In recent years, the e-commerce beauty market has grown rapidly. If you’ve always wanted to start a cosmetics business online, there’s never been a better time to make it happen.
Here, we take a look at why it’s such an exciting time to join the industry, and guide you through the first stages of starting an online beauty business.
Why Sell Cosmetics Online?
The growth of the e-commerce sector has allowed independent online retailers to blossom, with social media platforms giving individuals the opportunity to grow their beauty business and develop their shop’s brand identity.
Three key factors have facilitated the expansion of the beauty sector within e-commerce, and made selling cosmetics online a lucrative proposition.
- Technology: Rapid developments in technology have allowed businesses to engage and convert consumers in exciting new ways, and smaller businesses are able to utilise this to grow like never before. With shoppable content on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, for example, you don’t need a huge budget to make sales. Having said that, established retailers including Sephora and Ulta also make their social posts shoppable. In fact, they were among the first wave of brands selected to pilot Instagram’s shoppable platform.
- Social Media: Social media platforms allow you to develop a distinct brand identity, reach out to new audiences and markets, and increase your influence. Essentially, it has forced businesses to move away from traditional marketing models and allowed them to embrace a new type of social selling.
- Digital Content: Technological developments and the growing influence of social media has radically altered the way beauty businesses market their products. There is now a greater emphasis on content – such as online reviews, blogs, vlogs, and video tutorials – as a means of selling product. And because e-commerce technologies have matured, it’s now easier than ever to go from seeing a product advertised online to making a purchase. All it takes is a couple of clicks.
Getting started is typically the toughest part of any worthwhile challenge. Our step by step guide simplifies and streamlines the process, so you can easily get your business off the ground.
1: Identify Your Niche
When selling beauty products online, you need to establish a niche. With the amount of new content posted online every day, it’s difficult to compete on all fronts and easy to get lost amongst the crowd.
By choosing to focus on a specific product type or range, you can improve your chances of success. Opt to concentrate on K-Beauty products or natural skincare solutions, for example, to attract a specialised audience who are more likely to become loyal brand ambassadors.
It’s a lot easier to build up a reputation in the beauty industry by focusing your efforts in one or two specialties first, before expanding your business to include the sale of different product ranges.
2: Think About How You’ll Source Your Items
If you’re to turn a profit with your online cosmetics business, you’ll need to purchase your stock from a reliable wholesaler that provides authentic products.
Wholesale suppliers like UMMA offer beauty products at a reduced rate because they sell them in large quantities and partner up directly with brands. This allows you to make a profit when you sell products at full prices to customers. It also means you can scale up your business quickly and efficiently, as you attract more customers and demand increases.
3: Come Up With A Brand Name And Identity
Your business needs a brand if it’s to stand out and make an impact on customers. Social selling is all about building relationships with customers to increase sales. It’s challenging to do that if your business doesn’t have an identity that people can relate to.
Developing a brand involves;
- Thinking about who your target customer is. What products, tone and style would appeal to them?
- Thinking about the look of your business. What will your logo look like? What aesthetic is best for your website and social media channels?
- Thinking about how you’ll communicate with customers. What tone of voice will you deploy?
4: Create An Online Store
Finally, all businesses require some kind of store from which to sell their products. Traditionally, these were brick and mortar stores. Today, you can choose to sell cosmetics online in a number of ways.
- Build an e-commerce store: This involves building an online store from scratch or using a template. Remember, you’ll need to register a domain name for your e-commerce site. To build it, you could hire a web developer or use an e-commerce store builder. Though it’s easier and more cost-effective to use a site-builder, you won’t have as much control over how your shop looks or functions.
- Use online marketplaces: There are several online marketplaces, such as Lazada, Shopee and Amazon, that allow you to sell cosmetics online. If you’d like to find out more about these, you can check out our in-depth article on selling Korean cosmetics through online marketplaces.
- Selling through social media: You can choose to sell products directly through social media channels like Facebook. This is a great option for smaller businesses, as it’s cheap and easy to set up. For more information, take a look at our guide to selling beauty products through social media.
Tips For Selling Beauty Products Online
Now that you understand what it takes to start selling beauty products online, we thought we’d give you a few tips to help make your business a success.
Know Your Product Inside Out
To successfully sell makeup and skincare online, you’ll need to know everything there is to know about your products.
Customers will come to you for accurate product information; you’ll have to give them the right answers to gain their trust and encourage future sales. Consequently, you should know what goes into your products, where they’re made and how to use them.
Always Consider Your Audience
If there is one piece of advice that applies to businesses of all types and sizes, it’s ‘know your customer.’ This will determine what products you stock, the platforms you use to engage with customers and how you market your business.
If you have no understanding of your target market and fail to consider your audience when making important decisions, you’ll lack focus and direction, and quickly lose customers.
Check Out The Competition
Keep reminding yourself that you’re competing against other businesses. Customers are constantly making comparisons between sellers, and will weigh up the options before parting with their hard-earned cash. It’s your job to convince them that they should buy your products over someone else’s.
To do this, you’ll need to check out the competition.
Beauty forums and Facebook groups are great places to find out what your competitors are up to, and see how consumers interact with them. Look at the questions users are asking and the brands they mention on these sites to get a fuller picture of the competitive landscape.
Ask yourself: What do competitors do well? What do they do poorly? What are they missing that I can offer? What do I like and dislike about their site and marketing?
Learn from your competitors, and you’ll strengthen your business; ignore them, and you’ll end up making the same mistakes.
Keep Tabs On The Latest Beauty Trends
As an online retailer, you must keep up to date with the latest beauty trends. Not only does this ensure that your business stays relevant; it also allows you to take advantage of emerging trends before competitors jump on the bandwagon and saturate the market.
This is particularly important if you’re practising social selling, as you’ll be using online content to attract customers, nurture relationships and make sales. If your content is outdated, you’ll attract less interest, and your profit margin will suffer.
Luckily, when you register an account with UMMA, you’ll get exclusive insights to set you apart from the competition. Our members are never left in the dark; we let them know what’s hot and what’s not, and reveal the most sought-after K-Beauty products in their area!
Make An Inventory
It’s important to make a comprehensive inventory of your stock. This will allow you to track and manage orders, so you won’t be advertising out of stock items and disappointing customers. Inventories also help you to know what’s selling well and what’s not, and you’ll be able to highlight new trends as they emerge.
There’s no denying that starting your own online beauty business is a challenge. However, it’s also immensely rewarding and – when done right – profitable too. To overcome the challenges you’ll face, it’s a good idea to seek guidance and support from partners like UMMA. The insight and expertise you’ll receive is invaluable, particularly if you’re new to the industry. Sign up for free today, and start your own online beauty business!