People start selling cosmetics online for a number of reasons. Some want to spread their specialized knowledge and favorite products. Others view it as a way to make flexible income by harnessing the internet. Whatever your reasoning, there are certainly opportunities out there. Some sources expect the global cosmetics market to reach $429.8 billion by 2022, which represents a 4.3 percent annual increase. But you’ll have to strategize to maximize your return on investment (ROI) and stand out from the pack in such a competitive industry.
So, do you want to sell cosmetics online? Here are some of your options.
Establishing Your Web Presence
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide how you’ll establish a web presence so buyers can find more information about your company and buy your products. Even here, you have options. Some companies choose to build their own website from scratch with help from a web developer. Others use a plug-and-play platform for the sake of simplicity and scalability down the line. Some sellers start out in an existing marketplace, like Etsy or eBay, before establishing a branded website just for themselves.
A good rule of thumb is to factor the future into your current plans. Sure, you may start out small, but you want to choose an option that’s viable for the long haul. This will save you the trouble of making drastic changes when sales start to uptick. For example, if you know your target audience tends to spend time in a given niche marketplace, it’s wise to set up a store there that links back to your proprietary website.
Selling Wholesale Products
One method of selling beauty products from home is buying them wholesale. The primary advantage of utilizing this model is that you only have to worry about stocking your inventory and selling; there’s no need to get involved in the actual science behind creating the cosmetics. In other words, your name is not printed on the cosmetics labels. Chemists can take care of creating the products while you focus on making sales to customers.
On the flip side, it’s extremely important to know what you’re buying and reselling. This means connecting with a reputable large-volume vendor so you can stock your store well. Establishing solid relationships with your wholesale vendors will go a long way toward ensuring your inventory stays full and your reputation remains impeccable.
Creating Your Own Cosmetics Line
Some people want to do more than just sell cosmetics online; they want to create their very own brand. One of the challenges with this model is you’ll have to account for product development costs, as well as marketing and maintaining a store. Each material costs money, as does each individual packaging solution. However, this approach gives you more freedom to experiment with products. It also ensures your products will stand apart from the pack —precisely because they’re one-of-a-kind.
If you decide to launch your own line, it’s important to get your costs down before you expand into a larger scale operation. Carefully track how much it costs to produce one basic unit—whether you make lip gloss, moisturizing lotion, an exfoliant or any number of other products.
It’s also crucial to factor in the cost and effort of product testing. Requirements may vary based on where you live, but sending your products to a certified lab to conduct safety and efficacy tests is a must. Remember, people are trusting you with their skin, eyes, hair and other precious body parts. The last thing you want to do is launch a cosmetics company online only to face serious lawsuits and reputational damage due to the contents of your product line.
Drop-Shipping Your Orders
Did you know there’s a way to sell cosmetics without ever handling the products yourself? Drop-shipping allows retailers to sell products from manufacturers without actually having to purchase or store the products themselves. This frees you up to offer a wider line because you don’t have to worry about getting a storage space like a garage or warehouse. There’s also no risk of being left with excess product if something doesn’t sell. While customers complete transactions through your website, the order actually goes to a third-party for fulfillment—which also frees you of the responsibility for the delivery process.
Of course, one drawback of drop-shipping is you retain less control over the order fulfillment process. Consumers associate their purchasing experience with your brand, whether or not you actually package, address and handle the order. So, it pays to vet potential partners carefully to make sure you’re entering into a mutually beneficial relationship.
Offering an Omnichannel Experience
The perks of selling online are numerous. One of the main draws is not having to sign a commercial retail lease, of course. But, at the end of the day, cosmetics are a tactile product. This means customers are always going to appreciate the chance to try out beauty products before they buy them; especially the first time around. Some ecommerce brands eventually expand into omnichannel retail experiences by hosting physical pop-up stores or even filling storefronts to complement their online platform.
If you do choose to remain online only, you can simulate this tangible feeling of trying on makeup with high-quality video product demonstrations. Seeing someone else try on your products while discussing their finer points will help customers “get to know” your offerings, even if there’s a large geographical distance between you. Consider posting a series of how-to videos along with written content to connect with your customer base.
If you want to sell cosmetics online, there are many options. No two beauty businesses are alike. It’s all about establishing a strong web presence, choosing the best fulfillment option and marketing your unique selling proposition to customers. More people are turning to the web for their beauty needs. If your store can fill a niche, you’ll build up a cadre of loyal followers in no time.