The make-up buying experience is way more involved for someone like me who cares deeply about the products I use on and around my face. As a student of advertising, I often forget to study the consumer I know best: myself.

When I enter a store to buy make-up, I’ve already done my research online. Beauty bloggers and YouTube make-up artists are some of the reliable sources I’ll consult. I know which bloggers have similar skin tones or complexions to me, and whose reviews I trust the most based on past purchases. I also know to take product reviews and beauty hauls with a grain of salt, as many influential people are sent products to try. But, I’ve found bloggers who I know I can trust to give an honest review, even if they received the product for free.

Bloggers give many details in their reviews about packaging, price, availability, and ingredients. When I get to an aisle, I’ll already know what I’m looking for and where I should be able to find it. While online reviews are helpful, there is nothing like actually holding the product and taking a look at it first hand. This is when I’ll determine if the colors are true to my expectations, and if the price is right.

Once I have the product at home, I’ll test it out. This is the ultimate factor deciding my satisfaction with a product. In the end, the process of selecting and buying something is fun, but ultimately worthless if I don’t end up liking the product.

The bottom line here is this: the decision of which make-up product to buy is pretty much set before I ever step into a store. Therefore, marketing strategies for make-up products could be more successful by focusing on the customer journey leading to the point-of-purchase. The product needs to be available and easy to locate on shelves, but more importantly, the product needs to be on consumers’ minds before they leave their homes.

Want a real-world example? Ipsy founder Michelle Phan (who got her start by being a very successful beauty blogger) said her brand is investing heavily into expanding its 10,000-person network of amateur beauty vloggers because she has seen firsthand the power of online testimonials. “”[The vloggers] just have to make a few videos a month that are Ipsy related; the rest is up to them,” Phan says.” Her plan reflects the shift from in-store beauty consultants to online pre-purchase persuasion.

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