How to Sell Make-Up and Cosmetics Online: A Basic Guide

Posted on 17.10.2017
Written by Eva Ciga

You must agree starting your own online cosmetics shop is difficult. Do you agree?

Yes, you do that is why you are here. When searching for a lipstick online the search pops up 200 different brands available online. The truth is that any one of those products might sell 20 different brands of lipsticks. All of them promise long lasting effects without the need of touching it up during the day. Therefore, as a customer you are stuck with a problem there is too many to choose.

However, for a budding make-up and cosmetic entrepreneur entering the beauty market, this is a challenge. The question is, “Is there really room for one more Cosmetic retailer online?” As a newbie, how are you going to stand out in this crowded market and still entice users to buy from your cosmetic shop?

Well, we have the answer right here on how to sell make-up and cosmetics online by using our basic guide.

How to Sell your Make-up and Cosmetics Online

Whether you’re planning to sell brand-name cosmetics or creating your own unique make-up brand, the internet is a wonderful place to start your business. Now, do not get us wrong, it is an easy way to get your brand out there, but not as simple as posting it to the internet and hoping for sales to roll in. It takes hard work and dedication with loads of patience to get results.

However, there are some simple steps you can follow to achieve great results. Using the internet reaches millions of prospective clients. Let us give you an insight to some great secrets to help you out:

1. What do you plan to sell?

Yes, we agree the beauty industry is huge, but you too can enjoy a slice of the pie. First, you need to get yourself a mug of Joe and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your idea different from what is currently available on the market?
  • Have you recognized the market you plan to sell your products and how are you going to reach them?
  • Do you know what the emerging trend is?
  • Are you trying to create a new trend around a product already sold online and how will your branding help you to achieve the goal?

If you have answered the question above, then it is time to take the next step in getting your cosmetic shop up and running.

2. Are you making, manufacturing, or selling white label products?

Making products – making certain products at home is simple like bath products and lip balms. The important thing is to document the process, making sure your product formulation stays consistent. Whether you are using your kitchen, remember to follow local guidelines in manufacturing cosmetics to avoid any issues with authorities.

Manufacturing from scratch – here we’re talking about making the formulation from scratch in a facility designed for manufacturing cosmetics. Certain products you can make at home while other makeup brands such as mascara need the help of chemists to get the right formulation. Here you can look at a list of cosmetic manufacturers available in the USA, as an example.

White Label  these are items generically manufactured and only has minor customization in the color and fragrance. This type of products packaged under your own branding. These are great options for novelty concepts and unique brandings. For instance, if you have a butterfly themed store, your private label on lipsticks will be butterfly packaging. Here you can find reading material available from the Private Label Cosmetics Manufacturer Directory.

Re-sell  here you can sell multiple brands available to give your customer a great shopping experience. Think of organic products, local brands, or natural products.

If you are not interested in any of this, hold on tight, there is a section later on about drop-shipping that might be of interest to you!

3. Think of the packaging

This is another important thing to consider as packaging represents your brand. Further, it protects your cosmetic items from breakage. With the correct information on the packaging, it communicates important information your customer needs to know from:

  • The expiry date
  • Ingredients used
  • And usage instructions

More importantly, each country has their own set of governing rules when it comes to packaging, especially beauty products. The best place to start is with your local government for the best information. Here you can contact look at the Cosmetic Labeling US Guide for more information related to labeling your products. Further, read the FDA Authority over Cosmetics to get a better idea of how cosmetics are not FDA-approved and only FDA-regulated if you are based in the US. Every market has its own variation of the FDA, and quite difficult to list them all here.

4. Set Up Your Online Shop

You may wonder where you go to now, as there are loads of places you found online to start up your online shop. We are here to tell you, “Do not stress about it.” We have the solution for you available here. One of the most widely used options is to start up your own online store and another is using a 3rd party online marketplace.

The most rewarding is definitely starting up your own online store. It takes that little more effort into finding the correct setup but it is not as complicated as it seems. A few things to consider:

  1. The design is important, but to start, simply go to Theme Forest and pick an awesome design for just EUR10, it is crazy true but I promise you, you will find a super responsive design for your shop. It would work great on mobile, PC and tablet – just want you need.
  2. There are tons of platforms out there that allow you to create an entire store with a few clicks, but, they end up charging a lot, a lot in terms of fees – some retain a % of your revenue, which is not good. WordPress is the answer. Use a hosting provider that provides an easy install of WordPress for less than EUR 7 a month (such as Dreamhost). Upload the WordPress design theme you purchased from Theme Forest – and voila! Other eCommerce platforms that deliver this kind of service can charge easily EUR30 + a percentage of your revenue. Such a simple setup won’t cost you more than EUR25, which includes a domain name!
  3. Shopping cart – you need a shopping cart of course.WooCommerce is a plugin you can add to WordPress. It will add a shopping cart to your store in a few clicks.

This is a 1st rated e-commerce website with the best templates available created around makeup and cosmetic retail online. It will only take you a couple of minutes to get started and you have 14-day to enjoy playing around on the site before you actually commit. To help you out further, you can use the EasyTabs app to create tabs on your pages making it less cluttered.

5. Do not forget to enhance your pages with images

Use large and clear images to enhance your product pages with a clean background. You could do the following when using Shopify as your marketplace:

  • You can check out the Shopify app store for great apps to use
  • Use the Lookbook app to display large lifestyle images on your site
  • Use the EasyVideo app to embed video content into your pages
  • Give your customers a virtual reality try to experience what they are buying before actually buying it with the Makeup Magic Mirror
  • Choose a great theme from the theme store at Shopify

6. It is time to start marketing your brand

There is one thing we can agree on the beauty markets challenging. This is why the next step is very important you need to market your brand. The fact remains that social media is the best marketing strategy available online this includes product reviews. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool to get your cosmetic brand known online. You can:

  • Work with beauty influencers such as bloggers, Instagrammers, and vloggers – you can do this by sending them a product for a review.
  • Invest in creating natural and unique content with lifestyle photos, video shoots and feature them on Instagram
  • Look at an app like Social Photos to showcase your products when used on different face shapes and skin tones and remember to use that #

Marketing your brand is the best solution to ensure your cosmetic online shops noticed. With the word of mouth from customers using your product, it can only lead to a great customer experience and growth in your business.

7. Make use of a drop shipped service 

With a drop shipping service such as Oberlo, you can import products directly into your own e-commerce store and have it shipped directly to your customer. The benefits are outstanding as you can:

  • Add your products with ease and ship it out to your customer with a few clicks and the great news is it works with your Shopify store
  • You can spend more time on growing your business as Oberlo fulfills orders automatically
  • With the app, your inventory and prices are kept up-to-date with the auto-updates in place
  • While editing your products it changes the titles, images, and descriptions
  • Further, it creates pricing rules and prices your goods in bulk
  • Easily keep track of the orders with the shipment tracking and offers you the use of multiple user accounts to run your online store
  • You can keep track of your sales on the costs dashboard and you can import products with the fastest delivery times with the ePacket filter


8. Now that shipments taken care of the next step is the customer service

Customer service is very important and you can expect comebacks and deal with refunds. Now do not get stressed out again. The fact is that cosmetics are a personal preference and not all colors work well for different users. This is where a rock-solid return policy is important. You need a convenient process in place to make your customers return painless and seamless. There are different apps available you can use, but the one from Returns Center by Aftership keeps track on returns. Further, it notifies customers throughout the entire process. If you have opted to use Oberlo, the app has the same features available as the Aftership app.

9. Start selling 

Finally, you have set up your makeup and cosmetics online store, but the work does not end here. You can make someone’s day with your unique beauty products and you are paid. Luckily, for you if you decided on the Shopify option they have secure payment methods in place to use. On the other hand, if you decided to set up your own e-commerce shop, make sure to find a safe and secure payment method for your clients to use. PayPal is a great solution to use, but there are other options available:

  • Visa Prepaid cards
  • MasterCard Secure Code

10. Keep growing your business 

Remember selling your brand does not end here you need to take it to the streets. Whether you have an online cosmetic shop, IRL brand experience is rewarding. Interact with your customers and present them with access to your products you sell. You can do this by:

  • Present your customers with a pop-up shop that consists of a mini-makeover or a tester bar
  • You can rent a temporary space and set up your products to make users aware of your products you are selling online
  • Visit flea markets by renting a stall
  • Or you can sponsor events and fashion shows to use your products available on the models

Final thoughts

Ready steady go, the time has come to launch your beauty brand. We know it is scary and it has taken hard work, sweat, and loads of tears. That is normal but you will get over the mental block. Sharing your makeup brand is just the start and no, it will not be perfect from the start. As your business grows, you learn your customer’s needs and with it, you will grow. Are you selling your cosmetic products online? Please feel free to share your personal experience in the comments below.

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