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Set your brand apart online, give your ecommerce a makeover
01 July 2024

The Ecommerce Makeover: A Guide for Online Health and Beauty Brands, the latest guide from BigCommerce, explores market trends, technologies, and success stories – from beauty brands such as Molton Brown, Charlotte Tilbury and Dr. Barbara Sturm – to help retailers drive up revenue, customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The online health and beauty market is full of opportunities for retailers. Despite the current economic challenges, European Commission figures show one in six consumers regularly make health and beauty purchases, rising to one in five Millennials.

To tap into this demand, brands must become more competitive and distinctive, by finding ways to set themselves apart and grow. In this context ecommerce is a promising area for growth. According to a McKinsey research, the global health and beauty ecommerce industry is in the process of doubling from 6% per year in 2022 to 12% in 2027.

The key to online success is to tap into what the modern, typically younger, health and beauty shopper expects from their online shopping experiences. BigCommerce has been enabling health and beauty brands across the globe to establish ecommerce operations that are flexible and speedy, so they can adapt to these new consumer behaviours, bring new brands into the fold and open new markets, at pace.

This guide unfolds what BigCommerce has learned and developed in recent years to empower its clients in the four strategic areas of omnichannel commerce, online experience, customer loyalty and business expansion.

1. Leverage omnichannel commerce

This probably doesn’t sound new but the main evolution since the pandemic is that it’s not just about being visible everywhere. The new norm is to be able to sell everywhere and to everyone that is relevant to your brand, at the same time.

Social selling, in particular, presents an opportunity for beauty brands. Social platforms are a continuous source of inspiration and discovery for shoppers. But recent Satista research shows that consumers are also  increasingly interested in buying directly on their preferred platforms.

This means today’s retailers need to sell through own-brand stores, websites and apps, as well as on social media channels and third party marketplaces and search engines, such as Amazon or Google.

Managing feeds and catalogue is complex but technology can help create these multiple direct paths to purchase while maintaining the brand consistency across channels and provide consumers with the seamless online experiences they are demanding.

2. Create beautiful online experiences

One of the main challenges for retailers today is to build online experiences that are both convenient and engaging. It’s especially challenging for health and beauty brands since many products rely on testing, smelling or touching, and consumers may be used to the support of an in-store sales team to advise them.

To bring the offline experience to the virtual world, many retailers focus on offering relevant content in various shapes such as Jentri Quinn Makeup & Skin which create videos and share them daily on TikTok to close that bridge between off and online retail.

Personalisation is another key element of the online experience. Dr. Barbara Sturm's website is a great example of what can be done, offering both personalised consultations and AI-powered search recommendations, which creates continuity with what the brand offers in its brick-and-mortar stores.

All online experiences can drive up conversion rates but the most impactful is at the checkout. It must be frictionless to avoid the dreadful abandoned carts rate going up. According to Statista figures, 85% of health and beauty carts are abandoned. One reason could be high shipping fees or having to set up an account, according to a Baymart Institute study. But the good news is that some ecommerce platforms easily allow merchants to build a convenient checkout that not only converts but also gets consumers more willing to return and purchase again.

3. Build customer loyalty

Shopper loyalty is essential to ensure continuous revenue generation. For health and beauty products it means first making sure to align with customer expectations. Research from Provenance shows that 90% of consumers consider sustainability when buying health and beauty products and 79% have difficulty trusting brands’ sustainability claims. It is therefore essential to be transparent and show tangible proof of your efforts online.

You can then put in place loyalty programmes, including memberships and subscriptions, which are often a great way to ensure consistent revenue, and are particularly convenient for shoppers who need to buy specific health and beauty products on a regular basis.

4. Expand beyond markets and frontiers

Once a brand is set up and running smoothly online, the aim will probably be to grow.

For health and beauty brands, it is often relevant to diversify audiences, starting to sell to niche markets or to B2B/DTC audiences, or to expand into new markets where you may have noticed signs of growing demand.

When it comes to expansion, and the added complexity that accompanies growth in new markets, many brands turn to composable commerce. Molton Brown is another example, featured in this guide, of a retailer that has taken such a composable approach, choosing BigCommerce to enable localised operations for each new market, leading to an efficient international expansion starting with Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

It’s now your turn to give your brand an online glow-up!

Download The Ecommerce Makeover: A Guide for Online Health and Beauty Brands.


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