. Alongside this are our marketing solutions, aiding in connecting your brand with consumers on a global scale.

At the core of it all lies our fulfillment, delivering a global operations network that ensures a seamless buyer’s journey, from the moment of purchase to the arrival of the product at their doorstep.

Looking to build, expand and optimize your DTC beauty buyer’s journey? Reach out today or explore our beauty solutions here.

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