The New Beauty Store Frontier

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In Monday's Daily Digital from Women’s Wear Daily—the fashion industry trade journal sometimes called "the bible of fashion”—beauty writer Ellen Thomas delved into a new collection that L’Oréal Paris is launching on Amazon and e-commerce retail prior to its brick-and-mortar rollout.

The article, titled "Amazon Can Be Marketing Tool for Mass Skin-care Brands," notes that beauty sales in the mass market have not shown growth, so that brands traditionally selling in mass market and drugstores are now beginning to shift product launch strategies toward rollouts to Amazon, e-commerce, and specialty retail first.

“Launching products online first or in retailers such as Ulta is one way to introduce trendy, of-the-moment products outside the planogram reset schedules of traditional retailers — especially in the social-media-driven makeup category.”

– Ellen Thomas

Thomas adds that skincare sales have not languished as much as beauty in the mass market, but drugstores continue to have a foot traffic problem as shoppers are spending more and more time shopping online: “For key mass skin-care launches, going online or to Amazon first is a way to drum up marketing buzz and consumer awareness before hitting drugstore aisles.”

The L’Oréal Paris collection referenced is a treatment collection called Revitalift Derm Intensives, which contains a 10% Pure Vitamin C Concentrate and 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. The products contain active ingredients that are pervasive in prestige brands but not typically found in drugstore skincare. They are rolling out online and will be available on Amazon and other e-commerce retailers by October 1, with wider retail distribution come November.

Amazon analysts told Thomas that there are many benefits to launching a mass skin-care product on Amazon prior to rolling it out to drug and mass brick-and-mortar distribution.

“Amazon is not just a sales platform — it’s also a marketing platform."

– Pete Andrews, Director of Insights at One Click Retail

Andrews further described the modern consumer experience: “If you think about looking at new products on a shelf, one of the first things you do is go on Amazon and see the reviews that are up. If that item is not online and you can’t find any reviews, you’re less trusting of those items. The strategy is, ‘Let’s get our items out there and get some customer reviews on these so that when we launch in store, people can say, ‘Hey, these are great products for these reasons that other people are saying.’”

“Mass skincare in general is a hot category on Amazon. It is the top category within beauty, and sales grew 35 percent in the second quarter of 2018, according to data from One Click Retail.”

– Ellen Thomas

Andrews gave more detail on the types of people who purchase skincare items, pointing out that there are two distinct shoppers: “One is, ‘I find the product that is best for me and I continue to use that same product over and over again,’ and the other is a person always looking for the next best thing to see what works for their skin. Amazon plays well to both of these shoppers.”

All of which is to point to the ever-growing importance of Amazon as an advertising platform and the value of optimizing your Amazon advertising. 

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