How to Succeed in The Ecommerce Beauty Industry

Sell Cosmetics Online

If you walk into malls and stores across the US, you will notice that stores aren’t the same as they used to be. With fewer stores able to accept the cost of physical or brick-and-mortar location, more and more online stores are open every day. Americans aren’t shopping less, they are doing in from the comfort of their home.

In fact, ecommerce is responsible for 10% of total consumer spending and the number of growing each year. One market that is doing pretty well in the ecommerce industry is beauty.

Yes, the ecommerce beauty industry is on the rise. Seeing how a lipstick feels or a lotion smells is something you’d probably think customers would want to try out in person. Thanks to smarter and easier ways of shipping and new products – the shopping behavior of beauty customers is changing.

Digital Discovery Tools

A big reason for ecommerce beauty industry success can be attributed to online and mobile sales. Businesses and brands are using digital tools to help customers get a try-on and in-person experience on their smartphones. For example, the Snapchat filters allow users turn into puppies and puke rainbows.

Urban Decay are starting to offer promotional fillers that use augmented reality so that users can directly try the product. When users share photos of themselves wearing the lipstick or lipgloss, the impressions grow even more.

Sephora is also expanding its try-on capabilities by using apps like Virtual Artis that allow customers to try on different products from their phones. Such tools are helpful for products like foundation. The best factor of being able to use these digital tools also makes for an improved shopping experience which drives sales.

Whether you are just starting up your beauty brand, expanding your product line or adapting practices of success for the modern customers, the ecommerce industry is proving to be a great strategy to reach potential buyers.

Online-First Beauty Brands

Thanks to the beauty influencers on social media, a few businesses and brands have become household names, even with the online shopping experience. By using customized digital platforms, brands like ColourPop and Glossier are competing with established brands like MAC and Maybelline. Did you know that thanks to digital ecommerce platforms, Glossier’s profits grew by 275%?

While they opened a store in LA, the majority of the revenue comes from their website. If you do one quick search on Instagram using the hashtag #glossier, you will notice that there are over 350.000 posts and reviews from fans and gurus on YouTube.

Sell Cosmetics Online


One of the first ecommerce beauty businesses that offered services was Birchbox. Birchbox offered a monthly sample subscription which proven to be quite successful. With a disruption of the market, Ipsy followed Birchbox’s footsteps and today big box retailers like Target and Sephora have their own subscription services.

This proves how effective the strategy is, especially when fighting for ecommerce success. The surprise gift-like feel of the boxes delivered each month makes the products feel personalized and precious, adding a layer of brand affection that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

The subscription services tend to offer an added incentive of great deals and exclusive discounts on the best products. Even if a recipient doesn’t like the color of the lipstick but loves the formula, they will probably visit the brand’s website and make a purchase and choose a product that is more in-line with their personal taste.

Crowdsourced Reviews

You walked into a Sephora store, right? You know that once you come in you are bombarded with salespeople trying to sell the latest products, present your special offers, etc. While they may know a lot about their store and the products they sell, they are also biased. Purchasing beauty products online gives buyers confidence in learning from the customers who have come before them.

Beauty shopping on most websites means that you are getting unfiltered and honest reviews from people who have bought and tried the products. Many of the product reviews tools on websites like Ulta allow customers to rate products based on different criteria such as color payoff, product longevity, and value. Being able to see how real people use the product when a customer is at the purchasing point creates trust and encourage the buyer to spend more.

This model has also changed the return policies. If you are not happy with the product you just bought, Ulta will let you return it within 60 days of purchase while Glossier will refund your money and ask to give the product to a friend.

How to Run a Successful Online Beauty Store

If you have dreamed of launching a beauty ecommerce store, you may want to consider doing it today. The global e commerce beauty industry has experienced significant growth and is expected to grow by 4.3% a year and reach $429.8 billion by 2022.

While online beauty products may be popular, a growing industry doesn’t promise that your online store will be successful. Here are five healthy habits that will guide you towards online beauty brand stardom.

  • A strong social media presence: An active social media presence is essential for cosmetic ecommerce stores. There is no better way to show off your products.
  • Reward customer loyalty: Loyal customers are far more profitable than your average customer and spend more per order. With the right customer loyalty program, you can keep your customers engaged and returning to your ecommerce store.
  • Transparency is a priority: Cosmetic brands need to be transparent and authentic with their products if they want to succeed. The best way to evoke transparency is to allow reviews on your website. According to one research, 90% of the customers read reviews before they decide to trust a product.

Have you tried any of these strategies for your online beauty business?

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