As CEO of Youty Group, Christina Ericsson has first-hand experience of integrating data into her business strategy. She explains why data and a strong agency partnership are crucial to delivering on customer needs – and reveals what other companies can learn from the fast pace of the beauty industry.
The health and beauty industry is vibrant and moves quickly. Trends and demands change on an almost weekly basis, with eco-skincare, Korean cosmetics, and ‘ambient’ wellness just being some of the many trends we’ve seen this year.
Beauty customers are becoming savvier online and looking for better experiences. They’re increasingly used to voice searches and online trial apps, while their social media feeds presented highly-relevant products as they were scrolling.
The transformational nature of the industry means that brands need to be ready to keep pace. And the one constant throughout all this change has been the need for data. At Youty Group, data is what allowed us to merge the extensive product range of three beauty brands and build a clearer picture of what each of their customers want.
Red lipstick in Stockholm, pink in Oslo: Why personalisation matters
Youty Group operates three brands – Nordicfeel, Blush and Eleven – that offer over 25,000 products across the Nordics collectively.
With an inventory this size, searches, purchases volumes, and the customer journey is dynamic – and it’s data that is key to everything we do. Whether it’s from our CRM or Google Merchant Center — a digital platform that lets you manage how your products appear on Google — data helps us understand the different trends and demands in each market.
We used to go to trade fairs — now it's customer data that tells us what products are in demand.
When we know what our customers are looking for, we can buy it. From here, we can become more targeted in our marketing efforts, showing people only what's right and relevant for them. Ultimately, data has informed the way we approach our marketing.
Personalisation in all forms is now a standard consumers expect from brands and retailers. Consumers look for you to cater to their needs and anticipate what they might want next. As a retailer, you need to know that your customers in Stockholm want red lipstick, while Oslo-based customers prefer pink. Or why face masks are trending in Helsinki and facial oils are the order of the day in Malmö.
Data transformed the beauty industry; previously, companies would go to fairs, browse products, buy them, and hope customers would like to buy them. Now, they tell us what they want through this data. We’ve made it a core part of our culture at Youty Group and that’s had a tangible effect on our business.
Setting the right operational strategy
Working with a large amount of data isn’t always easy, which is why we’re supported by two agencies. Burstit is focused on paid marketing and Firstly manages our organic search. But, crucially, they work together all the time to ensure we get a holistic view of our performance.
We also work with Google for guidance around buying search terms for certain products. Together with Burstit, we recently identified a list of products that were valuable for us on Search – that is, they brought good ROI. We switched focus from the product’s cost of sale or any other KPIs. Some search terms weren’t valuable for us in the long run. This feeds into how we measure revenue on orders versus cost of sale or any other KPIs.
This shows that data and working with agencies is not just about marketing, but the whole company. We use it in all departments — even our purchasing team has started working with Google tools — and I think that can have so much value because everybody's working with a customer in some way and therefore everybody can be data-driven. It's valuable for everybody and I think a lot of companies miss that.