No testers, no problem: Ulta and Sephora have a new take on 'try before you buy'

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New York (CNN)Makeup sellers Ulta Beauty and Sephora have a problem on their hands.

When it comes to beauty products, consumers love to test cosmetics, creams and fragrances on themselves before they buy them.
But that's not really an option right now given the current health and safety concerns tied to the pandemic. That's bad news for cosmetics sellers who've already suffered double-digit percentage sales declines in the first quarter because of store closures and the "no makeup, work-from-home" look that consumers have embraced amid the shutdown.
They're now under pressure to somehow replicate the in-store sampling experience in a convincing way for consumers to reinvigorate sales.
There's no doubt that the coronavirus has significantly challenged the ability of brands to offer the full experience shoppers get in the store, said Greg Petro, founder and CEO of retail predictive analytics and digital product testing firm First Insight.
"The coronavirus has moved the [retail] industry away from high-touch to low-touch," said Petro. The 'new normal' for retailers will be to work with shoppers in a hands-free way to help them to find what they need while also giving them the space to feel comfortable."
Virtual try-ons, however, may not be enough to pacify shoppers in the long haul, said First Insight's Petro.
"Retailers need to make up for it with very liberal return policies as well," he said.
Read the Full Article at CNN Business

Coronavirus  COVID-19  Safety  beauty  try before you buy  return policy  virtual try-on