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5 takeaways for brands and retailers considering a beauty launch

A bold red lip and a sleek handbag; statement earrings and a swipe of eyeshadow. Fashion and beauty have been hand-in-hand for decades, and while the space may seem crowded, the global beauty sector is predicted to be worth $69 billion by 2025 (Altagamma, 2021). This would make it the second-largest category within the global personal luxury market, after leather goods but ahead of apparel. This fast-growing sector has room for more, but to successfully enter the category, technology, community, and a clear point of view must be your north star.

Here, fresh on the heels of launching FARFETCH Beauty in April 2022, we’ll outline the steps to consider before launching a beauty vertical. The debut of FARFETCH Beauty followed the acquisition of Los Angeles-based luxury cosmetics retailer Violet Grey and coincided with the wider FARFETCH Group's existing beauty offerings of Browns and Off-White. 

Here are five key factors to consider no matter where your brand is in its beauty journey.

1. Prioritize community-driven reviews

Reviews move product. While influencer culture's stronghold on the cosmetics world doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, the popularity of consumer trust in review-based content is unmatched. When done correctly, how-to videos and product reviews foster consumer confidence in purchase decisions and drive demand generation and site traffic, with conversion rates increasing by as much as 65% (BazaarVoice).

Reviews and ratings add authenticity, authority, and depth when browsing on page but garnering original reviews is consumer-dependent and requires engagement in the early stages of a website. So depending on the site’s existing audience, ramping up presents a set of challenges. 

Luxury retail websites powered by FARFETCH Platform Solutions (FPS) have exclusive access to a third-party platform partnership to collect and publish reviews from genuine voices in the brand’s community. Enabling ratings and reviews is a core feature of FPS’ beauty offerings and integration. 

2. Invest in virtual try-ons 

As augmented reality becomes more realistic (and consumers come to expect technological capabilities from brands), the potential payoff is ripe for retailers willing to invest in the technology. According to our platform partner BazaarVoice, virtual try-on has proven to positively influence purchase intent and engagement by over 30%. And when done right, virtual try-ons can unlock digital sales while boosting conversions and decreasing returns.

Shopping is an experience that goes beyond a transaction—and AR perfectly compliments the in-store experience of browsing shades of lipsticks or nail polish, considering how colors will look against your skin tone. Piggybacking off of the success of our virtual try-on offerings with luxury sneakers, our first foray of bringing our technology to our cosmetics vertical is eye shadow. 

Virtual try-ons should live alongside detail-rich product pages, customer reviews, and brand photography. Tap into shopping behaviors of Gen Z by making virtual try-ons easily shareable on social platforms and experimenting with AR offerings. Collectively, each element works to deepen the online experience and consumer closeness with the brand. 

3. Merging beauty and fashion

The importance of a clear and easy-to-navigate user experience can’t be understated, especially when introducing a new category of offerings. So while beauty can (and should) live as its own item on the homepage navigation, thinking of it as a siloed classification can stifle sales. 

Inspiration is the key to cross-selling, which is why beauty should be integrated into the core womenswear and menswear offering. While there are e-commerce giants in both the luxury fashion and cosmetics world, the opportunity is there for brands who excel at curating and showcasing the two categories in a single integration. Pairing a tailored blazer with men’s cologne or suggesting an on-trend lipstick alongside evening wear naturally ties it all together. In the end, it is about context, convenience, and cohesiveness in the experience. 

4. Focus on product groupings 

Fashion retailers have understood the need for product groupings for years. From colorways on sneakers to band choices on an Apple Watch, customers need a bird’s-eye view of the product range to feel confident enough to hit purchase. Grouping is a fundamental feature in the cosmetics world, too. Take, for example, a tube of lipstick, which could easily have more than 40 shades within the same formula. When product groupings are a core website feature, customers can quickly discover the small-yet-important difference between a coral red hue and a shade with more orange-y undertones—and be more confident about which pairs well with the dress already in their shopping bag. This example extends into the high-margin category of fragrance, and upselling is easier when volumes and pricing are easily compared. Quick discovery leads to quicker purchases.

At FPS, we take our partner’s catalog of offerings and provide the tools and services needed for the easiest possible setup and website integration to bring the groupings forward in a way that is consumer-friendly. 

5. Plan for order consolidation

Is the lower price point of cosmetics putting a dent in your margins? Or holding you back from entering the category altogether? The solution is a two-prong approach. First, order consolidation is necessary to help offset fixed shipping costs. Negotiated rates with shipping providers help, but consolidation is needed to win the margin game. And second, natural upselling across categories can help to increase average order volumes and overall profits. 

With three solutions-based offerings, Logistics by FPS is ready to help brands and retailers navigate everything from end-to-end logistics to shipping and order management. Together we develop a plan to help you increase demand as you grow your consumer base, leverage new sales opportunities, and fulfill international orders with a single integration to our platform.

What sets the FARFETCH approach to beauty apart is our unique retail model, strong tech roots, and approach to community building. Beauty brands working with FPS will have our solutions assortment and industry-leading expert knowledge at their fingertips. From running brand websites and in-store apps to global payments and cross-border shipping, FARFETCH Platform Solutions is the ideal partner to help strengthen or kickstart a beauty journey. Reach out today to learn more about how FARFETCH Platform Solutions drives success for small and large beauty brands. 


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