It’s a good time to be an online beauty business. The uptake of online shopping and rise of social media have not only led consumers to discover new skincare, haircare and makeup products in recent years, but also driven an increase in demand. (Let’s face it, everyone wants to look good on the ‘Gram.)
Cosmetic and perfume industry revenue was forecast to grow at a CAGR of 13.5% over the past five years to reach $1.4 billion in 2020-21. And while growth is expected to slow to a CAGR of 5.4% over the next five years to $1.8 billion in 2025-26, largely due to increased competition from new pureplay businesses and bricks-and-mortar retailers coming online, there are still opportunities to tap into new trends and expand into emerging categories.
Multi-step skincare routines and male beauty are two trends generating a lot of consumer interest — and commercial benefit — at the moment, while augmented reality and live chat are just some of the ways online players are competing with department store beauty counters and even supermarkets to deliver a great customer experience and convenience.
Here are some tips to succeed in the perfume and cosmetic industry.
Find your niche
Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, finding a niche and targeting a specific type of customer is a smart way to build your online beauty business in an increasingly crowded market.
For instance, Petite Cosmetics offers eyelashes that are specifically designed for smaller eye shapes and has been inundated with orders from around the world since filling this much-overlooked gap in the market.
Male customers are another potential niche. While women still dominate the online cosmetic and fragrances market, the male customer base has grown significantly in the last five years due to rising image-consciousness particularly among 15 to 34 year olds.
New players, such as Man Perfected offer anti-ageing skincare and high-grade shampoos for men alongside expert advice on how to get the perfect shave, while established businesses, such as Adore Beauty aim to increase their proportion of male customers.
If you’re looking to grow by tapping into a new pool of customers, check out our blog on how to win and keep customers in 2021.
Cater to younger consumers
In general, younger consumers — think millennials and Gen Z — are the primary consumer demographic for online makeup, skincare and haircare products, so appealing to these tech-savvy shoppers is a must.
Many of the leading online beauty retailers now use artificial intelligence to help customers find the perfect foundation for their skin tone, or augmented reality to let customers virtually try on lipstick before buying.
Here are some other ways to incorporate technology into your eCommerce business, from inventory management to chatbots.
Given the importance of sustainability for younger consumers, you may also want to consider using eco-friendly packaging or offering a take back scheme for empty containers.
Here is a guide with everything you need to know about eco-friendly packaging.
Provide an exceptional delivery experience
Department store beauty counters and supermarkets still account for the majority of spending on cosmetics and fragrances, so online retailers need to provide an exceptional customer experience to compete with them. On the customer service side, this might include live chat to answer any questions customers have about a product in real time, while on the delivery side, it means fast and potentially free shipping.
As a multi-carrier shipping platform, Shippit makes it easy to find a delivery provider to meet your needs at an affordable rate, whether you’re offering a special promotion on perfume for next day delivery, or you’re considering shipping perfume with an international shipping provider.
And with automated address extraction and label printing, it can save you a lot of time on order fulfilment. Read how Petite Cosmetics slashed the time they spent on fulfilment from over 6 hours to just 20 minutes a day with Shippit here.
One thing that will definitely impact the customer experience is if a product arrives broken or damaged. If you’re not sure how to ship perfume and other delicate items, check out our packing tips for fragile orders here. And if you’re sending perfume by courier, make sure you choose one that specialises in fragile items.