Amazon Launches Indie Beauty Shop
First, it was books. Then, it was groceries. And now, e-commerce juggernaut Amazon has recently launched… indie beauty? Yes. Whether you love it or loathe it, the website that changed the way we shop is changing the face of beauty. From here on in, emerging beauty brands will have the chance to reach the company’s 300 million customers at the click of a button.
Brands that have exhibited at Indie Beauty Expo are eligible to retail on Amazon’s Indie Beauty Shop, as are brands that are 50 percent owned by an independent operator, or are not carried in Ulta Beauty, Walmart or Target. Located within the Amazon Marketplace, Indie Beauty Shop charges brands $39 per month to exhibit their products, while also collecting 15 percent on sales within the Marketplace.
While the possible benefits of showcasing a younger brand to Amazon’s audience may be high, some brands worry that the indie experience that sets them apart may be lost in the Amazon shipping shuffle: Amazon is requiring Indie Beauty Shop brands to ship through Fulfillment by Amazon warehouses, surpassing the “small touches” many indie brands include when packing their products for customers.
Berlin Skin founder Monica Watson told Beauty Independent, “Although they do a fine job of getting products to your house safely, we really take pride in how we package our products. [Fulfillment By Amazon] is pulling us away from that experience. That was one of my biggest hesitancies. We use branded tape around boxes and put inserts into them, and customers take photos of them. It’s those touches that go a long way for people.” As a result, Berlin Skin has not yet made the commitment to retail on Indie Beauty Shop.
In addition, gaining traction on Amazon Marketplace is not a one-click solution. Amazon’s senior strategic business development leader, Justin Boettcher, advises brands new to the Marketplace dedicate 30 percent of their e-commerce sales to advertising at first, backing down to 15 percent as they gain traction. He advises against having a brand employee dedicated to Amazon until their brand is proven out, reaching at least $1 million in sales on Amazon.
While Indie Beauty Shop provides a new opportunity for indie brands to reach a massive audience, many brands are not equipped to succeed on the platform without help. As with everything Amazon, the e-tailer continues to deliver myriad blessings—and as many possible drawbacks. Time will tell how small, independent brands flourish on the Indie Beauty Shop, and how consumer spending habits dictate where, and how, they should be retailed.
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