5 Ways eCommerce is Transforming the Beauty Industry

When you think of the beauty industry, you probably imagine stores like Sephora and Ulta, and maybe even small one-off businesses that provide facial treatments or spa services. But these brick-and-mortar establishments are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beauty. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, eCommerce sales made up about 8% of the total retail industry in 2015, but this number is expected to grow steadily over the next few years as online shoppers become more comfortable with their purchases and accustomed to perks like free shipping and returns.

1) Individuality
Thanks to e-commerce, you can find a wide range of beauty products that were once sold in brick-and-mortar stores only. Manufacturers have found innovative ways to build off of classic beauty items like makeup and hair care, creating one-of-a kind products that are limited edition or personalized just for you. This encourages exploration; if you ever get bored with your usual lipstick, maybe it’s time to try a new shade or brand.

2) Choice
While brick-and-mortar beauty stores can offer a personal touch, online shopping has plenty of benefits. You can shop 24/7 from home, which can be incredibly convenient for busy women. In addition, you don’t have to bother with traffic or braving rain or snow just to get your hands on your favorite products. Online shopping also gives you access to brands that might not be available in your area—which is great news if you love rare and niche brands.

3) Accessibility
Everyone is online these days, which means consumers are getting their information—and making purchasing decisions—from a screen instead of a counter. This is an opportunity for beauty brands, who can use blogs and social media to engage with customers, answer questions, and provide behind-the-scenes updates to their followers. If you want to remain relevant in today’s increasingly digital world, you need to think about how you’re reaching customers online.

4) Competitive pricing
The online beauty marketplaces are highly competitive. Be sure to set your prices at a level that makes sense for you and your business. As an e-commerce business, you won’t be able to offer a sale price, but if you run out of an item or have to discontinue it for some reason, consider using Groupon or similar services to generate additional revenue from discounted sales or coupons.

5) Brand awareness
Online shopping allows you to get your products in front of consumers who may never see them on shelves. The beauty industry has always been a multibillion-dollar business, but new technology—particularly mobile devices—has transformed it into an industry where brand awareness is even more important than ever before. Visibility drives sales, and ecommerce helps build your brand’s visibility.

When you consider how much of an impact online commerce has had on other industries, it should come as no surprise that eCommerce has revolutionized what’s happening in retail beauty. No longer are consumers limited to browsing and purchasing from brick-and-mortar stores; they can order anything—including beauty products—through their computers or mobile devices. In fact, there are now several niche sites that focus specifically on beauty products and make it easy for customers to shop online with one-click buying.