Buying What You Can’t Smell: How Cosmetic Companies Have Shifted Online

For years, consumers have gone to the makeup counter where they’re able to try on an assortment of foundation, lipsticks, eyeshadows, eyeliners and mascaras to find their perfect fit. With COVID-19, this method of buying cosmetics is a thing of the past, and makeup companies have had to switch to digital commerce. How is an industry so centred on customer interaction able to make the change? By adopting and utilizing trends and technology to market and sell their products to customers.


Like every other industry, cosmetics have had to utilize consumer trends to sell their wares to customers. With the rise of technology, cosmetic companies are finding a new world full of opportunities and rewards that go hand-in-hand with risks and challenges the industry has never seen before. Social media platforms, influencers and customer input allow companies to get their products in-front of at-home consumers like never before.

The Rise of Social Media

Social media lends itself to everyone becoming a model in their own mind, and cosmetic companies are finding they need to look at popular trends when formulating and marketing products. Bold brows, full lips and perfectly matte faces are social media mainstays that allow anyone with a Beauty Blender to create eye-catching looks worthy of a magazine spread, and smart cosmetic manufacturers look at what social media’s currently pushing. Most social media is used on mobile, and mobile e-commerce accounts for 45 percent of US ecommerce sales last year – the upward trends with social media usage are clear.

Influencer Influence

Before the rise of social media, consumers went to a cosmetics counter salesperson or makeup artist to learn how to properly apply their makeup to create a trendy look. Now, customers simply turn to their favourite beauty influencer.

From James Charles to Nikki Tutorials, influencers dominate the makeup industry with application techniques to reviews featuring swabs and tutorials in order to let consumers know which products work—and which don’t. A negative review may cost a company millions in potential sales while a positive assessment may make a product an overnight staple. Look at Kylie Jenner losing snapchat $1.3 Billion in stock price with a single tweet for the power of influencers.

Diversity and Inclusivity

The seemingly flawless, white, size 8, 20-something makeup models of old are becoming a thing of the past, with more and more companies featuring women of every skin type, race, age and size to advertise their wares and create a more personalized shopping experience. Consumers are looking for companies who use models who look like them, and the success of companies like Fenty is proof that diversity and inclusivity are two prime factors consumers consider when purchasing cosmetics.

How the Cosmetics Industry is Revolutionizing the Online Buying Experience

Nothing is more personalized than makeup. Users must take their skin’s type and In 2017, U.S. e-commerce beauty sales grew by 1.6 billion U.S. dollars while brick and mortar beauty sales decreased by approximately 168 million U.S. dollars. shade into consideration when deciding which colours and consistencies will work for them. The cosmetic industry was probably one of the last tradespeople who thought could effortlessly transition to the digital world, but doubters have been proven wrong.

How to Succeed in the Digital Cosmetics World

Succeeding in the digital world as a cosmetics company isn’t necessarily hard; it just requires a different skill set and marketing method to reach consumers than what was used in the past. Makeup companies can now focus on technology to collect customer data, directly connect with their consumers, facilitate digital try-on and produce online content.

Personalized Data

Data drives the tech industry, and the cosmetics industry is no different. Makeup companies frequently utilize detailed questionnaires to collect customer data via user profiles, giveaways and chatbots to better connect their customers with products they’ll actually love and use. They also can use their social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to collect analytical data, including age, sex and location, to create detailed consumer profiles that can be used for marketing campaigns based around influencers and products their target demographic is most likely to watch and use.

Connect with Customers

Companies can personally connect with consumers like never before, especially with the rise of chatbots, and concerning the cosmetic industry, they’re a game-changer. Consumers expect the ability to reach companies instantly and at all hours of the day to facilitate personal connections with the brands they love, and chatbots allow these connections to flourish. Chat bots are also expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2022, meaning they

In the cosmetics industry, chatbots can help thousands of customers simultaneously select the right products and colours for their skin tone and type, find answers to questions they may have about formulations and application techniques and make a purchase or a return, all with a few keystrokes and a couple of clicks.

Digital Try-Ons

Because customers aren’t able to see how a product looks on their face in person, many cosmetic companies are turning to digital programs that allow customers to “try on” products using their mobile’s camera. Customers can test everything from foundation to eyelashes to lipsticks in order to find the right product for them. While the technology isn’t perfect for this system (pictures and questionnaires are still considered the standard), many companies are working hard to work out system bugs to make these systems as reliable as in-person consultations.

Online Content

Due to the rise in social media, influencers and beauty blogs, companies are finding online content practically generates itself; however, many are also choosing to produce their content via blog posts and video tutorials featuring makeup artists, celebrities, influencers and other industry experts who clearly explain how to use a product in addition to other content like product launches and giveaways. A strong online presence is necessary for companies to get their products in front of consumers, and content is king to accomplish this.

Book a demo with us to learn more about how to take advantage of the switch to digital.

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