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Why Personal Care Brands Should Care About Their Mobile Site Experience

By Ryan Brady | November 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingContent Marketing and ManagementCustomer ExperienceDigital Marketing Strategy and Execution

I was analyzing brands’ mobile site data to gear up for Kyle Rees’ and my upcoming cross-sector Mobile Marketing Channel Benchmark Webinar when I noticed something interesting about personal care brands. An overwhelming proportion of site traffic among personal care brands come from mobile devices, compared to desktop (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Seventy-Six Percent of Personal Care Site Traffic Stems From Mobile

This graphic shows that 76% of personal care brand traffic comes from mobile

While overall, total site traffic to personal care brands remains low compared to popular brand destinations within industries like retail and travel and hospitality, it’s interesting how 76% of site traffic stem from mobile when the average share of mobile traffic across all industries lands at 54%. I also noticed that not many personal care brands have customer-facing mobile apps; just 14% of personal care brands in our Mobile Marketing Benchmark study have a mobile app compared to 50% of brands across all industries. 

This relatively low overall site traffic and mobile app presence among personal care brands make sense, afterall—most customers tend to discover, research and purchase personal care products through large, established multi-brand retail outlets, such as Target, Amazon or Ulta.

So why the high proportion of mobile site visitors? Are in-the-moment shoppers navigating to personal care brands’ mobile sites to conduct product research in-store (likely at a Target, Ulta or Walmart)? Possibly. It’s also likely that the growing adoption of direct-to-consumer models among these brands are causing many younger, mobile-first consumers to turn to their mobile phones to research (and ultimately buy) directly from brand-owned mobile sites during their downtime. 

Regardless, personal care brands should use this finding as an opportunity to reevaluate their own mobile sites to identify ways to create a better mobile experience for on-the-go and in-the-moment shoppers—especially as more of these brands make the leap to direct-to-consumer selling. 

What better way to do this than to look at high-performing brands?

High-Performing Brands Prioritize Simple, Intuitive Mobile Site Experiences

According to Gartner’s annual Consumer Values and Lifestyle Survey, Simplicity has steadily risen since 2014 as a value consumers prioritize in their lives (see Figure 2). This indicates that consumers are seeking ways to streamline their lives and reduce their mental load now more than ever—and a simple and intuitive mobile site can help them achieve this.

Figure 2. “Simplicity” Rises In Ranks Among Values Consumers Care About

This graphic shows the upward trajectory of consumers' preference for living a simply, decluttered life

When we reviewed brands’ mobile websites across industries, we found a stark difference between the design of top-ranked brand mobile homepages versus those of brands in lower ranks. 

We found that top-ranked brands tend to prioritize:

  • Ample white space, high contrast and large text to make the experience accessible to a wider audience. Brands in lower tiers tended to have cluttered homepages with lots of images, CTAs that block important content, colorful hero images that make text difficult to read, etc. 
  • Sparing use of text to take advantage of limited screen real estate. Brands in lower tiers, meanwhile, tended to have large blocks of text and hyperlinks taking up valuable mobile real estate.
  • Intuitive site navigation through collapsible menu items, serving almost as mini sitemaps for mobile users. Meanwhile, brands in lower tiers tended to have long and sometimes confusing lists of menu items that led to a series of more lists before pointing users to a destination. 

Mobile homepages serve as an important landing page for both first-time and high-frequency customers. Therefore, it’s critical that personal care brands keep this digital footprint simple and intuitive for customers to navigate, relying on product display pages for more detailed information and robust visual assets. See Figure 3 for some examples of how high-performing personal care brands execute on the aforementioned elements of a simplified mobile homepage experience: 

Figure 3. High-Performing Personal Care Brands Simplify Their Mobile Site Homepage

L'Occitane en Provence Tom Ford IT Cosmetic Mobile Site Experiences

While there are many other elements that contribute to a positive mobile site experience, such as speed and site features, personal care brands can pick the low-hanging fruit and simplify their mobile site experiences by eliminating walls of text, adding plenty of whitespace and contrast, and distilling site navigation to a shortlist of collapsible menu items.

If you’d like to read more about what personal care brands are doing to create robust marketing experiences outside the realm of just mobile sites, check out Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Personal Care 2021 (depending on when you’re reading this post, this report may or may not be live yet). In this report, you’ll explore how leaders in personal care are excelling at not just overall site performance, but path to purchase, digital marketing channels and social media too. 

And for a really great read into how CPG brands in general can create winning direct-to-consumer strategies, I highly recommend you check out Ant Duffin’s blog post, “Three ways CPG leaders can drive short and long-term value from direct-to-consumer.” You’ll be sure to learn some more ideas here.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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