5 digital beauty retail developments that just changed everything

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Kritchanut)
© Getty Images \ (Kritchanut)
In recent weeks, major technology companies, social media platforms, and personal care makers have made a handful of announcements that definitively change the way consumers buy makeup, personal care, fragrance, and more. Here, Cosmetics Design takes a look at what’s new and now in the digital beauty retail space.

Nearly everyone in beauty is digital now: Over the past several months ingredient suppliers like Croda​, distributors like Univar​, and packaging companies like Qosmedix​ and Aptar​ have all made headlines here on Cosmetic Design for their new site launches. But these latest digital developments aren’t on the supply side of beauty; they are instead changing the way everyday consumers buy beauty and how brands can reach them.

Indie Beauty

Less than one year after its launch, Amazon’s Indie Beauty Shop got a full redesign. The tech company’s indie beauty page invites shoppers to “discover new, curated independent beauty brands and their stories.” ​Near the top of the landing page there are 8 simple choices: innovative, global, color, hair, skincare, fragrance, natural, and new.

There are 2 spaces for brands to advertise in (a carousel near the middle of the page and a stationary sort of banner ad with product links below at the bottom of the page). And just below the first ad, 5 ‘new arrivals’ to the indie beauty shop are featured with the product image, price, and link.  

Apple Credit

Apple, in partnership with Goldman Sachs, launched a credit card last month. The card is a physical extension of Apple Pay and is visually distinctive because none of the account information is printed or embossed onto the card, as is the case with conventional credit cards.

The Apple Card has privacy, security, and transparency as its key points of value. And according to advertising for the card seen at the Consumer Electronics Show early this year, “The unique security and privacy architecture created for Apple Card means Apple doesn't know where a customer shopped, what they bought or how much they paid. Every purchase is secure because it is authorised with Face ID or Touch ID and a one-time unique dynamic security code.” ​(This quote according to an item by Rima Sabina Aouf on dezeen.com​.)

InstaGram Checkout

InstaGram’s new in-app purchasing feature is in beta; and several beauty brands are in on the experiment. On March 19, the social media platform announced its latest commerce update, Checkout. The new feature appears on brand’s shopping posts. And according to a media release from Instagram, “You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out. Once your first order is complete, your information will be securely saved for convenience the next time you shop. You’ll also receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram, so you can keep track of your purchase.”

Amazon Skincare

Amazon launched its own brand of 12 skin care products, all under $20, and all available on 2-day shipping. The tech company’s new belei brand has the tagline: “no beauty secrets, only beauty solutions.”

And indeed Kara Trousdale, head of beauty for private brands on Amazon, told the press when belei launched that ​Our goal is to help customers spend less time and money searching for the right skin-care solutions,” ​adding that, “We took a simple, no-nonsense approach when creating Belei, developing products with ingredients that are proven to deliver results and also offer customers great value for the quality.” ​Learn more about Amazon’s new beauty brand here on Cosmetics Design – Europe​.

Unilever Executive

Sunny Jain has led Amazon’s core consumables business unit since 2013, a role which included oversight of health and personal care, beauty and grooming, luxury beauty, grocery/food, baby, private brands, the company’s Pillpack subsidiary, and more.

Now, he’s president of beauty and personal care at Unilever. “Unilever is seeing rapid growth from e-commerce. According to its latest figures, e-commerce is now responsible for 5% of the business and growing at 50%. But, like many brands, it's trying to work out the role for pureplay marketplaces like Amazon within its mix,” ​as Jennifer Faull points out in her coverage of the hire for thedrum.com​.

Commenting in a Unilever press release, CEO Alan Jope asserts that “Sunny’s unique experience – which combines both consumer goods and online retail industries – coupled with his understanding of the beauty market, make him exceptionally well suited to help us deliver our growth ambitions for our Beauty & Personal Care division.”



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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