Welcome to the full guide on How to Sell Cosmetics Online. This selection of articles will cover how to leverage the virtual world to market and sell your products and services.
How to Sell Cosmetics Online: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Beauty Products Online
1. Cross-Marketing Collaborations
2. Approaching Influencers
3. Creating a Virtual Experience
4. Product Bundles
5. Creating Viral Content
6. Going Live
How to Sell Cosmetics Online Lesson 1: Cross-Marketing Collaborations
You have a great advantage when you sell beauty products online or run an online cosmetic business.
When you sell cosmetics online, the products you offer are, for most people, an everyday part of life. This means you have to do less convincing that your product is a NEED versus a luxury.
Beauty and cosmetic products serve everyday actions like washing your face, shaving your legs, and putting on your makeup. But, the majority of beauty and cosmetic sales are motivated by the emotional needs of your customers.
We have a common bond as humans. We all want to feel desired, cherished, and valued.
Some buy expensive things to get to this goal. Others go to the gym regularly to attract this into their life. Then there is the group of women AND men who buy beauty and cosmetic products to attain this feeling.
Sell Beauty Products Online with Emotions
If you’re thinking about starting to sell cosmetics online think about this. Nearly all cosmetic and beauty purchases are driven by emotions, and the $250 billion industry is an instant answer to …
… Feeling cared for.
… Feeling desirable.
… Creating rituals that make you feel special.
… Transforming your look to reflect who you want to be.
This first chapter in the Sell Cosmetics Online guide is dedicated to just this:
Understanding the emotional needs of your potential clients to guide your research and approach for a cross-marketing collaboration.
The selling of cosmetics online generates billions of dollars every year worldwide, and starting a business selling cosmetics is pretty straightforward — which makes the market quite saturated.
When it comes to your Marketing Plan, collaborating with those beyond your industry can be a seamless and powerful move.
Let’s take the four needs the beauty and cosmetics industry is fulfilling for folks:
- Feeling cared for.
- Feeling desirable.
- Creating rituals that make you feel special.
- Transforming your look to reflect who you want to be.
Out there in the small business circles, local or virtual, I guarantee you there are entrepreneurs whose body of work is dedicated to one of the above. So, if you’re going to sell cosmetics online, how do you go about finding a collaboration that will be beneficial?
If you’re wondering if speaking to the emotional needs of your customer is a viable marketing strategy, I share this quote with you from Rosaliz Jimenez, a magazine editor and branding consultant, who has worked at People StyleWatch, Redbook, and Self, she shares:
“NEVER underestimate the power of a bright crimson lipstick or shimmery shadow. As a magazine editor, I’ve seen the market research to support the fact that women LOVE and invest in makeup because it makes them FEEL good. Even during the recession, cosmetic sales were steady, and there was even a soar in lipstick and nail polish! The reality is that makeup is a powerful and transformative tool that can affect how we feel about ourselves and how others see us.”
Get to Know Your Cosmetics Customers
We start, with the person whose money you are trying to attract – your customer.
- Who is she or he?
- What blogs does she visit?
- Which Instagrammers does she follow?
- Who are the authors, life coaches, or fitness models that motivate her?
- How does she connect with your brand? Through your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, newsletter, or website?
This last question should be your starting point.
Get on one of your social media channels, then browse through your current followers. Click through a few profiles, get a sense of their personality, and then go see who else they are following.
Now, this can be a little tedious, maybe even boring, but if you are selling cosmetics online, this is the secret to getting in front of your audience, organically.
As you meander through the list of who your customer follows, I want you to keep in mind the four emotional needs we mentioned above, and keep an eye out for…
… A therapist like Christine Gutierrez, that can contribute to a campaign around: feeling cared for.
… An Intimacy Coach like Irene Fehr, that can contribute to a campaign around: feeling desirable.
… A Yoga Instructor like Mitzi Henderson, that can contribute to a campaign around: Creating rituals that make you feel special.
… A Fitness Coach like Sarah Prudhomme, that can contribute to a campaign around: Transforming your look to reflect who you want to be.
The ultimate situation would be to find an expert in one of these needs, which is ALREADY followed by your customer.
You will naturally get in front of a new audience through this collaboration, so don’t worry that your customer is already following both of you. A little marketing secret, when your customer sees your product/services from another source, it will actually increase the chances of them buying from your brand!
Find Your Beauty Hashtags
If your current customer or follower does not lead you to beneficial influencers, don’t get frustrated, start thinking #hashtags.
If you’re going to sell cosmetics online, you always need to get back to those four emotional needs of your customer. Begin to search #hashtags that align with the need. Let’s take transforming your look to reflect who you want to be, here are some #hashtags to search:
These #hashtags will lead you to both customers, and influencers. Follow your potential customers, get in front of their face, don’t wait for them to find you. Then, begin a spreadsheet to keep track of possible influencers that you can approach.
What to do with this list is what we will focus on in the next chapter in this guide.
Now that you have used your customers’ emotional needs to guide your research of influencers, let’s discuss how to approach them tactfully to sell cosmetics online and fulfill your business goals.
How to Sell Cosmetics Online Lesson 2: Approaching Influencers
The end goal is to feed your profits, we are going to focus on the three click funnels that get you there:
- Email List
If you are going to sell cosmetics online, you should include a strategy that touches on all three aspects listed above in every single cross-marketing collaboration.
Let’s say you are an organic skincare company, with a goal to begin distributing to booming guest houses in the Caribbean.
For this example, I am going to focus on your customer’s emotional need to feel cared for.
You’ve meandered through social media to see who your customers are following. You’ve searched hashtags that are centered around feeling cared for, like #selfcare and #selflove.
You’re likely to have come across a business like Christine Gutierrez, a Self-Love Coach who is beautiful, appreciates organic living, AND is hosting a retreat at the booming Dreamcatcher Guest House in Puerto Rico.
You have hit the jackpot here! The ideas for collaboration are endless!
Collaboration Strategy Example
Get clear, this strategy is not:
“Hey, I’ve got an amazing product, will you try it, and post a picture on Insta?”
Yes, that is a great foundation, but not a way to create real leverage, and an influential marketing collaboration. Go back to the three funnels to profits we discussed: exposure, email list, and sales.
This is the fun part! Let your imagination go wild!
To fulfill the goal of exposure – to pump up your audience numbers – create a month-long campaign that is based on a 30-day challenge to Love The Skin You’re In!
This theme feeds both your business goal – selling skincare – and meeting the emotional need of your client – being cared for.
The 30-day social media challenge can be establishing a self-care regimen that feeds your skin from the inside out.
You can gather content that includes motivational quotes, healthy foods, and of course, all the lovely organic products from your line.
For this 30-day challenge to feed your goal of increasing the size of your email list, create a specific landing page, with its own URL: www.organicskincare.com/carechallenge.
The landing page can be a spin-off from your website, your collaborators’ website, or both. The goal is to have both of you represented, and an opt-in that will entice!
This is a great opportunity for giveaways, or to create an email group that you know is motivated by 30-day challenges, and is into organic products for self-care.
This also provides a great opportunity to sell cosmetics online and increase those sales by creating a specific package that will speak to your influencers’ audience.
Let’s go back to Christine Gutierrez and The Dreamcatcher Guest House. Is there a special package you could create for either of them?
Perhaps a special product that is named for Christine’s audience. She often refers to her followers as “Diosa,” which means goddess. This is a chance for organic coconut shimmering lotion, named….DIOSA!
If you want your to sell cosmetics online and have those sales be more focused on getting into the retreat and guest house market, and you put together a “Dreamcatcher” gift basket that is included in the fee of Christine’s retreat at the Dreamcatcher Guest House in Puerto Rico.
The examples above are just to plant ideas on how to collaborate to sell cosmetics online and do not need to be re-created verbatim for your business. There are endless creative solutions for you to collaborate with professionals that are NOT in your industry.
You cannot go wrong in your approach if you remember these two things:
- Find businesses beyond your industry that feed the SAME emotional needs of your customers
- Your approach should include the three funnels to profit: exposure, email list, and sales.
How to Sell Cosmetics Online Lesson 3: Creating a Virtual Experience
You have invested in the right business, now it’s time to catapult your brand by owning your own share of the market. One of my favorite cost-effective marketing strategies to sell cosmetics online is to position yourself as a thought leader by hosting a virtual tour.
Think of it as attending a conference on your phone or laptop. A 3, 5, or 7-day experience that your brand is hosting. It can be just an email, you have the option to include audio, and the most popular are pre-recorded videos.
You decide on the theme. You decide which influencers to invite, and how many.
You create a strategy which asks each collaborator to mention you to their audience.
Virtual Experience Themes
We will expand on the nitty-gritty of this process later on, first let’s help you figure out a theme to your tour.
Remember your customers’ four emotional needs that we talked about in the first chapter of this selling cosmetics online guide?
If you are going to sell cosmetics online, the needs of your customer is always a good starting point. They need to feel a benefit from the information you are offering. There is already so much noise out there, in order to stand out, you have to get into their heads and hearts.
- Feeling cared for.
- Feeling desirable.
- Creating rituals that make you feel special.
- Transforming your look to reflect who you want to be.
If these emotional needs don’t inspire you, don’t worry, with some research you can figure out how to position yourself for your customers’ benefit.
Virtual Tour Example
Let’s assume you are an organic skincare company that created a 3-day virtual tour with a theme of: Love The Skin You’re In.
This title meets several of your goals to sell cosmetics online:
- It meets all of your customers’ emotional needs.
- The theme of loving yourself subconsciously connects feeling good with your brand.
- This title is general enough that can invite influencers from several industries to collaborate – you’re casting a wide net.
The most powerful collaborations are well thought-out, it’s important you take ownership of this structure.
Decide a daily theme for your virtual experience. This helps your planning be concise, it also clearly communicate to your collaborator and customer. The more they know, the more willing they are to participate.
Let’s go back to the organic skincare company who is hosting this virtual tour. The daily themes for Love The Skin You’re In are:
When deciding your themes, and which influencers to invite, take these points into consideration:
- What is a powerful #hashtag that my collaborator and I can share?
- Which influencers can I see using and appreciating my products?
- Am I speaking directly to my customer, the one that will dig my product the most?
As the host and thought leader of this tour, I want you to think about how you can integrate your product, service, or knowledge throughout this entire thing. How will you integrate your ultimate goal to sell cosmetics online throughout your tour?
For the example of organic skincare, ingredients are a BIG DEAL, and also a hot topic in society. Every day of your virtual tour, be it in email, blog, audio or video form, should begin with your brand offering knowledge of ingredients.
Day 1: #MondayMotivation with Sarah Prudhomme can be centered around what she eats, how her skin responds to different foods, and a product from your brand’s skincare line will be integrated into the conversation.
That’s the beauty of selling cosmetics online, they are already part of the solution, it’s just a matter of teaching it to your audience, along with other helpful solutions.
Virtual Tour Structure
You can expect a successful virtual tour to take four weeks from start to finish. To help you not over complicate things, here is a simple guideline to get you started:
- Decide a theme
- Decide the length (3,5,7 days)
- Decide the medium (Blog or social media? Add audio? Add video?)
- Timeline: 1 week reach out, 1 week to put together content, 2 week promotion period, then launch
- Create an opt-in page for this event
- Create copy and digital images for your collaborators to share with their social media and email list
If you’re reading this and thinking this does not fit with your personality or business model, then I encourage you to be a guest on someone’s virtual tour. There is a burst of energy that comes with being a part of multiple businesses coming together with a common message.
In my own experience, my email list saw an increase of 2300 names, and my profits (book sales and coaching) increased by 19% in one quarter after being a part of two virtual tours.
How to Sell Cosmetics Online Lesson 4: Product Bundles
Earlier in this guide, we acknowledged the advantage of selling cosmetics online — it is a part of everyday life — which means less convincing on your part to sell your products.
Now, it’s just a matter of getting in front of your potential customer, then offering them a product that seamlessly fits into their self-care routine.
Rosaliz Jimenez, a Magazine Editor and Branding Consultant, who has worked at People StyleWatch, Redbook, and Self shares:
“For me personally, and what I’ve seen in my line of work, beauty and cosmetics products are also a form of self-care. I’m a cancer survivor and makeup was something that I used to help me feel well. For me, it was hard enough to feel sick- I did NOT want to look it.
My skin was yellow, my eyes were dark, and I just looked sick and tired. I went to a makeup artist to teach me how to NOT look sick. I used it as a therapeutic way, to not only lift my spirit, but to remind me of who I was/am- a sparkly, healthy and powerful woman. Even now, when I have the case of the ‘blahs’, a poppy red or pink lipstick always lifts my spirits.”
Beauty and cosmetics feed our need for an instantly feeling better.
The Magic Price Point for Cosmetics
Most beauty and cosmetics products fall in the magic price range of under $39.99.
Selling between $10 and $39.99 price point has been so effective that companies are basing their business models around it. Just take a look at Birchbox $10 a month subscription program, or Just Fab at $39.95 a month.
This magic price range to sell cosmetics online taps into your customer’s liquid income. There isn’t too much mental anguish when it comes to spending forty bucks or less. It’s a no-brainer.
Cosmetics and Beauty Product Bundles
Now, let’s figure out what kinds of bundles are right for your EXISTING customer.
We start with the people already invested in your product for a few reasons…
- They have already purchased from you
- It’s an opportunity to engage them by offering the product to them FIRST
- This allows you to use your existing customers as a focus group. What packages work, and what doesn’t work. This will lessen your risk of getting stuck with inventory that won’t move.
Even Forbes Magazine has published articles on the power of product-bundling as a selling strategy.
Bundling is pervasive in several markets, and it works in many cases says Vineet Kumar, an assistant professor in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School.
To sell cosmetics online, here are a few factors to consider when deciding your product bundles:
- What are your top 5 bestsellers?
- What is your most popular price point?
- How do your customers interact with your products? Do they apply it after a shower? Do you they put it on in the car? Do they carry it in their purse?
- What is easy to package and ship together without accruing too much cost or manpower?
Let’s take a look at Haven Beauty bundles have come about. Erin Dwyer, senior vice president of global e-commerce and social for Kardashian Beauty licensee at Haven Beauty shares:
We speculated Kontour Kase, followed by No Apologies Face Kit, and Lip Slayer Lipstick, would be the strongest sellers in the collection based on previous sales.
The contour kit is a natural home run. The face palette is also a contender because there is so much product in it, and the quality is really good. It’s a hefty product for what you get.
Haven Beauty determined an $8.99 to $16.99 price point for all of the above-mentioned bundles.
Don’t worry so much about creating THE PERFECT bundle. Instead, focus on creating the perfect OPPORTUNITY.
If you’re going to sell cosmetics online, you must be strategic with how you create and promote your bundles. During your soft launch save time, inventory, and money by engaging your current customer base by:
- Offering them an exclusive offer of bundles, not available for sale to the public!
- Offering a free bundle in exchange for taking a survey of how they interact with your product.
- Creating a flash sale promotion to sell a certain amount of bundles that make sense for your business financially.
You will learn so much from the initial push of your bundles, and this is when you fine-tune your product mix for the ultimate selling bundle.
Cosmetics Bundle Example
Let’s say you find out that your customer mostly applies her makeup on-the-go. Perhaps your bundle comes with a case to hold her makeup, or a cloth to put over her lap to keep her work outfit makeup-free.
Creating bundles for your customers is a great excuse to keep the conversation going, to create buzz, and to sell cosmetics online.
Who knows, perhaps this will feed your future subscription-based business!
How to Sell Cosmetics Online Lesson 5: Creating Viral Content
We are getting into our fifth strategy, and by now you’ve learned about finding the right influencers for cross-marketing opportunity, crafting a trifecta approach that integrates exposure, your email list, and sales, and taking your brand to rock-star status by curating and hosting a virtual experience. Then, we dialed it back and got cozy with your customers by testing which product bundles rock their world!
Now that you’ve got a good arsenal of content, it’s time to go viral!
You can zap your audience with all kinds of inspiration. For your campaign to have more of a chance to go viral, it’s wise and strategic to think about the personality of your brand.
Go Viral with Your Cosmetic Brand Personality
To get to know the personality of your brand, take into consideration what you want to convey to your customers (our brand is the place you go when you want to feel… trendy … healthy … sexy …. cared for).
Once you take an inventory of what you think is your brand’s personality, it’s wise to see if your customers’ point of view is in alignment.
This will help you uncover blind spots in your brand communication, be it messaging, visuals, product selection, or how you sell cosmetics online. Here are some questions to guide your reflection on how your customers perceive your brand’s personality:
What benefits does your brand deliver?
These are things like feeling confident, beautiful or sexy? Perhaps your brand helps people feel cared for, a safe place to de-stress? A good gift?
Do you keep the promises you make?
These include the features your product or service offers, and how you deliver them. Do you meet the deadline or delivery date (hot date, last-minute birthday present)? Do you include extras, or go above and beyond the ordinary? Do you find ways to add value when you sell cosmetics online?
Do you hit-it and quit-it?
How do you follow up after you’ve delivered? This covers aspects of your business like how you keep in touch, how you deal with problems that arise and how you nurture your business relationships over time.
Creating a viral campaign has a lot to do with your existing customer base. By getting to know their perception of you, it is easier to create an emotional pull. Viral campaigns are the ones that tug on people’s emotions. Often they are humorous, but they can also be sentimental. As you plan the campaign, make sure there is an emotional catch.
Real Life Example
For this chapter, we are going to build on what Rosaliz Jimenez, Magazine Editor and Brand Consultant, shared with us during the last chapter. Before I share her quote with you, I will tell you her market knowledge gives her the inside-scoop to sell cosmetics online. This is just as important as the fact that she is a real-life woman representing a consumer base that has a spending power of over $2 billion, just for beauty and cosmetic products.
In the last chapter, Rosaliz shared with us that she is a cancer survivor that used cosmetics in a therapeutic way. THIS is a perfect example of creating an inspirational campaign with a touching story that perfectly intertwines your brand as part of the uplifting solution.
Every year more than 1.6 million new cancer cases are added to the growing list of survivors. This number is only for the United States, per The American Cancer Society. Do you know how many women, and men, can be positively affected by a kit especially for those surviving with cancer!?
There are several causes out there that deserve attention, and that are already a part of your customers’ lives.
Know What Your Customer Expects from Your Beauty Brand
Do they want survivor stories, or are they looking for more clever content?
Maybe your audience is looking for fact-driven content – think documentary style.
It’s stories that sell to people. Especially if your products are part of the solution to feeling better.
You don’t necessarily have to reach out to your customers to get these stories, although that is a very smart and thoughtful way to engage them.
This is also an opportunity to show the personality behind your brand. Is there anyone on staff that has a personal story to share? Can you share their story, then launch a product or package named after them?
The beautiful thing about using storytelling as a campaign approach is that it offers you content to feed multiple platforms at the same time. If storytelling isn’t fitting right with your brand, then it’s time to take a more artistic approach.
This is a chance for your brand to have some fun and experiment with lip art, special effects makeup, or jaw-dropping before and after transformations — thanks to your products, services, and ideas! If you’re going to sell cosmetics online, you have to start thinking outside the box!
Get Inspired on Social Media
Don’t over complicate things – you can’t hit every soft spot, and give a voice to every cause. I’m going to share more wisdom from Rosaliz Jimenez to help you pump the breaks…
There are so many über creative makeup looks on social media. As an editor, we often look to social media for inspiration for beauty stories. We are looking for brands and MUA’s that are able to totally rethink how to use makeup, and can
create new techniques – like ‘lip art’- that make us look at our faces in a new way!
Wow your audience with what your products can do, like dramatic lip art -or- empowering a person dealing with cancer, depression, or loss.
Even if you don’t have the artistic ability on staff to make this happen, this is an opportunity to collaborate with artists like Jazmina Daniel and Gretta Agazzi. There are endless opportunities for creating a viral campaign true to your brand’s personality.
How to Sell Cosmetics Online The Final Lesson: Going Live
You don’t have to wait for HSN to come knockin’ at your door with a contract before getting in front of the camera with your product.
And, you certainly don’t have to model your time on YouTube Livestream, Facebook or Instagram Live like an infomercial to sell cosmetics online.
But, you do have to take into account your customer’s point of view when it comes to your brand.
Ask Your Beauty Customers What They Want
I’m a big believer in directly asking your customers what they want to learn from you, especially if you’re going to sell cosmetics online. If you post a general question across your social media feed and don’t get answers, don’t be surprised.
Engage your audience one-on-one by directing asking them in the comments of your posts. This will get your engagement numbers up and gives you the ability to use your following as a focus group.
Try Webinars for a Live Experience
When you incorporate webinars into your business model you have a wonderful opportunity to grow a segmented email list. With the right sales strategy, you will be able to curate your offerings to this list over time. This means converting clicks into cash at a steady rate!
As a beauty and cosmetics brand, you can easily fill up an annual content calendar, with a different live webinar for each month! That’s 12 reasons to connect live with your consumers!
In the busy world of the web, new and RELEVANT content keeps you fresh across all the feeds. It’s what makes you a contender with the big brands. Why not integrate live web presentations into the media you use to connect with your audience.
Ask 30-year-old Emily Weiss whether she runs her skincare line, Glossier, as a product company or as an online media company with a merchandising arm, and she replies, simply, Yes.
Glossier’s Instagram feed grew to 184,000 followers before Glossier even launched. I see all those readers as my co-conspirators, Weiss says. We’ve created a community around each woman discovering and defining her own idea of beauty and showing her how to do it through live web interactions.
From a consumer’s point of view, Darlene Lebron, NY Fashion Blogger, shares:
I can spend hours watching makeup tutorial Instagram and Youtube! It’s fun, and I am always wanting to find new products or techniques I can use personally, or share on my blog. I will say that I’ve bought products based on these tutorials in the past!
Both beauty brand owners and consumers agree, video content, live and recorded, are a powerful way to engage your audience and convert clicks into cash!
Here are key things to keep in mind when creating a campaign based on a live webinar:
Fill the need.
What is it that your customer wants to know about your brand? When you sell cosmetics online, you have to go beyond the products. Are they wanting to meet the people behind the awesome Instagram photos? Are they wanting to know how to use the latest highlighter?
Have a clear program.
Is this a makeup tutorial? Will you be showing how to pluck eyebrows? Are you teaching your audience about ingredients in their products?
Create an opt-in web page to capture emails for this specific event. This is a list you can grow and curate product offers to.
Sell without selling.
Your program should conclude with special offers, perhaps bundles, of the products that you used. This is a reason to follow up with email list you have from the viewers, it’s a great way to sell cosmetics online.
Replay and share.
Make sure to record and share this video with your network!
Going live is a great way for you to not hide behind your brand. Now that you’ve started to sell cosmetics online, it’s time to get in front of the camera with your products and skills. As always, if you don’t have the talent on board, then collaborate with those that are willing to get in front of the camera with your products!
Your consumers are looking for a way to connect, this is your opportunity to gain their trust.
Thank you for reading this “How to Sell Cosmetics Online” guide. I hope you enjoyed the content and gained some good tools for your own business! Ready to get started with your online cosmetics business and start selling? Get started with Selz today!