One of the questions that we’re most regularly asked is “what’s the best online marketplace for selling beauty products?”
When you consider how big the e-commerce market is, it’s no surprise that so many people are wanting an answer. In recent years, e-commerce has become the largest sector of the Internet economy in Southeast Asia, with sales amounting to an estimated $38 billion in 2019 alone. This figure is expected to exceed $150 billion by the year 20251.
That’s an enormous amount of spending power to harness. And it’s early adopters who will be best positioned to benefit from the growth of the market.
With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to take an in-depth look at three of the most popular online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. Along the way, we’ll explain the advantages of each, and offer some top tips on how to maximise sales on these marketplaces.
What Are Online Marketplaces?
If you’re trying to get your head around online marketplaces, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ve almost certainly encountered one or two already.
Technically, an online marketplace is an e-commerce platform that allows independent businesses to sell their products to a large audience. A single organisation is responsible for operating the market platform and processing payments, while third-party retailers bring their products to the marketplace for sale.
They’re a good option for businesses because:
- You don’t need your own website to start selling.
- They already have a large and established user base.
- Setting up an account typically takes a few minutes.
- They usually have easy to use dashboards, offering quick and simple navigation.
Given that they’re three of the biggest online marketplaces in Southeast Asia, we’ll be focusing on Shopee, Lazada and Amazon. If you’re planning to sell (or are currently selling) Korean cosmetics on one of these popular marketplaces, here’s how to make a success of it.
Selling K-Beauty on Shopee
Shopee is a remarkably popular online marketplace, especially in Southeast Asia. Launched in Singapore in 2015, the platform is now operational in several countries in the region, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and also Brazil. Shopee operates its own escrow service – the Shopee Guarantee – making it an attractive choice for those who are concerned with privacy and security.
Shopee has a dedicated category for beauty sellers: ‘Health and Personal Care.’ What’s more, it’s a well-known marketplace for K-Beauty fans (and beauty insiders too!), because shoppers can find a huge range of authentic products in one place. In fact, Korean cosmetics are such a mainstay of the site, that Shopee have been running an annual ‘K-Festival’ since 2017. This weekly event focuses on Korean products, including cosmetics; it puts sellers and their shops in the spotlight, and encourages sales by offering discounts for buyers. This is good news for businesses; Shopee provides beauty sellers with a pre-existing audience, and a popular event to promote their products.
The Benefits of Selling on Shopee
- No commission or listing fees.
- Built-in chatroom function.
- Streamlined and attractive interface.
- It’s a mobile-friendly platform that is well integrated with social networks, allowing you to make the most of your social selling skills.
How to Sell More in Shopee
If you’re wondering how to sell in Shopee, or want to know the easiest ways to increase sales on the platform, try adopting the following best practices.
- Make the most of your social media presence by linking your Instagram account to your Shopee account. This will enhance your social selling ability and allow you to make your posts shoppable, which is especially useful when selling beauty products online.
- Ensure your product descriptions are engaging, informative and relevant. When it comes to selling beauty products, you should include details about product ingredients and their uses. For example, if your product contains hyaluronic acid, you should note its hydrating and anti-aging properties.
- All images need to be of a high-quality, and should reflect the look and feel of your business. If you’re selling makeup, include colour swatches if possible; this will help users to visualise how products are going to look when applied.
- Become a Shopee preferred seller. This ensures your shop comes out on the top of the rankings when users search for relevant keywords, and guarantees that you benefit from the Shopee Coins feature.
- Run promotions, discounts and exclusive deals for your customers.
- Sell your products at competitive prices. Shopee customers are a shrewd bunch, who use the platform to find authentic yet fairly-priced Korean cosmetics. If you put too big a mark-up on your products, you’re likely to lose out on sales.
Selling Korean Cosmetics on Lazada
Also headquartered in Singapore, Lazada has been running since 2012 and has quickly become one of the most popular online marketplaces in the area. It is open to buyers and sellers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
Cosmetics are amongst the top-selling products on Lazada. Lazada shoppers in the Philippines are especially fond of Korean cosmetics, including skin whitening products, and the market is driven by digitally-savvy millennials looking for the latest K-Beauty buys. However, the site’s Health and Beauty category remains one of its most successful across all key markets.
What Are the Benefits of Selling on Lazada?
The platform has many seller benefits, including:
- Lazada is one of the most visited online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. In the first quarter of 2019, it received more than 52 million visits from Singapore-based users alone.2
- There is no commission or sign-up fee, so it’s a good choice for new or small beauty businesses.
- In many countries, particularly in the Philippines, Health and Beauty is one of the most popular categories on the site.
- Lazada produces its own resources to help sellers improve their sales figures. Check out the Lazada University for great content on how to get the most from the platform.
- It has a great sellers’ interface and will regularly report on your sales performance.
Tips for Beauty Sellers Using Lazada
If you’re trying to work out how to sell on Lazada, start by taking a look at our top tips for the platform.
- Ensure your product descriptions contain relevant keywords and that images are in-keeping with your business’ brand. As mentioned above, shoppers expect to find a list of ingredients at the very least when shopping for beauty products. However, it’s also recommended that you include details on the benefits of your product, and mention relevant features that make it unique. Is it organic or vegan, for example? Is it a best seller? Is it suitable for sensitive skin? These are the things that will sway customers, and help them to know whether your products will meet their needs.
- Respond to all customer feedback and questions as quickly, accurately and professionally as possible. Once orders are complete, be proactive in encouraging customers to leave reviews, by contacting them to check that they’re happy with their order. If they’re not satisfied, ask why, and do your utmost to resolve any issues.
- Learn as much from the Lazada University portal as possible. Though you won’t find specific information about selling cosmetics on Lazada, it’s designed to help sellers get more from the platform. And remember, UMMA gives its wholesale buyers industry-specific marketing and trend insights to provide further support.
- Entice customers with regular discounts and special offers. Beauty buyers love to know they’re getting authentic products for a good price, especially online.
- Create a product inventory and keep it up to date, so that both you and your customers know what’s available and what’s not.
Selling Beauty Products on Amazon
If you haven’t heard of Amazon, you may need to brush up on your e-commerce knowledge immediately! While its online marketplace is perhaps its best-known service, the company is also heavily involved in the development of AI and other cutting-edge technologies. It operates on a global scale, and is one of the most influential businesses on the planet.
When selling cosmetics on Amazon, it’s essential to understand that beauty products can fall into one of two categories: prohibited and non-prohibited. Fortunately for most beauty retailers, wholesale cosmetics products come under the non-prohibited category, and are easy to sell on the marketplace. So if you choose to sell K-Beauty products purchased on, for example, you won’t need approval from Amazon (which is the case for anyone wishing to sell white-label cosmetics, as these are prohibited).
Why Sell Korean Cosmetics on Amazon?
The key benefits of Amazon include:
- Amazon is one of the largest businesses and online marketplaces in the world, with a truly global reach and an impressive customer base.
- The market is flexible, and sellers can register themselves as an
‘individual’ or ‘professional’ seller depending on how many products they want to list.
- The sponsored ads feature allows you to raise the profile and visibility of your products, giving you a competitive edge over other sellers.
How to Sell Cosmetics on Amazon
When selling beauty products on Amazon, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Optimise product listings by including keywords and providing all vital information on the product.
- Keep on top of customer reviews and respond promptly to questions. A great deal of your success on Amazon is dependent on managing your reputation and getting favourable reviews. When you purchase Korean cosmetics at UMMA, you’re guaranteed to get only the latest, authentic products from leading brands . This is incredibly important when selling beauty products online; with counterfeit cosmetics infiltrating popular online marketplaces, you’ll need a trustworthy supplier to avoid negative reviews.
- Use promotions and special offers to attract customers and to guarantee sales. These offers could include free shipping, discounts or ‘buy one, get one free’ promotions.
Online marketplaces are one of the most critical resources in an independent retailer’s arsenal. Not only do they introduce your business to new customers; they also make the process of bringing your products to market that much easier. There’s no need to build your own website, or handle all the complications associated with setting up your own payment portal and shop – it’s all there ready to go! It’s also important to note that you can sell cosmetics on more than one marketplace at once, maximising the number of potential customers you reach and improving sales.
If you think you could take advantage of the opportunities that online marketplaces offer, create an account and join the UMMA family today! With access to wholesale and drop-shipping services, you’ll find that becoming an independent cosmetics retailer has never been easier or more rewarding.
 Source: E-Cononmy SEA: Google, Temasek, Bain & Company
 Source: Statista.