The cosmetics and personal care is an emerging market. It is considered to be a part of such industry groups which have always been in demand. The cosmetic industry keeps on expanding with time creating a number of opportunities for new entrepreneurs. The increase in the variety of products is a big advantage on both sides of the trade i.e. for the customers as well as the manufacturers. Over the past few decades, the cosmetic market is growing at a rapid pace. According to market research, the U.S cosmetic market is expected to generate revenue of $429.8 billion by the end of 2022. Therefore, if you are thinking about starting a cosmetic business, there is a great potential for growth provided you proceed in a planned way.
We are living in an era of social technology. Due to continuous development in internet and eCommerce platform, a number of cosmetic brands have moved towards online selling of product rather than creating a physical store. By having your own eCommerce cosmetic business you can get a good exposure to a huge audience, which keeps on expanding. By using secure eCommerce solutions, you can create an easy-to-use website, subscription boxes, connect with social media channels and various other services to make your products accessible in just a few clicks. Therefore, getting into an online business is a wonderful idea with unlimited opportunities for growth. All you have to do is to take a proper start in a planned way to ensure the smooth running of your online business. Here we are going to discuss a complete guide to help you in starting an eCommerce business for cosmetics:
Step 1: Learn How an eCommerce Cosmetic Business Work
The first step before starting any type of business is to gather all the details about it and understand how it works. There are different ways to do so. If any of your friend, relative or any colleague has been in online cosmetic business from years, you can seek his help. Otherwise, Google will give a perfect answer to your entire questions. Make a Google search. Study a few popular cosmetic businesses like Sephora, MAC and Estee Lauder and figure out how they operate. Try to get knowledge about their strategies and business operations. Figure out some of the basic questions like:
- Where their products come from?
- If they manufacture the products, what processes are involved in it?
- How many employees they have? How do their distribution channels look like?
- What’s the structure of their eCommerce website?
- Which strategies do they use for digital marketing of their cosmetic brand?
Once you have gathered information about your business area, try to get familiar with their marketing, staff, suppliers, product categories and sales tactics. In fact, be aware of everything which may help you in becoming one of the most successful online cosmetic businesses in the world.
Step 2: Create a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is one of the most important steps in starting a business. Some of the new entrepreneurs think that it is not necessary to develop a business plan in the case on eCommerce businesses but thinking of it at the start can save you from a number of upcoming troubles and confusions. Have you ever thought why various cosmetic businesses fail? It’s not because they lack customers rather the reason is they lack planning. In the past few years, its growth rate is continuously increasing worldwide with an increase in the number of potential buyers. More customers mean more need for cosmetics but everything has to be carried in a planned way to be successful in the market. Even if you are going to operate online, a well-developed business plan provides you a road map for the following activities:
- The mission and objectives of your eCommerce business.
- Highlights your target market.
- Analyze start-up cost and funding plan.
- At which point there will be a breakeven?
- What revenue do you expect to earn in the first few years?
- Details about marketing strategies.
- eCommerce models and templates.
Although creating a business plan is challenging but it saves a lot of time, hassle and money spent on useless activities. By making all the decisions ahead of time, you can ensure that nothing is missed. And it’s the point where you actually start understanding your business in a practical way. Even after you have started operating your business, a professional business plan keeps you guiding throughout all phases effectively.
Step 3: Discover the Earning Potential and Set a Budget
If you want to know how much money an eCommerce cosmetic business generates, you have to analyze various situations. Different types of business models have different operating expenses as well as different earning potential. for example, if you decide to work from home, you can earn a pre-decided commission on selling each of your products. In the case of creating an online cosmetic store, you can earn an affiliate commission with your wholesalers depending upon your sale. Whereas, if you decide to manufacture all the products on your own, definitely the profit margin will be more but you have to invest more in manufacturing & inventory. Thinking of an estimated budget is a part of the business plan, but afterward, you have to make a detailed analysis of your budget and expenses. Begin with the startup cost, recurring expenses, and the amount needed for advertising and marketing campaigns. To increase the traffic to your eCommerce website, you have to analyze the cost for SEO and other digital marketing methods.
Step 4: Decide Which Products to Offer
Choose what you have a passion for. The cosmetic industry is full of various types of products like makeup, beauty care, mineral cosmetics, hair, and skin care, etc. So it is important to decide which products your online business will offer. If you want to take a small start, choose a particular area of your expertise or interest. For example, if you know something about organic makeup, mineral cosmetics, or lip care products, you can choose them as your niche. Concentrate on different areas of cosmetics so that you can run your business well. Don’t be afraid of exploring new items, but remember what your potential customers want. It is recommended not to sell too many products in the initial days of your business. Once you gain expertise and your eCommerce store starts selling, extend your product range accordingly.
Step 5: Find Best Suppliers
Suppliers play an important role in determining the success or failure of your brand. First of all, you have to decide that you will manufacture the cosmetics on your own or purchase it from a wholesale supplier. After analyzing both the options, you have to decide your suppliers accordingly.
Some beauty and skin care products are easy to make like lip balms, face oils and bath products. You can easily manufacture them for your online cosmetic store. Test them carefully and document your process, so that if you extend your business, the formula remains the same. Most of the top businesses prefer to make their own products from scratch. For this purpose, they need to purchase a number of ingredients from the suppliers and establish premises to manufacture the products. Such setup requires a large investment but has a greater profit margin.
Another option is to purchase the cosmetics from a wholesale manufacturer and sell them on your eCommerce store. In this case, finalize your suppliers carefully. Ask for samples and gather reviews about them. Changing your suppliers, again and again, can affect the quality of your products. So, analyze various suppliers at the start and finalize the one who provides a perfect combination of cost and quality.
Step 6: Packaging and Labeling for cosmetics
The role of packaging and labeling in determining the success of your brand can never be ignored. If you are a manufacturer of your cosmetic brand, then you have to work on packaging and labeling of your products. On the other hand, if you purchase the products from a wholesaler, then it’s not an issue of concern. The way you present your products matters for the customers.
Cosmetic boxes play a significant role in this regard. They represent your brand through professional design and communicate all the important information like colors, expiry dates, and instructions to use. Cosmetic boxes provide ultimate protection to all the products especially if they keep the fragile items like eye-shadows and pressed powders away from breakage. Each country has its own regulations about the labeling of products. You should be aware of that before finalizing your cosmetic packaging. It’s necessary to mention the weight, volume, ingredient listing, and other safety/allergy warnings to facilitate customers. You can also integrate a QR Code on your packaging and labeling that will lead customers to your website with just a quick scan of their smartphones. Just look for any dynamic QR code generator available online. Design the packaging on your own or get cosmetic boxes by TheCustomBoxes to meet your packaging requirements.
Step 7: Build an eCommerce Website
Once you have finalized the way you will operate your business, it’s the time to build an eCommerce website for your cosmetic brand. The website should be highly attractive to inspire a large number of customers. You have two options in this case. Either hire a web designer to create a professional eCommerce website for your cosmetic brand or you can do it on your own by using an online template. Such online templates have facilitated the designing phase. Even if you do not have technical skills, you can create your own website by just a few clicks of the mouse. Following instructions should be kept in mind while creating the eCommerce website:
Your passion for beauty should be reflected in the website design
Creating a well-designed website is the first step to attract customers and drive your sales. Design the website in the way to reflect your passion for cosmetics and beauty products. Use fascinating colors and images to target customers. Keep your website updated by posting the images of the latest products. The layout of your website should be highly professional and easy to use by the customers.
Use Interesting Themes and Templates
There are a number of eCommerce platforms which provide you with the facility of online themes and templates to design your website. They provide premium quality templates for your online store which perfectly fit your business. You can get a trial version or purchase the template for permanent use. The templates are designed with advanced features and various add-on options. The guidelines are provided by experts. Each theme has its own added advantage to serve the clients with the best quality stuff.
Highlight your Website with a Brand Name and Logo:
In this competitive world of eCommerce, brand differentiation has become a critical factor to success. Decide a unique brand name and attractive logo to create more recognition about your brand. This gives a complete look to your eCommerce website. You should use a similar logo on the cosmetic boxes. It is a useful tactic to promote your brand among a large number of target customers.
Introduce Well-known Payment Options
For the efficient running of your eCommerce business, it is necessary to introduce well-known payment options like PayPal. It’s a good way to build trust between your brand and the customers and establish a good reputation. In addition, it is also necessary to ensure that all the taxes are set-up properly and they are in accordance with the legal authorities.
Step 8: Start Selling Cosmetic Online
Once the layout of your eCommerce website is complete, update it with the images and details of your products. For selling your cosmetics online, you should create a highly attractive eCommerce store. It should be easy-to-use by the customers. Moreover, the customers should be directed to other pages on a single click. You need not to copy any of the popular online stores like L’Oreal. Just develop your own identity to win a special place in the hearts of customers.
Your website should be well-organized. Arrange the products in different categories to facilitate customers in finding one of their choices. For example, the products like foundation, primer, mascara, and eye shadows, etc. should be arranged in the category of beauty products whereas skin oils, lotions, and cleansers etc. should be under the category of skin care products. Such an arrangement not only gives a professional look but also directs customers to the required products without wasting their time.
A simple add-to-cart button should be properly displayed below every product. The customers should be provided with a user-friendly information form for giving shipping details. All such tactics play an important role in increasing your sales.
Step 9: Promote Your eCommerce Business
Promoting your business effectively is a necessary part to obtain a special position in the marketplace. As it’s an online cosmetic business so traditional ways of advertisement like printing flyers, banners and electronic media marketing may prove insufficient in some cases. You have to promote your brand by using web marketing. Web marketing is a branch of marketing which uses the Internet as an advertisement channel. Social media marketing, website, and email marketing are included in it. Below are some of the most frequently used ways to promote your eCommerce business for cosmetics
Advertise on Social Media Platforms
In the era of social networking, it has become mandatory for eCommerce businesses to promote them on various social media websites. Creating an online store is not sufficient unless people become aware of it.
Market your cosmetic business on Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Make a company page on Facebook and Twitter. Try to gather more followers. You may also post videos and tutorials on YouTube. Spend a modest budget on carrying out influencer marketing. With the help of influencer marketing, you can put your products in front of the internet’s most influencing users.
Show off your products by giving them creative looks on social networking sites. Post regularly and try to engage your audience in using interactive content. Creating your own community around the brand is an effective way to win customers’ loyalty.
Not every eCommerce cosmetics site has a blog and it’s a big mistake. Blogs make it easy to create a community of loyal customers. There is a great chance that people like to read your posts prior to making a purchase decision. This helps them in getting more information about the product and your brand. If they get inspired by your content, they share it with other people who might be interested in your business. Thus by doing this, you can generate a number of followers and potential customers to your website. The blog posts should be related to your product and provide useful information.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization is necessary, especially in the case of online businesses. SEO is defined as the process of increasing the visibility of a website/webpage in a web’s search engine. Sometimes the potential customers do not find your store unless they are directed through a search engine and other websites.
The website which is ranked high in the search engine automatically appears in the search as the customer enters any similar word. Therefore you have to rank your business high in the user’s search engine to direct more visitors to your website and drive the eCommerce sales.
Starting an eCommerce business for cosmetics may seem a little bit overwhelming but if these steps are carried in a right way, the process will not be difficult for you. Once you have established your online business, there are unlimited growth opportunities and high chances of profitability in this particular market segment.