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Just in case you are wondering why this article exists while we are amidst of a pandemic, with disposable incomes for every worker taking a hit across the globe, take a good second to pause. According to Redseer, the Beauty and Personal Care (BPC) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9%, from ~USD 14-15 billion in 2017 to ~USD 22-23 billion in 2022. So, even if the pandemic was a hiccup, it isn’t here to stay to disrupt things for the long run.

If there’s anything that has been impacted dynamically by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is consumers’ behaviour. From shifting preferences to digital-first systems and online shopping to keeping personal care as the topmost priority, each and every such behaviour translates into an opportunity for brands to serve them the way they would like to be served.

So, even if you sell only one beauty product online, or have a plethora of cosmetics, run a small setting or a big outlet, the time is about ripe to take your beauty and personal care brand online for increased chances of its success. Which is why we put together this article, to give you a rundown of how you can achieve the same. So, without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?

Find the niche you want to go after (and double down on it)

There’s a popular saying which goes by the following: “If you try to be all things to all people, you won’t be anything to anybody.” To translate it for your business and its growth efforts, here is how it would sound like: “If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one.” And there is a reason why savvy businesses and entrepreneurs swear by the same.

Ever seen your favourite hot dog vendor selling anything other than, umm . . . hot dogs?

Exactly.

That is because she has identified her niche, and is doubling down it the way she knows best. Similarly, you also need to identify the niche you are going to focus on, so as to not be nothing for no one. (Don’t try to be Sephora, Ulta, or whoever has the most number of categories present)

If in your traditional, offline business, you did not have a niche discovered for your brand yet, not a sweat. Now would be the perfect time for you to kind of make that distinction clear both in your head and on your storefront. To figure out the niche you want to focus on, just think of what kind of customers buy the most from you, and what kind of products are the ones which end up selling more. You’re sure to reach on a rough idea or say a gut feeling about what you should be going after.

Get your branding in place as solidly as you can

At its simplest, branding refers to the process of building a robust, positive image of a business or a company, its product offerings, services, or something else in the minds of the audience by combining the various different elements which include but do not limit to a logo, design language, value prop, mission statement, and a consistent colour scheme throughout all their marketing efforts.

If done effectively, businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base for themselves, all through branding. So, it can not be stressed enough that, when you are venturing out to build your own online cosmetics business, something you have got to pay serious attention to is how you build your brand (and tailor it to the niche we just selected above).

Also read: Foolproof Your eCommerce Branding With This Guide (& Get Your Branding Kit Together)

Choose a robust eCommerce platform that can offer scale

This one is obviously a no-brainer, and could very much have been the first step you need to take to build your own online beauty and cosmetics brand, but, here we are. If you have been able to achieve the first two steps diligently, this would just seem like a day to day ops.

When it comes to building an online store, the platform you choose plays a very big role in how big of a scale and robustness you can handle. Considering you might not want to scale to a huge number of orders per day, you can choose to go with tools that do not burn a hole in your cost pockets. Not every store needs to be built on Shopify, as there are now tons of alternatives catering to the unique and individual needs of your luxury cosmetics store.

But, if you are building a business for the long run, and already have a good enough idea about how fast you would be able to scale (basis how well you have been doing without having an online store), just take the plunge and select an eCommerce platform that can offer you that scale. Think of it like an investment, and not a cost.

Also read: BigCommerce VS Shopify – Which one is right for you?

Tailor the look and feel of your store (through ready to use templates, or customize your own)

In the day and age, we are living in, digital is everything. So when it comes to the experience of your online store, both in terms of usability and the overall look and feel, you need to do a job which captivates your audience and prospective buyers better than your competitors or peers would ever be able to. More often than not, small businesses and especially newer eComm stores do not see merit in investing time, money, or efforts into making their UI stand out, simply because there is no tangible return on investment that could be tied to it. But, nothing could be worse for a company.

They say, the first impression is the last impression, and even more so if the case in point is your online beauty and cosmetics store, and the customer is someone who is primarily an online shopper. If they do not like what they are looking at, they’d not think twice before hopping off to your nearest competitor (or since everything would be happening online the next tab!)

How you can go about solving this challenge for your online store is to look into the library of templates and themes that are offered by your eCommerce platform. If you find one you like and aligns well with your brand’s look and feel, voila!

If not, make sure you spend some effort into finding one that does, or best of all, just get one customized to match the brand identity your business incorporates, and you are good to go (but yes, make sure you are uniquely distinguishable from your competitors since colours play a big role in altering buyer psychology)

Build detailed, comprehensive product pages for your inventory

To say that your product pages would be an important part of your beauty and cosmetics personal care brand’s online store is clearly a massive understatement. If not the most important, they are certainly the most persuasive and worthy of making a compelling argument to your prospective buyers.

Your product page exists to solve and answer any and all questions your prospect would be thinking in their heads while browning your store. Even so much so, that you shouldn’t even need to have them ask for help, even if it is a live chat or something!

Some of the things you should keep in mind while building your product pages are as follows:

With some of these best practices followed, your beauty and cosmetics online store’s product would surely create a mark on your prospective customers and increase your conversion rates for the better.

Build pages that align to the collections your brand can offer

When it comes to the beauty and cosmetics industry, carefully tailoring your category pages can be quite a game-changer. You want to make it absolutely seamless and convenient for your store visitors to explore your wide range of products, especially from the comfort of the homepage. Therefore, you need to spend enough time segmenting your products and curating your category pages that align with your store’s overall theme and products. These categories could be:

By skin concern – pigmentation, acne, dullness, etc.

Product category – face masks, face moisturizers, sunscreens, etc.

Similarly, based on your product range, you need to figure out and build pages relevant to your line of products. This will ensure that visitors don’t have a hard time navigating to the required category page and finding the right product they came looking for.

Here’s how one of India’s largest D2C natural skincare brand, Plum has categorized its products across their key pages:

Word image 10638 1

Word image 10638 2

Engineer your eCommerce platform backend to offer customization

It’s the age of hyper-personalization, and the beauty space is no different. With almost every online store offering customized products, customers have begun to actively look for products that are made for their unique needs and concerns. It’s not only essential to incorporate a certain degree of customizability into your product range, but also showcase it well on your site and app.

This essentially involves narrowing in on how you suggest or recommend products to shoppers who land on your digital properties. Do you ask them to fill up a form regarding their skin concerns, lifestyle habits, and other needs basis which you suggest the product they should include in their regime? Or do you have a set of pre-decided categories of products and shoppers can themselves select the products best suited for them?

You could even have shoppers customize products directly on the product pages itself. Whatever you decide upon, be sure to seamlessly engineer it into your eCommerce platform’s backend.

Optimize your cart page as per best practices and original insights

Cart pages are extremely critical and also highly optimizable. These are pages where you have the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell and really convince the shopper that they should go ahead and complete the purchase. Practices such as not being transparent with shipping and extra charges, having too many distractions, or not displaying the exact discount amount could put the shopper off and lead to cart abandonment.

On the contrary, practices such as one-click checkout, being upfront with all additional costs, offering multiple payment options, and so on are mostly appreciated by buyers and tend to reduce your abandonment rate. Carefully incorporating such best practices along with insights uncovered from your visitor behaviour analysis will ensure this supremely critical page of yours doesn’t allow shoppers to easily drop off and instead improves your checkout rate.

Also read: How To Optimize Ecommerce Checkout Page For Maximum Conversion

Integrate popular channels your audience is present at to your online store mix

Online shopping is no longer limited to your website and app. You can now literally allow your visitors to shop from whichever social channel they are actively engaged or might have discovered your brand on. Setting up your Instagram store and the Facebook store will enable you to leverage the extensive reach of these platforms and sell directly to their users in a few simple clicks.

What’s more, you can use appealing imagery of your beauty products in use to nudge users to bag them then and there, as opposed to website shopping journeys which could get complicated. This way you can make the most of your social media ad campaigns as well as organic content in driving additional sales.

Having a multitude of channel mix and mediums your store is present on gives you the unique opportunity to reach your customer wherever they are (and almost whenever you wish to, cuz you know, you never know where they would be active and when). So, a win win, eh?

Make sure your inventory management is rock solid (to never disappoint a prospective buyer)

A rookie mistake made by newer brands is that they end up launching without having a comprehensive inventory to fulfil the incoming demand or a broken supply chain that leads to inconsistencies in order fulfilment.

If you are lucky enough to be bombarded with orders immediately post-launch, you wouldn’t want to disappoint your first few customers with delayed shipments, out of stock alerts, or simply the lack of variety.

Especially now that customers are fairly used to priority shipment or even single day deliveries. Make sure that your warehouses are populated with products and thoroughly managed and maintained to avoid any unexpected or unanticipated shocks.

There are a ton of tools you can leverage to manage your inventory without having to do things manually so that you can automate tasks which would otherwise require human capital and save on crucial time and resources in hiring or training them and more. But don’t forget, in the end, buyers expect you to have everything you say you would, or it is a broken promise and no one likes those nowadays, now do they?

Figure out shipping, logistics, and fulfilment to the T

While advertising, marketing, and branding are important as they determine how your brand is perceived by your target audience, these pillars are essentially futile if your business is not supported by a robust and well-oiled framework of logistics and fulfilment. Therefore, before you move onto the fancy stuff, check and double-check that your shipping policies, logistics management platform, and fulfilment management are functioning as smoothly as possible.

It might be wise to stick to the best practices and steadily integrate your own insights overtime when it comes to how to manage logistics and order fulfilment. You can also invest in intelligent logistics management platforms that automate supply chain management for your business and ensure that orders are fulfilled without a hassle.

Another contingency you will have to plan is returns and reverse logistics. Very often, shipments are seamless, but when it comes to returning or exchanging an item, customers have to go through a complicated process and invest a whole lot of time and effort, which is highly likely to annoy them. So plan in advance for shipments and returns so your customers are impressed equal by your service as they are by your products.

Finally, Launch Your Store And Take It To Market

Now that we have discussed all the things you need to know in order to take your own personal care brand online, we think the onus is on you to make sure it reaches the heights you’d like it to. While the steps mentioned in the article are good for a start, be sure to experiment with your own ideas, or complement the ones above to have an even greater impact on your online venturing efforts. Happy selling!

Need help planning an eCommerce marketing strategy for your beauty and cosmetics brand? Read this guide.