The state of email and SMS for the health and beauty industry: benchmarks, examples, and trends

Profile photo of author Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh Moore
36min read
Owned marketing
July 21, 2022
girl in a towel looking in a mirror

Global health & beauty sales fell from $538B in 2019 to $458B in 2020—a 15% decrease.

In an attempt to cash in on the continuous growth of digital commerce, health and beauty ecommerce brands scrambled to test new channels, models, and approaches.

While it may seem that navigating the health and beauty space is harder than ever before, this industry’s ecommerce growth doesn’t need to be a mystery.

It’s not about quick hacks, magic formulas, or a race to the lowest prices. Instead, brands should focus on growing strong customer relationships and engaging customers throughout the entire ecommerce funnel.

To help you make sense of the dizzying array of changes that are afoot and how to respond in a way that sets your business up for success, we mapped out trends, benchmarks, and examples from leading health beauty brands.

The current state of health and beauty ecommerce

After suffering serious setbacks during the pandemic, the beauty sector experienced a glow-up in 2021, clocking a 13% increase in sales to $518B. McKinsey predicts that in 2022, sales will top 2019 levels.

If we zoom in on specific categories, skin care performed best, with 22% growth in 2021. According to McKinsey, skin care will account for 34% of the global beauty market by 2024.

mckinsey data about global beauty sales
Image source: McKinsey

In terms of channels, ecommerce has been the moving force behind the growth of the beauty industry. While brick-and-mortar retail has a bigger share, ecommerce is the fastest-growing channel for beauty sales. According to McKinsey’s estimations, online sales will account for 23% of the beauty market by 2022 and will become the most important channel by 2024.

data from mckinsey on ecommerce growth
Image source: McKinsey

And it’s not just sales that are increasing—the number of consumers ordering health and beauty products online is also on the rise. Data from NielsenIQ Omnishopping Fundamentals shows that 65% of consumers have bought beauty products online, compared to only 51% pre-pandemic.

But while the health and beauty industry slowly recovers from the pandemic, a new challenge arises: inflation. The ongoing supply chain crisis, combined with rising freight and transportation costs, continues to push prices up.

While the health and beauty industry slowly recovers from the pandemic, a new challenge arises: inflation.

As per NielsenIQ Omnishopper Panel data, beauty prices per unit rose 17% over 2021, both in-store and online. The most affected categories throughout the industry were:

  • Facial skin care (+31%) and cosmetics/nail (+19%)
  • Fragrance (+11%) and hair care (+15%)
  • Hair removal (+3%), sun care (+5%), and bath/shower (+9%)

The price hikes and the possible looming recession are fueling consumer concerns, forcing them to cut on everyday essentials. But after being stuck at home during the pandemic, consumers are prioritizing feel-good experiences such as traveling and sticking to self-care routines.

According to Alvarez & Marsal’s Consumer Retail Group, 9 in 10 consumers are expected to spend the same or more on skin care in 2022, compared to 6 in 10 in 2020.

But there’s a catch: Consumers are on the hunt for discounts. The same survey shows that 44% of consumers tried a new beauty brand because of promotions and discounts in 2021, compared to 25% in 2020. And yet, 7 in 10 shoppers said they spent more on beauty products in 2022.

Beauty is a resilient category amid inflationary pressures.

The bottom line is that beauty is a resilient category amid inflationary pressures. To succeed, health and beauty brands should focus on staying top of mind, engaging consumers, and creating a delightful customer experience.

What the future of health and beauty ecommerce holds

The pandemic-induced headwinds wrought significant changes in the health and beauty industry. Now, beauty businesses have to reflect on lessons learned and align with the ever-changing playing field, focusing on strategies that will help them create value for their customers.

Let’s look at some of the hottest topics in the industry and what they mean for health and beauty companies.

Focusing on core competencies

In the wake of a digital transformation, health and beauty businesses realized the importance of technology in reinventing the customer experience. But they also faced a dilemma: build it in-house, or partner with an experienced vendor?

Businesses that develop solutions in-house have to split their focus between product and technology—and that’s where things get tricky. Technology should help create an engaging shopping experience, not become the main focus. It should be a means to an end, not the end itself.

Businesses that develop solutions in-house have to split their focus between product and technology—and that’s where things get tricky.

Considering nearly 90% of consumers tried a new makeup brand in 2021 and were 2.6x more likely to try new brands because of product innovation, as reported by Retail Brew, It seems that health and beauty brands win when they focus more on their core competencies—and partner with the tech vendors that have expertise in transforming the ecommerce experience.

Instead of building the tech themselves, brands should focus on building the tech stack that will futureproof their business and deliver the omnichannel experiences their customers crave.

Leveraging auto-replenishment and beauty subscription models

Beauty is one of the industries best suited for subscriptions. According to Insider Intelligence, the beauty and personal care category has the highest share of subscribers worldwide (27.6%). Together with the food and beverage category, it makes up more than half (54.3%) of worldwide subscriptions. Health and wellness, meanwhile, has a 16.3% share of subscribers.

pie chart of share of subscribers for different products
Image source: Insider Intelligence

Consumers love beauty boxes that give them access to their favorite products in a convenient way, and brands love beauty boxes because they create a loyal client base and predictable recurring revenue.

The subscription model is a great way for businesses to stop chasing one-time buyers.

Whether they opt for auto-replenishment of products or beauty boxes customers can customize, the subscription model is a great way for businesses to stop chasing one-time buyers, build authentic, long-term relationships, and increase customer lifetime value.

Mented Cosmetics, a cruelty-free and vegan makeup brand, sweetens the deal by offering incentives for auto-replenishment: customers receive a 10% discount if they subscribe to receive their must-have products on repeat.

mascara, lipstick, and gloss
Image source: Milled

Mented Cosmetics also offers beauty boxes, allowing customers to curate which products are featured in their box. Every other month, customers receive the updated product catalog via email and are instructed to select 3 products for their box.

subscription box with beauty products
Image source: Milled

As the competition in the beauty subscription space becomes more fierce, brands that want to remain relevant over time will have to focus on personalization, community, and product innovations.

Leaning into the power of social commerce

In China, live commerce has transformed the retail industry and established itself as one of the major sales channels in less than 5 years. According to McKinsey, social commerce—the showcasing and sale of products or services directly through social media—accounts for more than 13% of total ecommerce sales in China.

Social commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to double between 2020 and 2023, reaching $53B.

The rest of the world is slowly catching up. Social commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to double between 2020 and 2023, reaching $53B. While in the past, social media was one of the most popular channels for discovery, things are slowly shifting to include conversion as well.

The health and beauty industry occupies a sweet spot for social commerce, as the majority of Gen Z and millennials prefer to discover beauty items on social media sites such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, according to Klarna. More broadly, McKinsey reports that beauty is the second most frequently showcased category in live commerce, with a 7.6% share.

different icons representing data
Image source: McKinsey

One beauty brand that relies heavily on social media is Doe Lashes. The DTC beauty brand has built a massive following across social media channels— and recently dipped their toes into social commerce, announcing it to subscribers through email.

eye lash products on a magenta background in an email
Image source: Milled

Doe Lashes already has an engaged list of email subscribers thanks to a product recommendation quiz that brought the brand 3x more email sign-ups than a traditional email pop-up form.

Beauty brands should follow in Doe’s footsteps by making sure they have tools and strategies in place for converting social users into social shoppers.

Embracing clean beauty and sustainability

With the rise of environmental awareness comes a new wave in the health and beauty industry: clean beauty. As consumers start paying more attention to beauty product ingredients, the use of safe, natural, and cruelty-free formulas continues to flourish.

The clean beauty market is estimated to reach $22B by 2024, according to Statista. The skin care segment holds the highest share of the market (32%), followed by hair care (25.6%) and makeup (21.5%).

pie chart of distribution of beauty products
Image source: Statista

Sustainability is also high on the priority list for retailers. NCS Solutions found that 2 in 5 (41%) consumers place a priority on sustainable beauty products, and almost a quarter (21%) are seeking vegan product choices.

Sustainability is a core value for Dossier, a fragrances brand that makes clean, ethically sourced, long-lasting, high-end perfumes accessible to everyone. On top of making all of their fragrances vegan, cruelty-free, and non-toxic, Dossier uses bottles made from 100% recyclable glass, and the packaging consists of 100% recycled and recyclable corrugated box.

flowers over bottles of perfume
Image source: Milled

For the next chapter of beauty ecommerce, brands will need to focus on natural, clean ingredients and sustainable business practices more and more.

Moving away from marketplaces

Amazon has tried to function as a brand incubator and introduce exclusive beauty brands. In 2019, Lady Gaga teamed up with the ecommerce giant to introduce the cosmetic brand Haus Laboratories, available exclusively on Amazon. But things didn’t go as planned.

Amazon never managed to establish itself as a beauty destination. As a result, Haus Labs is relaunching as a “clean” brand in Sephora.

While Amazon is good at selling generic products, when it comes to exclusive brands with higher prices, it’s facing some hurdles.

While Amazon is good at selling generic products, when it comes to exclusive brands with higher prices, it’s facing some hurdles. According to Nielsen, 81% of searches on Amazon are unbranded. In other words, Amazon consumers are prioritizing attributes, benefits, and price rather than brand name.

According to Beauty Independent’s survey, that’s the main reason beauty brands avoid Amazon: selling their products through the marketplace could erode brand equity. (Other reasons include relationship risk to existing or potential retail partnerships, cost, time, and resources required, and negative experience from other brands.)

graph of beauty brands not on amazon
Image source: Beauty Independent

Moving forward, health and beauty brands should continue to double down on building a strong DTC channel by establishing close connections with their customers.

Delivering a seamless omnichannel experience

After the pandemic, the digital transformation and sharp focus on transforming the ecommerce experience opened up a significant online-offline gap. And while ecommerce will continue to grow, stores will also remain an important pillar for the beauty industry. Their role will just change.

The store experience should complement and match the digital experience.

Health and beauty brands have realized that the store experience should complement and match the digital experience. As a result, they are introducing experiential retail initiatives to inch closer to the online experience they offer.

Bobbi Brown’s beauty brand, Jones Road, opened up a flagship store in Montclair, New Jersey, where visitors will be able to not only buy products but also attend events, workshops, and more. According to the brand, the space will double as a beauty think tank and incubator for new products and ideas.

Big names acquiring early-stage companies

Mergers and acquisitions are a way for brands to fill in the gaps in their product portfolios and cater to younger and more sustainability-minded consumers. And they’re currently heating up in the beauty industry, with giants such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, and Procter & Gamble eyeing and acquiring earlier-stage companies, according to Sentient Brands Holdings Inc.

Mergers and acquisitions are a way for brands to fill in the gaps in their product portfolios and cater to younger and more sustainability-minded consumers.

In February 2022, Estée Lauder made a minority investment in Haeckels, a UK-based beauty brand. In April 2021, the beauty conglomerate led a $3M seed-funding round for Faculty, a men’s grooming brand. These are just a few of the recent examples of Estée Lauder’s mergers and acquisitions strategy, which focuses on making multiple minority investments before going on to fully acquire the brands.

Procter & Gamble, meanwhile, signed a deal to acquire Tula, a probiotic-focused skin care brand. Previously, the company made two other beauty acquisitions: Jen Atkin’s Ouai and Farmacy.

The competition in the health and beauty space makes customer engagement a top priority. To help you stay on top of the latest email and SMS marketing trends, we analyzed the strategies of some of the leading health and beauty brands.

Personalized email experiences through Customer-First DataTM

The introduction of data privacy changes from Google and Apple underlined the consequences of relying too heavily on third-party data. To prepare for the upcoming “cookie apocalypse,” health and beauty marketers will have to focus on gathering Customer-First Data.

To prepare for the upcoming “cookie apocalypse,” health and beauty marketers will have to focus on gathering Customer-First Data.

Customer-First Data—the combination of zero- and first-party data—is information the customer hands over voluntarily. Unlike third-party data (information you collect indirectly from a variety of sources), Customer-First Data is information you source directly from potential and existing customers.

The first-party data piece of Customer-First Data is an essential component of audience segmentation, which is usually based on directly observable behavior like purchasing trends, website activity, email and SMS engagement, and customer service interactions.

First-party data can usually provide answers to the following questions—and many more:

  • Who has or hasn’t made a purchase?
  • How long do they wait before ordering again?
  • How much money are they spending, and when, and why?
  • Who has a habit of buying only during gift-giving holidays?
  • What makes someone unsubscribe?
  • Are people more likely to open transactional emails, but more likely to click on promotional or educational ones?
  • What makes someone bounce, and what makes them buy?

Your online store, ecommerce customer data platform, and any integrations you use on the back-end (like your 3PL, loyalty program tools, customer review tools, etc.) are a good place to start looking for these kinds of valuable first-party data points.

Klaviyo’s ecommerce platform integrations: Give your marketing team the power to grow your brand’s owned audience, build unparalleled customer experiences, and put customer data (collected with consent!) at the center of your company’s strategic efforts with a unified customer platform like Klaviyo. Klaviyo integrates seamlessly with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Prestashop, Wix, and more through one-click integrations. Custom-built ecommerce solutions can also integrate with Klaviyo via our APIs.

Health and beauty brands can also improve personalization efforts by collecting zero-party data from customers about characteristics and preferences like their birthday, skin or hair type, typical beauty routine, and even what problems they’re having with their current products.

Overall, email marketing is a great way to collect Customer-First Data and personalize the customer experience. Beyond observing your customers’ and prospects’ behavior on your website and owned channels, there are two primary ways to approach gathering data for email personalization:

1) Ask customers about their preferences

You can’t get what you don’t ask for. The easiest way to collect data is to ask customers to share their preferences. Key to this approach: clearly explaining what subscribers will get in exchange for sharing their information. You can even consider giving them a small incentive.

Clearly explain what subscribers will get in exchange for sharing their information.

According to Accenture, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data with brands if it leads to more personalized experiences. The high-quality and convenient, clean nutrition brand Orgain asks subscribers to share their dietary preferences to receive more relevant email updates.

orgain survey data
orgain health preferences in an email
Image source: Orgain email

In addition to their dietary preferences and their health journey, subscribers can also choose whether they want to receive special offers, news related to Orgain’s ShakeUp! VIP rewards program, new product announcements, and inspiration and recipes.

2) Use quizzes

Another way to collect Customer-First Data is to use ecommerce quizzes. Consumers love to engage with this type of interactive content, because it means the brand will know them better. According to Accenture, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data with brands if it leads to more personalized experiences.

83% of consumers are willing to share their data with brands if it leads to more personalized experiences.

CurlMix, a clean beauty brand for curly hair, uses a product recommendation quiz to help customers understand their hair type and find the perfect mix for their curls.

girl with curly hair in curlmix email
Image source: CurlMix email

Besides collecting Customer-First Data to build better experiences for your customers, interactive quizzes can also help boost email subscriptions if you ask your customers to provide their email address in order to receive their quiz results.

Exclusive offers and early access

Exclusivity stirs up desirability. If you want to spark consumers’ interest, create exclusive offers and give them early access. The chance to get something before everyone else makes consumers feel special and strengthens the customer relationship.

Exclusivity stirs up desirability.

Babe Original is a luxury eye cosmetic brand with a unique formula that promotes the appearance of longer, fuller lashes and brows. The brand uses SMS marketing to announce the launch of a new product and give subscribers early access and a freebie with every purchase.

a girls eyes and eye brows
Image source: Klaviyo’s showcase

SMS marketing is a great way to promote limited-time, exclusive offers because consumers tend to check their phones more frequently than their email inboxes.

Using user-generated content to build trust

User-generated content (UGC) has become one of the most compelling forms of content for ecommerce businesses. The reason? Consumers love authenticity. According to PRWeek, 86% of consumers seek out UGC before deciding to buy a product they’ve not personally tried before.

86% of consumers seek out UGC before deciding to buy a product they’ve not personally tried before.

Health and beauty brands like Moroccanoil use UGC across social media, email, SMS, product pages, check-out pages, and many other channels.

Moroccanoil, for example, shares reviews of its luxury hair care and body care products to instill a sense of trust in customers.

girl putting hand lotion on in the top of an email
Image source: Milled

Consumers are looking for relatable content. Repackage your UGC and get more mileage out of it by promoting it through email and SMS.

Customer education at the core

Beauty marketing requires dedicated customer education because each beauty product has a specific use. To be sure the customer understands the benefits of their products, beauty brands have to get smart about sharing educational content.

Beauty brands have to get smart about sharing educational content.

Shaz and Kiks, a hair wellness company that sells clean, natural, Indian-inspired products, uses SMS marketing to educate clients about the differences between excessive hair shedding and hair loss—and help them choose products for healthy hair care.

girl holding her hair in a ponytail in an mms message
Image source: Klaviyo’s showcase

Switching between email and SMS for your educational sequences will help you keep customers engaged, preemptively answer their questions, and alleviate any concerns that might be preventing them from making a purchase.

Building communities

The competition in the health and beauty space means it’s harder to stand out from the crowd. And as economic uncertainty challenges consumer loyalties, brands have to focus on building a strong community and engaging customers.

The competition in the health and beauty space means it’s harder to stand out from the crowd.

Love Wellness is a women’s wellness and personal care brand that believes wellness should be accessible, affordable, and educational. The brand has a community called The Love Club that gives members access to exclusive content and answers their most pressing wellness questions.

red email from love wellness
Image source: Love Wellness email

Instead of going down the rabbit hole of endless discounts, beauty brands should focus on increasing customer lifetime value inviting them to belong to a strong brand community.

Email marketing benchmarks for health and beauty

After our telescope view of what the future holds for health and beauty brands, it’s time to peer into the microscope and understand email and SMS performance on an industry level. To help you check how you stack up against other brands in the health and beauty industry, we’ve compiled ecommerce email benchmarks.

The average email open rate for health and beauty brands was 28.68%, with a 0.98% click rate and 0.11% conversion rate.

In Q122, the average email open rate for health and beauty brands was 28.68%, with a 0.98% click rate and 0.11% conversion rate. Open rates for automated email flows, by comparison, averaged 46.52%. Post-purchase email flows clocked the highest average open rate at 54.14%. Welcome email flows had an average click rate of 5.29%, with a 1.98% conversion rate and $1.40 revenue per recipient.

email benchmarks graphics
Image source: Klaviyo

And health and beauty brands that don’t have an abandonment cart email flow could be missing a huge opportunity to convert customers: Abandoned cart email flows had not only the highest click rate at 6.45% but also the highest conversion rate at 3.51%, with $2.55 revenue per recipient.

SMS marketing benchmarks for health and beauty

Ecommerce businesses are finally starting to capitalize on the power of SMS marketing. Data from Statista shows that in 2021, SMS was 75% more popular among customers contacting businesses than it was in 2020.

In 2021, SMS was 75% more popular among customers contacting businesses than it was in 2020.

But just having SMS marketing is not enough. The real question is: are you keeping pace with your competitors? To help you find out where you stand compared to the industry average, Klaviyo compiled ecommerce SMS benchmarks for health and beauty brands.

In Q122, form conversion rate in the health and beauty category averaged 3.28%. The click and conversion rate averaged 6.94% and 0.13%, respectively. Revenue per recipient in the health and beauty industry averaged $0.09, and the unsubscribe rate averaged 1.50%. Remember that open rate is a vanity metric for SMS, as customers have to open the message to get rid of the notification.

sms health and beauty graphs
Image source: Klaviyo

If you’re trying to fuel positive and memorable customer experiences, these email and SMS benchmarks can help you compare your performance and identify where there’s room for improvement.

The health and beauty ecommerce funnel

With a clear picture of what’s happening in the health and beauty industry, what’s to come, and the latest email and SMS trends and benchmarks, it’s time to put all these pieces together and get a high-level overview of a successful health and beauty ecommerce funnel.

Build an audience using forms

If you want to rely on owned channels instead of depending on obscure social media algorithms, the first thing you should do is build your audience. Without a solid email and SMS subscriber list, all your beauty marketing efforts will be in vain. One easy way to build your audience? Sign-up forms.

Your No. 1 goal for first-time website visitors should be getting their email address and phone number.

Your No. 1 goal for first-time website visitors should be getting their email address and phone number. Once you do, it’s much easier to turn visitors into customers. Adding forms to your website is a fast way to connect with your site visitors, grow your email and SMS lists, and build long-lasting customer relationships.

Dermalogica, a professional-grade skin care brand founded by a skin therapist, uses sign-up forms to collect visitors’ email addresses and phone numbers.

mini dermologica products
Image source: Dermalogica

To encourage visitors to subscribe, Dermalogica offers a complimentary mini Skin Smoothing Cream and exclusive offers available only to email subscribers.

dermalogica free gift value
Image source: Dermalogica

Customers tend to be less willing to share their phone numbers, which makes getting consent for SMS marketing slightly more difficult. In anticipation of this challenge, Dermatologica offers up to $60 in free gifts for SMS subscribers specifically.

Besides asking for an email address or phone number, health and beauty brands can use the sign-up form to gather additional information (such as birth date or product preferences) to create a more personalized customer experience.

Welcome new subscribers and share your story

Once subscribers sign up for your email or SMS list, it’s time to welcome them. The welcome flow is your elevator pitch—an opportunity to introduce your brand and stand out from the competition.

The welcome flow is your elevator pitch.

Using a welcome series, you can thank subscribers, build trust, gather customers’ preferences, and give customers an incentive to make their first purchase. The million-dollar question is how many emails to include in your welcome flow. A good rule of thumb is to send 3-4 emails over the course of a week.

Every brand is different, so the best way to see what works for your audience is to test and optimize.

newsletter subscription flow in klaviyo
Image source: Klaviyo

The popular skin care brand Drunk Elephant uses their first welcome email to share the company’s philosophy and give subscribers a 15% discount to encourage them to make their first purchase.

multicolored packing for beauty products
Image source: Drunk Elephant email

One underrated way to stand out in a crowded inbox: weave storytelling into your welcome email flow. Storytelling can be an effective beauty marketing approach, positioning your brand as top of mind in the category.

Move audiences to purchase with browse abandonment and abandoned cart flows

Today’s customers are used to browsing through a product feed and adding products to their cart without finishing the check-out process. It’s the digital counterpart of window shopping. But if you’re not trying to convert those visitors, you’re leaving money on the table: Data from Baymard shows that almost 70% of shopping carts are abandoned on average.

Almost 70% of shopping carts are abandoned on average.

This is where browse abandonment and abandoned cart flows come in handy. Brands can use email automation to target visitors with the right message and encourage them to finish the check-out process.

The browse abandonment flow is intended for customers who visit a product page without adding an item to the shopping cart. Since this is a lighter touchpoint, email marketing is a more suitable channel than SMS for reminding customers about the products they browsed.

An abandoned cart flow, meanwhile, is a great way to reach out to customers who added an item to their shopping cart but failed to complete their purchase. Some of the leading health and beauty brands use email and SMS marketing to re-engage customers and encourage them to follow through on their purchase.

London-based hair care brand Only Curls uses an abandoned cart email to recover lost sales. The brand incorporates an abandoned cart reminder with a personal touch from the founder—an excellent formula for a winning email.

only curls product email
Image source: Only Curls email

According to Klaviyo data, browse abandonment and abandoned cart flows have the highest click rate (5.49% and 6.45%, respectively) in the health and beauty category. Translation: These automations are a great way to entice customers to complete their purchases.

Follow up with post-purchase information

For smart ecommerce beauty brands, the purchase is just the beginning. Everything that comes after the first purchase is critical for setting the foundation of a long-lasting customer relationship.

Post-purchase flows are intended to nurture customers, provide details about a recent order, and educate.

Transactional emails such as order, shipping, and delivery confirmation emails contain important details—order number, payment method, shipping timelines, and contact information for customer support.

repeat order flow in klaviyo
Image source: Klaviyo

Multivitamins and nutritional supplements brand Ritual uses the post-purchase email to inform the customer about not only their expected delivery date, but also a referral incentive to encourage them to spread the word.

ritual email with a yellow sun chair
Image source: Ritual email

Post-purchase emails don’t have to be purely transactional. They can also act as an opportunity to cross- or up-sell, share product how-tos, and ask customers to send you UGC—the possibilities are endless. It’s up to beauty marketing professionals to test and see what works best.

Retain customers and grow lifetime value

A product that is good for everyone is good for no one. Health and beauty brands know this very well. Every customer is different. Your job is to find the best match and continuously create personalized offers based on the data you collect.

A product that is good for everyone is good for no one. Every customer is different.

The goal of personalization is to turn every hard-earned first-time buyer into a loyal customer. Thanks to Customer-First Data, beauty marketing can take on a new meaning. You can now use email and SMS to connect with customers on a deeper level.

For Gainful, retention comes down to personalization. The performance nutrition brand asks website visitors to take a quiz. Based on their responses, subscribers receive personalized supplement recommendations formulated to help them reach their goals.

different supplements in an email
Image source: Gainful email

Gainful gives customers detailed product recommendations that explain exactly why they need those products. With that, the perfect combination of supplements is just a click away.

Another way to retain customers and grow their lifetime value is to use email and SMS automation for campaigns, win-back email series, back-in-stock flows, and customer loyalty programs.

Doe Lashes, for example, uses a loyalty program called Smile Rewards to offer more attractive perks with every next purchase—motivating customers to keep coming back for more. New customers are invited to join Smile Rewards by email, and then the Doe team creates dedicated flows to engage them on an ongoing basis.

bright colored email from doe lashes
Image source: Milled

Doe’s team noticed that when rewards members interact with Doe’s emails, they tend to buy more and come back more frequently. The initial Smile Rewards flow brings in 1.2x as much revenue as the brand’s already successful welcome series.

9 health and beauty email and SMS examples

Health and beauty marketing is all about creativity. If you need inspiration for your next email or SMS campaign, take a look at the following ideas from 9 innovative brands:

1) Murad

Clinical skin care products brand Murad is setting a new standard for high-performance skin care. To welcome new email subscribers, the brand’s welcome email flow explains the science behind the products and encourages new subscribers to make their first purchase with a 20% discount.

murad email showing 20% discount
Image source: Murad email

If subscribers don’t use the discount code, they get an email reminder the next day. This welcome email flow is designed to set expectations and bring customers closer to making their first purchase.

2) Tatcha

Tatcha is a well-known name in the skin care community. To promote its clean skin care products inspired by the ancient beauty rituals of Japan, Tatcha combines the power of email and SMS marketing.

Since most subscribers are more willing to share their email address than their phone number, the brand relies on its email list to promote SMS marketing and share all the perks and benefits of joining the SMS list.

tatcha email with a mobile device has the main picture
Image source: Milled

To build your SMS list, you must convince subscribers to give you their phone numbers. Tatcha bets on special offers, exclusive giveaways, and early access to new formulas. If you decide to add SMS to your beauty marketing strategy, make sure to know the answer to the question: Why should subscribers sign up for your texts?

3) Athletic Greens

The easiest way to understand consumers is to ask them what they think. This is exactly what Athletic Greens did with this survey, asking subscribers to share their view on vitamins. In exchange, subscribers got the chance to win 6 months of free natural health supplements.

athletic greens email
Image source: Milled

The formula for getting more survey responses is simple: the more appealing incentive, the more subscribers will be motivated to participate.

4) ILIA Beauty

Health and beauty brands are always on the run to create more content. But there’s only so much content a brand can produce. The good news is you can use social media content across your email and SMS marketing campaigns.

The clean makeup brand ILIA Beauty promotes the latest Instagram and TikTok trends using UGC.

real people trying ilia beauty products
Image source: Milled

Relying on UGC can ease your content creation process, and it will also add authenticity to your brand. Showing other satisfied customers using your product is a great way to build trust and encourage a purchase.

5) Viome

The more complex your product, the greater the need for customer education. Personalized nutrition company Viome focuses on education to help customers understand the benefits and the best way to use the products.

If the brand only talked about metatranscriptomic technology, not many people would understand what it means. That’s why Viome uses email and SMS marketing to communicate the essence and core value of the business, with the ultimate goal of boosting revenue.

viome email example
Image source: Milled

Beauty ecommerce is a complex industry because of the nature of the products. Customer education is crucial for creating a delightful customer experience—and driving sales.

6) Omax Health

If you want to get customers to act fast, give them a limited-time offer they can’t resist. Premium nutritional supplements brand Omax Health uses SMS marketing campaigns for weekend sales, offering discounts up to 50%.

sms message with beauty oil picture
Image source: Klaviyo’s showcase

If you want to promote a limited-time offer with a significant discount, SMS marketing is your best bet—especially if you’re planning a weekend action when people are more likely to skip checking their email inbox.

7) Avene USA

What makes this email example interesting is Avene’s approach to launching a promotional campaign with a 25% discount. The renowned skin care brand uses a five-email sequence testing different elements. From promoting new products to testing new visuals and using product reviews, Avene makes small tweaks to get customers interested in the promotional offer.

face wash products from avene in front of a pink background
Image source: Milled

If you’re working on your next health or beauty marketing campaign, don’t forget to set a promotional email sequence with more emails and test what works and what doesn’t.

8) Kinder Beauty

The beauty box business model relies on two main pillars: curiosity and excitement. Vegan and clean beauty box Kinder Beauty uses SMS marketing to promote its monthly beauty box contents.

kinder products in an SMS message
Image source: Klaviyo’s showcase

SMS marketing can be a powerful element of your beauty marketing strategy for sending time-sensitive messages and enhancing the overall customer experience across channels.

9) Overtone

Don’t let one-time buyers slip through the cracks. Using a win-back email can help you re-engage customers. Overtone, a company that develops temporary hair colors, gives customers a limited discount for their next purchase in an effort to win them back.

real faces of customers from overtone
Image source: Milled

Using email and SMS marketing to re-engage previous customers is another underutilized use case in the healthy and beauty industry. Reminding customers of their previous positive experience with your brand—and giving them a little incentive to seek out another one—can be a simple way to turn them into loyal customers.

Building strong customer relationships

In the wake of the digital transformation catalyzed by the pandemic, the health and beauty industry has changed—and continues changing. The future will belong to those that are willing to reshape their capabilities and grow their business resilience.

The future will belong to those that are willing to reshape their capabilities and grow their business resilience.

Leading brands in the space are committed to listening to customers and engaging with them in a variety of authentic ways across different channels. The end goal: understand customers’ needs, and create the best possible shopping experience out there.

Build integrated email and SMS programs today.
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Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer and consultant for ecommerce platforms and the software that integrates with them.