On the surface, it would seem that beauty would be a tough sell online. So much of the buying process is experiential—smelling shampoo fragrance, testing the feel of lotions, seeing if a lipstick compliments your coloring. But savvy beauty and personal care companies know that it’s essential to have a strong online presence and have created a satisfying shopping experience that drives customers to their websites.
“Beauty products are a great thing to buy online. They have a long shelf life, you use them regularly so you buy them often, and once you’ve chosen a brand and product you like, you get the same thing every time,” says Skylla Jones, Branded Online’s director of sales for health, wellness, and beauty.
Now, more than ever, is the perfect time for beauty brands to develop their online ecommerce channels. Jones mentioned, “Before Covid, online sales of health, wellness, and beauty products totaled more than $53 billion in 2019, up almost 19% from 2018.” In fact, it’s the second-fastest growing online category, behind food and beverage. If you’re ready to give your online beauty channel a makeover, here are some tips.
● You don’t need brick and mortar stores to build a customer base.
There was a time you had to go to the mall or a department store to buy your makeup, but that’s changed as brick-and-mortar retail sales have declined and consumer shopping habits are trending online. Instead of building a brand with a store and then moving to the Internet, companies such as Glossier and Billie earned devoted customers via ecommerce and then added brick and mortar locations as needed. “Discovering new products used to never happen online, and that’s changed dramatically,” Jones says. “A brand is also much more profitable, the margins are much higher, when they sell products from their online store.” For brands that already have a presence in stores, Jones says a smart omnichannel strategy would be to make an initial sale in store, then drive future purchases online.
● Strike a balancing act.
Brands carried by large chains such as Sephora and Ulta can benefit from those mega-retailers’ investment in online shopping and advertising. “They take extraordinary measures to make sure their loyalty programs and unboxing experiences make the online experience just as much fun as the in-store experience,” Jones says. “Their loyalty programs and unboxing experiences are fun.” However, it is just as important to get customers to visit a brand’s own ecommerce site to increase profitability and increase customer loyalty, while still keeping big retailers happy. Some ways brands can get traffic include offering gifts with purchase or small discounts that don’t dig into profits too much. This has the added bonus is preventing customers from being lured to buy other brands while shopping at a third-party site.
● Have a smart digital marketing strategy.
Ideally, when someone Googles your brand, it pops up first, before the big retail sites that also carry your products. Getting to that ideal point can require a high-level, multifaceted approach that may include Facebook ads, a vibrant social media presence, and a strong customer data collection system, which can then be used to send targeted emails for sales and promotions that take customers directly to your site. Social media is key; Jones calls it one of the most important for brands in this day and age. Influencers can be, well, influential, in sales, but brands need to beware they aren’t spending too much on these partnerships from their marketing budgets. In essence, Jones adds, “The better relationship you can build with your customer, the more likely they will go directly to your site, as opposed to a third-party site.”
“Online shopping is the new normal,” Jones says, so this is a great opportunity to build and enhance ecommerce sales.
If you have a beauty business that needs the resources to grow and strengthen your online channel, partner with Branded Online. Our team can supply you with customized solutions that can include logistics, creative, marketing, back-end technology, strategic services, and much more, depending on your specific goals. For more information, contact us today.