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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Customer Retention Strategy for SMB in the Cosmetics Industry


There are countless scenarios that require Performance Measurement. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Performance Measurement to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: The organization is a small to medium-sized business in the cosmetics industry, facing significant challenges in customer retention and Performance Measurement.

It is experiencing a 20% decline in repeat customers due to increased competition and changing consumer preferences. Internally, the company struggles with outdated customer engagement strategies and lacks a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior. The primary strategic objective of the organization is to improve customer retention rates by enhancing engagement strategies and leveraging data analytics for better Performance Measurement.



The organization under discussion is witnessing stagnation in its growth trajectory, primarily due to outdated customer engagement strategies which fail to resonate with modern consumer behaviors. A deeper dive suggests that the root cause could be the organization's reluctance to adopt advanced data analytics and technology in understanding and predicting customer preferences. Additionally, an internal culture resistant to change stifles innovation and adaptability, further impeding its ability to compete in a rapidly evolving cosmetics market.

Market Analysis

The cosmetics industry is characterized by rapid innovation, shifting consumer preferences, and high competition. Consumers are increasingly looking for personalized, ethical, and sustainable beauty solutions, challenging companies to adapt swiftly to these evolving demands.

Analyzing the competitive landscape reveals several key forces at play:

  • Internal Rivalry: High, fueled by both established brands and emerging indie companies vying for market share.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate, with companies often having multiple suppliers for raw materials but facing challenges in sourcing ethically and sustainably.
  • Buyer Power: High, due to the abundance of choices and ease of switching between brands.
  • Threat of New Entrants: Moderate, as barriers to entry are lower due to online retail platforms, but brand loyalty and reputation play a significant role.
  • Threat of Substitutes: High, with consumers open to trying new, innovative products that offer similar benefits.

Emerging trends include a shift towards sustainability, ethical sourcing, and personalization. Major changes in industry dynamics present both opportunities and risks:

  • Increased demand for sustainable and ethical products opens new market segments but requires stringent supply chain adjustments.
  • The rise of digital commerce and social media marketing offers vast opportunities for customer engagement but demands significant investment in digital capabilities.
  • Customization and personalization of beauty products are becoming a differentiator, necessitating advancements in technology and data analytics.

Learn more about Supply Chain Social Media Marketing Data Analytics Market Analysis

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Customer Development Model (CDM) (28-slide PowerPoint deck)
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Internal Assessment

The organization has a strong brand identity and loyal customer base in niche markets but lacks in leveraging technology for customer engagement and analytics.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths include a well-established brand and a loyal niche market. Opportunities lie in expanding the customer base through enhanced digital engagement and leveraging data analytics for personalized offerings. Weaknesses are evident in the organization's slow adoption of technology and resistance to change, hindering its ability to innovate. The main threats are increasing competition and rapidly changing consumer preferences.

VRIO Analysis

The brand's reputation and niche customer base are valuable and rare but not fully exploited due to operational inefficiencies and a lack of innovation. There's an opportunity to organize these resources more effectively to sustain a competitive advantage.

Capability Analysis

Success in the cosmetics industry requires innovation, customer engagement, sustainability, and agility. The organization has strengths in brand reputation but needs to build capabilities in digital engagement and analytics to meet changing consumer demands and maintain competitiveness.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage

Strategic Initiatives

Based on an in-depth industry analysis and internal assessment, the following strategic initiatives have been defined over the next 18 months :

  • Digital Transformation in Customer Engagement: This initiative aims to overhaul the company's digital presence and engagement strategies to meet modern consumer expectations. The value creation lies in deepening customer relationships and improving retention rates through personalized experiences. Required resources include investments in digital marketing platforms and analytics tools.
  • Adoption of Sustainability Practices: Focusing on sustainable and ethical sourcing to align with consumer values, aiming to open new market segments and strengthen brand loyalty. Value comes from differentiating the brand in a crowded market. This requires resources for supply chain adjustments and certifications.
  • Data-Driven Personalization: Implementing advanced data analytics to offer personalized products and services, aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and retention. The source of value is in leveraging customer data to create unique offerings, requiring technology investment and data science expertise.

Learn more about Customer Satisfaction Industry Analysis Value Creation

Performance Measurement Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.
     – Lord Kelvin

  • Customer Retention Rate: A critical metric to gauge the effectiveness of engagement and personalization initiatives.
  • Sustainability Index Score: Measures the progress in adopting sustainable practices across operations.
  • Digital Engagement Metrics: Tracks the performance of digital marketing efforts, including social media engagement, website traffic, and conversion rates.

These KPIs provide insights into the effectiveness of strategic initiatives, highlighting areas of success and where adjustments may be needed. They enable the organization to remain agile and responsive to market and operational dynamics.

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Performance Measurement Deliverables

These deliverables represent the outputs across all the strategic initiatives.
  • Customer Engagement Strategy Report (PPT)
  • Sustainability Implementation Plan (PPT)
  • Data Analytics Framework (PPT)
  • Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard (Excel)

Explore more Performance Measurement deliverables

Digital Transformation in Customer Engagement

The organization adopted the Customer Journey Mapping framework to enhance its understanding of customer interactions across all digital touchpoints. This framework was instrumental in identifying pain points and opportunities for improving the digital customer experience. It provided a holistic view of the customer's experience, from initial awareness to post-purchase support, which was crucial for the digital transformation initiative. The team meticulously followed these steps:

  • Mapped out the entire customer journey, from discovery through to purchase and post-purchase, across all digital platforms.
  • Analyzed each touchpoint for effectiveness, identifying gaps where customers were dropping off or experiencing frustration.
  • Implemented targeted improvements to the website and social media channels, based on insights gained from the mapping process.

Additionally, the Value Proposition Canvas was utilized to better align the organization's products and services with customer needs and desires. This approach helped in refining the digital content strategy to more effectively communicate the unique value of the products to the target audience.

  • Identified the top customer segments and outlined their jobs, pains, and gains in detail.
  • Adjusted the digital content and messaging to directly address the identified customer jobs, pains, and gains.

The results from implementing these frameworks were significant. The organization saw a 30% increase in customer engagement metrics, including time spent on the website and social media interaction rates. Moreover, the alignment of digital content with customer needs led to a noticeable improvement in conversion rates and overall customer satisfaction.

Learn more about Digital Transformation Customer Experience Value Proposition

Adoption of Sustainability Practices

For the initiative focusing on sustainability practices, the organization employed the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework. TBL allowed the company to evaluate its performance in three areas: social, environmental, and financial, highlighting the importance of sustainability in business success. This framework was pivotal in integrating sustainability into the core business strategy, ensuring that ethical and environmental considerations were not overlooked in pursuit of financial gains. The implementation process involved:

  • Conducting a comprehensive audit of current practices to establish a baseline in social, environmental, and financial performance.
  • Setting clear, measurable goals for improvement in each of the three areas and integrating these goals into the overall business strategy.
  • Developing new supplier criteria to ensure ethical and sustainable sourcing practices, aligned with the TBL principles.

The implementation of the TBL framework led to the development of a more sustainable business model that not only reduced the organization's environmental footprint but also strengthened its brand reputation among consumers increasingly concerned with corporate responsibility. The company reported a 20% improvement in sustainability metrics and a noticeable increase in customer loyalty attributed to its enhanced sustainability practices.

Learn more about Customer Loyalty

Data-Driven Personalization

In addressing the strategic initiative for data-driven personalization, the organization turned to the Balanced Scorecard framework. This framework facilitated the integration of strategic objectives with performance metrics, enabling the organization to measure the effectiveness of its personalization efforts across various dimensions, including customer satisfaction and financial performance. The Balanced Scorecard was instrumental in ensuring that the personalization initiative was aligned with the company's broader strategic goals. The team's approach included:

  • Developing specific, measurable objectives for the personalization initiative within the Balanced Scorecard's four perspectives: financial, customer, internal business processes, and learning and growth.
  • Implementing advanced analytics tools to gather and analyze customer data, informing the personalization strategies.
  • Regularly reviewing performance against the Balanced Scorecard metrics to adjust strategies as needed for continuous improvement.

The application of the Balanced Scorecard resulted in a more structured and effective approach to personalization, leading to a 25% increase in repeat customer purchases and a 15% increase in average order value. The framework helped the organization to not only achieve its personalization objectives but also to understand how those efforts contributed to the overall strategic goals, including financial performance and customer satisfaction.

Learn more about Balanced Scorecard Continuous Improvement

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Increased customer engagement metrics by 30% through the implementation of Customer Journey Mapping and Value Proposition Canvas frameworks.
  • Improved sustainability metrics by 20%, enhancing brand reputation and customer loyalty through the Triple Bottom Line framework.
  • Achieved a 25% increase in repeat customer purchases and a 15% increase in average order value with the Balanced Scorecard framework for data-driven personalization.
  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive digital marketing performance dashboard, leading to better tracking and optimization of digital engagement efforts.

The strategic initiatives undertaken by the organization have yielded significant improvements across customer engagement, sustainability practices, and personalization, directly addressing the challenges of declining customer retention and outdated engagement strategies. The 30% increase in customer engagement metrics and the 25% increase in repeat customer purchases are particularly noteworthy, demonstrating the effectiveness of the digital transformation and data-driven personalization efforts. However, while the 20% improvement in sustainability metrics is commendable, it highlights an area where further gains could potentially be made, suggesting that the organization may need to deepen its commitment to sustainability to fully leverage this as a differentiator in a highly competitive market. Additionally, the success in digital engagement and personalization underscores a missed opportunity in earlier stages to more aggressively adopt these strategies, which could have positioned the organization more favorably sooner.

Given the results, the organization should consider doubling down on its digital transformation efforts, particularly around personalization, as this has shown to significantly impact customer retention and order values. Further investment in sustainability initiatives could also enhance brand loyalty and attract a broader customer base, especially as consumer preferences continue to shift towards ethical and sustainable products. Additionally, exploring emerging technologies and platforms for customer engagement could uncover new opportunities for growth and differentiation. Finally, continuous monitoring and adjustment of strategies based on performance data will be crucial in maintaining momentum and adapting to future market changes.

Source: Customer Retention Strategy for SMB in the Cosmetics Industry, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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