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What role does B2B eCommerce play in the beauty & cosmetics industry?

min read

published on

June 7, 2023

The beast in the beauty industry

Online shopping has become a normal part of our everyday lives, and as the B2C market continues to reinvent online experiences for consumers, a new tone is being set for B2B businesses too. Professional buyers expect the same convenience, transparency and speed in the world of B2B. According to recent research, 83% of B2B buyers prefer to shop and pay online (Gartner 2022) - and they’re prepared to go elsewhere if the experience doesn’t meet their needs.

With the expansion of Amazon Business, both suppliers and buyers have a quick alternative for selling and finding products. But not all businesses are equal when it comes to maturity, customers and their needs. In industries with an advanced level of maturity in B2C eCommerce, this might translate over into the B2B side of the sector. For example, in fashion, best practices for B2C businesses have been adapted for B2B, including personalized experiences in marketplaces and online shops, visualization in sales apps and even digital showrooms.

For the complex needs of the B2B beauty and cosmetics industry, a flexible B2B eCommerce platform is vital. To successfully navigate a competitive market and fluctuating supply chain, you need a reactive, adaptable solution that traditional eCommerce systems just can’t provide. 

The 4 big blemishes in B2B beauty

And how eCommerce can help you banish them

1. The demand for a personalized experience 

B2B buyers are craving a personalized shopping experience, more like that traditionally offered by B2C brands. But this is difficult in eCommerce stores powered by restrictive and rigid legacy systems. Modern, open-architecture platforms have the capability for hyper-personalization, with features like customer-specific catalogs and pricing, customized navigation, filters, and personalized product recommendations

2. A sector dominated by “field” sales

The beauty industry is historically driven by in-person or “field” sales, thanks to the buyer preference to sample or see products before purchase. While there’s no way to directly offer this service during an online sale, an advanced B2B eCommerce platform should have the functionality to offer free samples or personalized swatches, and even integrate with AIpowered software like the option for home-try-ons.

3. The sustainability shift

The last few years have seen a big change in consumer priorities, with the rise of trends like ‘deinfluencing’ and ‘skinimalism’ marking a reduction in the appetite for luxury products. This rings true for B2B buyers too, particularly with rising inflation and the cost of living causing businesses to tighten their belts and reprioritise. You can cater to these concerns by incorporating features like tiered pricing, accurate reorder timeframes (to avoid surplus stock), carbon footprint information and other sustainability credentials.

4. Ongoing supply chain issues

Between the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and a constant stream of natural disasters, the global supply chain has never been more stretched. B2B beauty brands must adapt to insulate themselves against supply chain issues, and stay compliant as regulations change. By migrating to a sophisticated eCommerce platform, beauty wholesalers can take steps to tackle this. For example, with automated inventory management, real-time stock visibility or even ‘notify me’ CTAs, so buyers are alerted when items are back in stock.

Four key takeaways to keep in your makeup bag

To keep in mind when choosing an eCommerce platform are…

1. Future-proofing your supply chain is crucial. Look for platforms with smart inventory and order management features to help you do this.

2. Now’s the time to move to MACH. Legacy systems are too rigid and restrictive for a fast paced, reactive industry like beauty. 

3. Make B2B more like B2C. Professional buyers want a personalized shopping experience, so you need sophisticated audience segmentation. 

4. Streamlining time to-purchase is key. In an oversaturated market, make ordering and reordering quick to stop buyers bouncing to a competitor.

To find out how DJUST helps leading fashion and cosmetic brands, request a demo.

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About the author
Arnaud Rihiant
Founder & CEO @ DJUST

Expert in topics on B2B, eCommerce, market trends, business strategy

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