Tapping into the Explosive Progress of Personalised Magnificence in China
However, if you really think about it, none of the products are personalized. The technologies discussed serve to speed up the consumer decision-making process rather than to meet their real needs. Once consumers recognize this trick, they are less likely to fall for it again. This implies great potential in personalization that needs to be explored in China.
How Brands Can Benefit From China’s Personalized Beauty Boom
Which brings us to the ultimate question: How can U.S. and global brands get into the personalized beauty market in China?
First and foremost, brands need to determine what products and services to offer. For products that fall into the hair care and makeup categories, consumer behavior is more about mix and match, which emphasizes the accuracy of algorithms based on safe ingredients and formulas.
Skin care products are more about safety, effectiveness and efficiency. China was once one of the few countries in the world that required animal testing for imported cosmetic products. Products could only be imported and distributed in China with approval from the CFDA (China Food and Drug Administration). This has undoubtedly deterred many international cruelty-free brands from entering the Chinese market.
However, in March 2021, the National Medical Products Administration published regulations for the management of cosmetic registration and notification dossiers and announced that imported “common” cosmetics, including shampoos, makeup and fragrances, will not be subject to animal testing from May 1, 2021. To qualify for the exemption, brands must obtain a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certificate issued by the relevant regional authorities where the company is located and provide safety assessment results that can fully confirm the safety of the product.
If that sounds complicated, an alternative could be cross-border e-commerce as the link between brands and Chinese consumers, as no CFDA certificate is required for this business model. However, the after-sales process can be a headache – it can take a lot more effort and cost to recycle exchanged or returned products. Il Makiage offers a possible workaround as it offers free returns within 14 days in the US and a 60 day warranty for consumers in the UK, Germany and Australia.
Once brands localize products, it’s time to choose one platform as their primary “battleground”. An independent ecommerce site could be a suitable option. Brands can develop their own algorithms and design the personalization processes. That said, it is more difficult to attract traffic when compared to registering on mature platforms like Tmall and JD because they are more reliant on off-site marketing.
WeChat’s powerful ecosystem offers a full cycle of data capture – branding – marketing – sales – branding updating
WeChat mini programs are an alternative that is more geared towards Chinese consumers. The powerful ecosystem of the popular social media platform WeChat could form a complete cycle of data collection – branding – marketing – sales – branding updates. Once a brand is established, the business could be expanded to other shopping platforms. Effortless’ personalization algorithm and data collection are based on WeChat mini programs as it is much more convenient for users to take the quiz in an app they already use every day and share the links with others. Then Effortless opened a Tmall store to sell normal ready-made hair care products. The company still encourages consumers to follow their WeChat account and take the quiz if they’re not sure which products to use.
Aside from product and placement considerations, there are also numerous details that brands need to consider such as consumers etc. Anyway, there is no doubt that personalization in the beauty industry is back with a fresh look and more advanced technologies. The big questions are more like how and not if and when beauty brands will rush to China’s lucrative personalization trend.