Ask not what your customer can do for you, but what you can do for your customer, says Beauty Pie
Beauty Pie is the D2C brand Elle magazine describes as a “game-changer” and Glamour calls “disruptive and brilliant.” The beauty subscription business gives shoppers access to luxury skincare and cosmetic products directly from laboratories at a vastly discounted price.
We sat down with Beauty Pie’s Chief Marketing Officer Rob Weston to find out how a consumer-first approach can succeed in winning D2C brands hoards of loyal fans.
You have recently joined Beauty Pie, following an esteemed career across big retail brands such as Samsung, M&S and John Lewis. What drew you to Beauty Pie?
“I had spent enough time in oil tankers and was looking for a rocket ship. In Beauty Pie I found one.”
Beauty Pie is completely changing the face of the beauty industry, can you share more about your unique D2C/subscription business model and your current growth?
“Beauty Pie is the first online-only D2C buyers’ club for luxury beauty and health products, where every day, thousands and thousands of people can shop direct from the world’s best labs. And because we do not add markup nor middlemen costs, we can afford to concentrate on the quality of our products, while allowing our members to shop up to 80% off typical retail prices.
“We are all about the product as it is the ultimate loyalty driver. We are about empowerment, self-worth, and teaching women (and men) that they deserve a bigger piece of it, even if ‘getting more’ starts with the price of an amazing moisturizer.
“Our business model has proven extremely resilient during the global pandemic, and we continue to grow exponentially in terms of memberships and product sales, and also workforce.”
With this phenomenal growth and success, you’re really leading the way in the growing world of D2C. If you had to map out a few core choices and ingredients to build a successful D2C business, what would they be?
“Leverage the opportunities that digital can bring – whether that is in an app or on your desktop or on your journey home from work. It’s about helping you shop whenever you fancy and building an experience for the customer around that digital piece.
“The importance of having the right mindset is something that our founder, Marcia Kilgore, drilled into me from the very get go. When thinking about what to do, whether that be place, pricing or subscription types, speak to the customer, engage with them on their terms and let them tell you the answer. There are lots of exciting opportunities for D2C players to work with new partners and pop ups, and we will see a big blend of the digital and bricks and mortar world.”
What are the secret sauces for D2C success?
“Number one is engagement: empowerment is ultimately about helping customers to engage on their own terms. Being digital is an advantage as it brings convenience (especially during these uncertain times!) and digital storytelling is key. It is important to recognize that nowadays, most stories are conversations, which is where being transparent comes in. Be as transparent as possible and take people with you on the ride. Be human. Do not be a corporation. You only control the narrative until you publish it, so what you say must match what you do.”
On the other hand, what are some of the pitfalls or classic mistakes you’ve seen across D2C?
“One of the most common ones is the lack of a compelling USP. I am a strong believer in the WHAT and WHY behind a company, and if a D2C brand fails to clearly provide answers to these questions, it will not appeal to consumers when competing against others.
“Separately, most D2C brands use their website as their main channel and therefore having a malfunctioning website is an obstacle as it provides a complex customer journey, and limits SEO benefit which all negatively impact sales.”
Finally, could you share one piece of advice for businesses starting out on their D2C adventure in 2021?
“Play to your strengths. Do what the big brands cannot do. And enjoy the benefits of being small. This means turning on a dime, making cross-functional decisions at light speed. Have conversations with your customers and the community at large – don’t talk at them. And make decisions because they are the right thing to do, not because you’re chasing a quarterly earnings target. Success follows the consumer-minded.”