Beauty, skin and haircare, fragrance, toiletries and supplements have been transforming the lives of consumers for centuries, and as new trends constantly emerge the industry evolves to remain ever en vogue. Making people look and feel good is integral to success. Today, consumers not only look for quality products but also seek out brands that they identify and align with; a brand that truly understands who they are, shares their philosophies and enhances their individuality.
With increasingly rapid consumer shifts, consistently bringing to market innovative, trend-right products within faster product development cycles while keeping costs under control and taking steps towards sustainability may feel like an ever more daunting task－especially if you’re managing it all with hundreds of siloed, outdated spreadsheets and software solutions. Whether you are a brand, retailer or manufacturer new to the sector or already well-established in the industry, it could be time for a digital transformation makeover to keep pace in the marketplace.
Market defined by consumer shifts
Need for Speed: Cosmetics and Personal Care Brands Join the ‘Fast Fashion’ Race
Cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers are in a ‘fast fashion’-like race to release or update more products, to more markets, to more channels, faster－but with the added pressure of operating in a highly regulated industry. Efficiency is the key and to keep pace, cosmetics and personal care companies need to maintain high levels of business agility, accurately forecast trends and reach consumers through multiple channels while consistently, and quickly, introducing innovative, high-quality and compliant new products. But how do cosmetics and personal care businesses rise to the challenge of a supercharged marketplace when product development data is scattered throughout the company, saved in multiple business systems and personal computers and lost in outdated PowerPoints and Google Sheets with no way of knowing which is the most recent version?
Investing in digital transformation tools to innovate and evolve products is more crucial than ever before. Companies need solutions that boost visibility, internal and external team collaboration and efficiency. With the right digital software, all phases of product development are managed with digital workflows that empower teams to cut bottlenecks, re-work and downtime while streamlining communications and collaboration. Manual data entry is reduced to shrink product development timelines and get more products to market at a fast-fashion pace.
The Eco Edit: Keeping Up with the Consumer Push for Sustainability
While the demand for more products, faster continues there is a shift in consumer behavior towards purchasing more sustainably and ethically. This rise in eco–conscious consumers is driving, skin and haircare, fragrance, beauty and supplements brands and retailers to bring to market more vegan and cruelty–free products in eco-focused packaging in order to maintain brand reputation.
Taking on these shifts and other industry trends without specific cosmetics and personal care product development software is a challenge that can result in lost sales. Digital tools give cosmetics and personal care companies the ability to manage formulation changes, supplier communications and traceability, ensure adherence to compliance regulations and scope out new packaging options from materials to assembly.
Consumers Getting Active with Ingredients
Consumers are becoming more aware and knowledgeable about the ingredients that make up their skincare, hair care, beauty, fragrance and supplements. As consumers learn more about the effects of particular ingredients, products can rapidly become extremely popular or unpopular depending on their ingredient list.
Cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers need digital solutions that empower total visibility into all product formulations at any given time in order to quickly adjust formulations and source new ingredients while ensuring that compliance and regulations are met across different markets and geographies. Being able to quickly adjust to consumer tastes and react to upcoming consumer trends to boost new product innovation enables your company to create products that rise to cult status and carryover through multiple seasons.
It’s Not All Lotions, Potions and Eau de Parfums
Much like buying a reusable coffee cup from a favorite coffee shop, or a backpack from a favorite sports brand, consumers who find an affinity with a cosmetics and personal care business will look to purchase accessories from a company they know they love. This shift has led to an increase in non-formulated hard goods accessories being brought to market as brands and retailers expand their product offering to include non-formulated product lines.
As cosmetics and personal care companies expand further into new product ranges for accessories alongside core, formulated products, it’s vital to have product information for both in a digital ‘single source of the truth’ software solution for product development. Cosmetics and personal care companies should choose the right digital transformation solutions to optimize growing, complex product portfolios, including both formulated products and hard goods accessories, and rise to the challenges of market shifts.
Focus on operational challenges
Find your Shade Match: What does Digital Transformation look like for your business?
‘Digital transformation’ has become a buzzword, but what does it actually mean for you? For one company, digital transformation might mean using technology to get original and high-quality products to more markets, faster. For another, it’s getting closer to consumers to predict trends and demand. Or, it could be about finding the right tools to supercharge product innovation and manage sprawling product portfolios.
Any digital transformation initiative depends on your business goals, and at its heart, is about your specific operational challenges. Every business in the cosmetics and personal care industry, from small start-up manufacturers to multicategory retail empires, needs to carefully choose digital solutions that enable teams to handle everyday operations in a more strategic, proactive and efficient way. As digital transformation can only be achieved with the enthusiastic cooperation of the people who use these tools every day, high user adoption rates and user-friendliness are elements of digital transformation that businesses cannot afford to overlook.
Businesses need comprehensive cosmetics and personal care product development and portfolio management platforms that streamline workflows, handle supplier communications and make it easier to effectively manage all products and variants across multiple product categories, including formulated products and non-formulated products, as well as create, repurpose and alter base products with a single, unified platform.
Putting products at the heart of digital transformation
PLM: The Solution
What if one platform could handle everything product-related? For many cosmetics and personal care companies, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions are the answer. A PLM solution provides a real-time ‘single source of the truth’ hub for product data that puts the product at the heart of the digital ecosystem.
From formulation details to region-specific packaging to retail sales data, all product information is accessible in PLM and is updated in real time by internal and external teams.
Modern and mobile PLM solutions can be easily integrated with other platforms such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Information Management (PIM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), e-commerce, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Product Portfolio Management (PPM), Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), Labelling & Artwork (LAM) and more, and can be used by teams in the office, on the move or working from home. This enhanced visibility, consistency and collaboration speeds time to market, increases product introduction success rates, improves quality and compliance, enhances visibility and traceability and makes it easier to manage costs.
Digital transformation encompasses a vast choice of possible solutions but the promise of PLM is simple: it replaces many different and disconnected systems with a hub to centralize and streamline product data and workflows so that everything flows to and from the product. With Cosmetics and Personal Care PLM as a digital foundation, beauty, skincare, haircare, fragrance and supplements businesses can confidently handle operational challenges and put business goals front and center in digital transformation initiatives.