One of my favourite journal articles is, 'Service Quality, Trust, Specific Asset Investment, and Expertise: Direct and Indirect Effects in a Satisfaction-Loyalty Framework' by Jyh-Shen Chiou and Droge and published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science in 2006.
I like the article because it takes the concept of specific asset investments, something that is most often applied in the context of business-to-business marketing, and the authors apply in to the context of high-end cosmetics. The following quotations from the article help to explain why they are so relevant:
behaIn the matter of a few short sentences the writers have helped to explain the key characteristics of these goods using relevant marketing concepts. They make clear how these offerings are intangible (despite being goods) and their credence attributes are also highlighted. Even though the marketers are trying to enhance the search attributes of these products (via the computerised photos), it becomes clear that in such a situation trust becomes important because the need to believe the salesperson's promises.
The video below illustrates some of the ideas referred to in the quotation above.
Also worth noting from the perspective of a marketer behaving in an opportunistic manner when dealing with consumers who may have limited ability to assess the offering, is this comment from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in the United States:
Cosmetics company L’Oréal USA, Inc. has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising about its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products. According to the FTC’s complaint, L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims that its Génifique and Youth Code products provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes.