Crash Test of 5 Cosmetic E-commerce Websites0

  • 6 June 15:55
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With the high pace of modern life more and more people prefer to shop online. Digital stores offer a huge variety of goods and cosmetics is not an exception. Some websites of that kind become highly successful and bring great profits while others are very likely to fail. What is the secret of success in beauty products e-commerce websites?

In this article, we will analyze the websites of world leading cosmetic brands to find out. But first, let’s start with some theory necessary to understand how a beauty e-commerce site works and what qualities should a good site possess.

E-commerce for Beauty Brands

Every time you buy or sell something online, you are involved in e-commerce, so it is the general word for commercial transactions conducted online. So, any website that sells goods and facilitates these transactions can be called an e-commerce platform.

Types of E-commerce Merchants

E-commerce websites can be classified in several ways: according to what they sell, the parties involved, and the platforms they operate on.

Classification of Merchants According to What They Sell

First, we are going to look at the classification of e-commerce traders according to the products they sell. There are three types:

  • Stores selling physical goods.
    That includes clothes shops, electric goods stores, etc. A typical store offers a selection of products that potential buyers can add to their digital shopping carts. After a customer has made a payment, the ordered items are delivered to the customers or they can receive their order at an in-store pickup.
  • Service-based e-retailers.
    These websites include online schools, consultants, and freelancers. Some retailers of this type allow you to purchase services right from their website, other require potential clients to contact them first (e.g. in the form of consultation) to clarify the needs and goals they have.
  • Digital products.
    Various online courses, e-books, graphics, and software constitute just the short list of those e-goods you can purchase online.

Classification of Products According to the Parties Involved

Another way to categorize e-commerce merchants is to take into account the parties that participate in a transaction. There are two main types – B2C and B2B.

  • B2C (Business to consumer) e-commerce defines the transactions that take place between businesses and consumers when they first sell their products to the second. 
  • B2B (Business to business) is used to refer to transactions between two businesses. 

Other types of commerce in this classification include:

  • Consumer-to-business (C2B) is the type of transaction when a customer contributes a certain amount of money to a business, e.g. crowdfunding platforms.
  • Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) takes place when one consumer sells their goods to another consumer.
  • Government-to-business (G2B) is about a company paying for certain government services (such as taxes) or goods online.
  • Business-to-government (B2G) applies to a government buying certain products or services form an online business.
  • Consumer-to-government (G2C) usually refers to consumers that are engaged in B2C transactions.

Classification of Products According to the Platform They Operate on

  • Bespoke e-commerce website. This is the type of a website made from scratch which can be built in the way you need to sell services and goods.
  • Ready-made CMS and plugins. This kind of platform uses online storefronts to create websites and afterward sell products with the use of e-commerce solutions and shopping carts. Magento, Drupal, WooCommerce for WordPress, are the most typical examples of CMS.
  • Using marketplaces (e.g., Amazon, eBay). This is an absolutely ready-made solution where sellers can test how well their products sell while customers can compare prices for goods and services offered.

E-commerce in the Beauty Industry: Is It All the Same?

A significant part of B2C websites in the beauty industry are the product descriptions, emotions, and price – the three criteria a potential buyer pays attention to. The main factors determining B2B e-commerce are the price, the number of items in stock (at the warehouse), and logistics.

Further, we are going to speak about e-commerce websites in the beauty industry, the way they display their products and the effect it may have on potential buyers.

We are also going to a crash test the top 5 beauty product brands’ websites based on our experience with more than 400 project audits. This will help owners of already existing beauty e-commerce, as well as the newbies in the business, understand how to organize a website in a proper manner to attract more clients and boost sales. We also discuss mistakes made by every website to help our readers avoid them in their projects.

Qualities of a Good/Effective E-commerce Website

Qualities of a Good/Effective E-commerce Website

There are certain criteria that will help you determine your e-commerce website meets the needs of customers.

Ordering in 1 click

When you come to an offline store, do you ever go up to a shop assistant asking for help, and then another one, just to finally buy that one perfume you have been using for years? Nobody does. The same scheme is applicable to e-commerce – the faster the shopping is done, the better. 

The more choice the customer is given, the more difficult it is to make the final choice and to reach their goal. This is likely to end up with them having to take their sweet time and consider all options instead of placing an order.

Review, specifications, photos, video unpacking of goods

Giving a customer an extensive review of a product they are about to buy is important. However, shooting videos for each and every product an online store offers would be too costly, so it is more efficient to concentrate on those goods which are the key ones for your store, for instance, lipstick, mascara, and foundation in the beauty industry. Only after these ones have been covered, you can proceed to the others. 

The structure of a product card also matters a lot. First of all, it has to include high-quality photos, especially those featuring people, as it is certain to boost conversion. You can also add some videos here. And put up both short and long but clear full descriptions.

Shipping and delivering

There are several criteria which can define delivery:

  • quality delivery
  • operative delivery
  • understanding delivery

The latter one refers to giving customers a clear understanding of when their order will be delivered, operative delivery is all about the terms which altogether form quality delivery.

Live ratings, reviews

When choosing a new product, people tend to look for what others think and say about it. This is why ratings and reviews must be an inseparable part of every product card. This function always has to be available on an e-commerce website. 

One of the ways to stimulate customers to leave their reviews is to offer them some bonus or promo presentations which won’t make a hole in the budget but is certain to please people and motivate to contribute their feedback.

Order history without registration

Many customers may need to come back to their order history at some point. Doing this by entering their name and email causes quite a few inconveniences (it’s another step and remembering the password could be a hassle). This is why it is more preferable to save order history via cookies thus simplifying the process of checking order history for your buyers.

Smart filtering

Quite often developers creating e-commerce websites known basically nothing about the sphere they are creating software for. It is absolutely vital that a person who specializes in this particular industry participated in developing a website to identify the main categories of filters and make them functional. 

It is always a good idea to ask an expert in this exact field, in this case, certain cosmetics brand. This person will be able to give you the tips which filter will work best. 

Doing research on what customers want and need and making analytics of their choice is necessary. Pay attention to the most frequently used filters – they are quite possibly the main feature of an e-commerce website.

Dynamic of loading pages

A separate button allowing customers to apply the filters they need will help make using an e-commerce website more efficient as it will make the search considerably faster and save a lot of time.

Another thing to take into consideration is the speed of loading pages – it has to be optimal for every screen to make use more fluent and effective.

Additional sales

Cross-selling by showing alternative products can help you boost sales (that’s the website section usually called “You may also like“ or “Customers also bought”), but it is vital to choose them properly for every product – they need to be somehow interconnected to interest customers. Another way to present alternative sales is to show alternatives to certain products. If it’s not quite right — the have options right in front of them. 

Some websites also offer alternative products at the checkout giving a certain discount if you buy both goods. In this case, the choice of products also plays a great role as they have to be able to appeal to this particular buyer, so they have to be related to a customer’s problem. This must involve analytics of customers’ choice.

E-commerce sales analyst

Right and functional analytics always matters. What it gives you is a platform where you can find all statistical data of the conversion of your website. It can also help you understand where the customers come from and which keywords are applied.

Free consultation

Buyers often need to ask questions about the shades, smells, and other characteristics of the cosmetics they purchase. In this case, a free online consultation is exactly what they need. By helping your customers choose the right product you also help them make a step forwards towards placing a shopping order exactly on your website.

Hiding the goods “out of stock”

Some websites demonstrate goods that are both in and out of stock altogether, thus misleading customers by giving them a false impression that everything shown can be purchased right now. It is preferable to hide products that aren’t available.

Crash-test TOP-5 Beauty Product Brands 

Now we are going to analyze the websites of top-5 brands in the beauty industry that sell makeup, skincare, and hair care products according to the criteria given above.

NYX Professional Makeup

Website: https://www.nyxcosmetics.com/ 

Website httpswww.nyxcosmetics.com

Ordering in 1 click: There are “quick shop” buttons that simplify the shopping experience for the customers.

Ordering in 1 click

Review, specifications, photos, video unpacking of goods:

  • The website has a bright, trendy and modern-looking front page. Buyers can choose specifications of the product in a pop-up window, so there is no need to proceed to another page.

The website has a bright, trendy and modern-looking front page

  • All the text fields are carefully aligned, photos and videos are high-quality. There’s also a live camera to allow buyers to “try out” the products they are going to purchase.

All the text fields are carefully aligned, photos and videos are high-quality.

  • Another important thing is an adaptable mobile version of the website which makes for a convenient purchase on the go.

Another important thing is an adaptable mobile version of the website which makes for a convenient purchase on the go

Shipping, delivering: Checkout is very fast and simple, the registration form is short, so customers can place an order with a blink of an eye.

Shipping, delivering

Live ratings, reviews: It has the feature and you don’t have to sign in to rate and review.

Live ratings, reviews

Order history: You need to register if you want to see your order history.

Order history You need to register if you want to see your order history.

Smart filtering: The website has a filter panel with product categories for a more convenient search.

Smart filtering The website has a filter panel with product categories for a more convenient search

Dynamic of loading pages: All pages load fast, so buyers can make a purchase quickly.

Dynamic of loading pages All pages load fast, so buyers can make a purchase quickly

Additional sales: There are alternative products on product pages and in the shopping cart. They are all carefully chosen to avoid repetition of similar products.

There are alternative products on product pages and in the shopping cart

E-commerce sales analyst: There is a fresh rating available.

Free consultation: Buyers can easily find and fill in the feedback form. The call numbers vary according to regions with an individual number for each.

Buyers can easily find and fill in the feedback form

Hiding the goods “out of stock”: There are no “out of stock” products displayed, so customers see only the ones available for purchase.

La Roche-Posay

Website: https://www.laroche-posay.us/ 

Website httpswww.laroche-posay.us

The website is created using old technologies which makes it feels rather old-fashioned and it does not function well.

Ordering in 1 click: There is a “quick shop” button, but it takes time to load, and even more time to reach the checkout.

There is a “quick shop” button, but it takes time to load, and even more time to reach the checkout.

Review, specifications, photos, video unpacking of goods:

  • The font on the main page is uncomfortably small, so the text difficult to read.
  • There are too many pictures not related to one another which causes confusion; what’s more, these photos are non-adaptable.
  • There are some pop-up windows (which users rarely like), pages refresh too often, so it is difficult to concentrate on something.

 

There are some pop-up windows (which users rarely like), pages refresh too often

Shipping, delivering: The shopping cart looks confusing and is not helpful at all.

The shopping cart looks confusing and is not helpful at all.

Live ratings, reviews: All products have a ratings and reviews feature.

All products have a ratings and reviews feature.

Order history: Customers do not have to register to see their order history.

Customers do not have to register to see their order history

Smart filtering: There is a functional filter panel for customers to sort the products.

There is a functional filter panel for customers to sort the products

Dynamic of loading pages: It takes a long time for pages to load. What’s more, they refresh frequently and buyers may need to go through the same actions repeatedly.

It takes a long time for pages to load

Additional sales: You can see alternative products for each product in the shopping cart and on the product page.

You can see alternative products for each product in the shopping cart and on the product page

E-commerce sales analyst: There is a fresh rating available on the website. 

Free consultation: Buyers can easily find a feedback form to ask for a consultant’s help. The call number is only for customers from the USA.

Buyers can easily find a feedback form to ask for a consultant’s help

Hiding the goods “out of stock”: Non-available goods are displayed along with available ones leading to confusion.

Maybelline New-York

Website: https://www.maybelline.com/ 

Website httpswww.maybelline.com

Ordering in 1 click: It doesn’t have a quick shop button, but the order process is still clear and quite simple.

It doesn’t have a quick shop button, but the order process is still clear and quite simple

Review, specifications, photos, video unpacking of goods:

  • The interface of the website is convenient, the website itself looks modern and stylish. There are numerous high-quality photos of each product. There’s a virtual try-on feature with options to use a live camera or upload a picture of yourself to see how the product(s) will look on you.

The interface of the website is convenient

  • The text is easy to read, the descriptions are also clear and comprehensive – customers can find out about the product benefits and the way it should be used. The website also has an adaptable mobile version with a pleasant and user-friendly interface.

The text is easy to read

Shipping, delivering: The shopping cart is easy to reach, but not native as it redirects to a different site. Though is a famous retailer (Walmart) so it shouldn’t confuse the customers.

The shopping cart is easy to reach

Live ratings, reviews: Every product on the website has its own rating.

Every product on the website has its own rating

Order history: Registration is not needed to see the order history.

Registration is not needed to see the order history

Smart filtering: The website offers a convenient filter panel for customers to sort the products.

The website offers a convenient filter panel for customers to sort the products.

Dynamic of loading pages: The pages load not as fast as a modern consumer would prefer, but not at a snail’s pace either so it is still rather comfortable to use.

The pages load not as fast as a modern consumer would prefer

Additional sales: Alternative products of different types can be found in the shopping cart and on product pages.

Alternative products of different types can be found in the shopping cart and on product pages

E-commerce sales analyst: There is a fresh rating available.

Free consultation: You can find an ask form below every product on the website. The call number is intended only for buyers from the USA.

You can find an ask form below every product on the website

Hiding the goods “out of stock”: All out of stock goods are hidden.

Yves Saint Laurent

Website: https://www.yslbeautyus.com/

www.yslbeautyus.com
Ordering in 1 click: The site doesn’t have a quick shop button and the shopping process takes quite a lot of steps. However, window with your shopping cart pops-up once you add an item to your bag which is rather convenient.

The site doesn’t have a quick shop button and the shopping process takes quite a lot of steps

Review, specifications, photos, video unpacking of goods:

  • Products have color options, but they are not adapted for every display, so buyers with different display resolutions are not able to distinguish between some of them.

Products have color options

  • The photos are high-quality and optimized. Buyers can also use a live camera or upload their photo to try out the products.

The photos are high-quality and optimized

Shipping, delivering:

  • It may be rather difficult for most buyers to find the checkout section in the shopping cart as it is located in another place. What’s more, it is difficult to read.

It may be rather difficult for most buyers to find the checkout section in the shopping cart

  • The data form for buyers is long. Alternatively, you can sign up and log in with Facebook.

The data form for buyers is long

Live ratings, reviews: There are a rating and numerous reviews available for every product.

There are a rating and numerous reviews available for every product

Order history: You can see order history without registration.

You can see order history without registration

Smart filtering: There is a convenient and functional filter panel.

There is a convenient and functional filter panel

Dynamic of loading pages: Pages load at quite a low speed; it also takes them a long time to refresh.

Pages load at quite a low speed

Additional sales: Alternative products are showcased on product pages and in the shopping cart.

Alternative products are showcased on product pages and in the shopping cart

E-commerce sales analyst: A fresh rating is available.

Free consultation: There is a feedback form on the website which some customers would prefer, but there’s also a phone number.

There is a feedback form on the website which some customers would prefer

Hiding the goods “out of stock”: Out of stock products show up with the rest.

Vichy

Website: https://www.vichy.co.uk/ 

www.vichy.co.uk

Ordering in 1 click: Customers can press the “Buy now” button, although it would be more convenient if the photos were also clickable. There are too many clicks needed before a customer can reach the checkout.

Customers can press the “Buy now” button

Review, specifications, photos, video unpacking of goods:

  • The website looks pretty old-fashioned, it lacks style and a sense of modernity. The information given is no longer engaging, especially for younger buyers who do not feel attracted to the look and way of demonstrating the products.
  • The texts given in the description are not aligned, so buyers cannot receive clear information about the products.

The texts given in the description are not aligned

 Shipping, delivering: It takes a lot of time to reach the data form. When you finally reach the checkout, it takes even more time to fill in this form as it is too long.

Live ratings, reviews: Every product is given its own rating, buyers can also give their marks to them.

Every product is given its own rating

Order history: Buyers need to register to have a look at their order history.

Buyers need to register to have a look at their order history

Smart filtering: The filter panel is functional, so buyers can sort the products according to their needs.

The filter panel is functional

Dynamic of loading pages: Some of the pictures load longer than others, so they need optimization. Some pages also load for too long.

Some of the pictures load longer than others

Additional sales: There are certain products offered, but they are not accompanied by any text or description to help potential buyers understand why exactly they will benefit from buying exactly this combination of products.

There are certain products offered

E-commerce sales analyst: There are no fresh reviews on the website.

Free consultation: There is a feedback form customers can fill in and get the help needed.

There is a feedback form customers can fill in and get the help needed

Hiding the goods “out of stock”: Some of the products offered on the front page are out of stock, but not hidden which misleads customers.

Closing Thoughts

After the analysis of the TOP-5 beauty product brands websites, we can certainly conclude that even the most renowned brands make mistakes when creating e-commerce websites. Some of the most common ones are:

  • A slow and uninteresting website which results in slow loading of pages, loss of time and potential loss of customers.
  • Confusing buyers by displaying products that are out of stock alongside those ones which are available.  
  • Too long of a process to get from the product page to the checkout and long registration form needed to finally place an order.

Of course, any beauty e-commerce website has its individual slip-ups that can be singled out through an audit. And if you are creating your own site or want to improve an existing one, follow these simple recommendations:

  • Pay attention to the interface of your website. It has to be clear and simple, giving buyers the information they need and evoking their interest. What can help you are experts in this particular sphere, good-quality photos and videos of the products.
  • Every single part of your website has to be optimized to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Simplify the process of placing an order as this will reduce the time your potential customer has to think and change their decision to shop in your online store.
  • Make sure that unavailable products are hidden not to distract buyers’ attention from those available for purchase.

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Previously, we wrote that “If consumers do not see anything unique in your brand, you have consumer goods”

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