How the Internet Has Changed the Beauty Industry

How the Internet Has Changed the Beauty Industry
Written by
Richard Emanuel
Published on
October 6, 2020
Read time

There’s no doubt that the internet has altered almost every aspect of our lives, whether we are regular users or not. It has opened the world to us, allowing us to talk to friends around the globe, or the catch the latest news from anywhere. It has also dramatically changed our buying habits. No industry better shows this than the beauty industry.

Go back a few years and the beauty industry was one of the most shop-based of all.  People went into a shop to try products, chat with store staff and see what would work for them. Catwalk shows would dictate trends, which were then taken up by big brands who advertised these products, and people bought them. But with the internet, most specifically social media, this has all changed.

The Online Beauty Community

One of the big changes has been the growth of the online beauty community and the rise of YouTube and Instagram stars. With huge followings on social media, these stars – known as influencers to some – have quickly made an impact on the industry. From promoting their own brands to become figureheads for big names, these new stars have opened up the industry in entirely new ways.

However, the biggest change is the world of online shopping – the majority of makeup is now bought online. The use of reviews, tutorials, and swatches on real skin allow people to make decisions about the products they need, and to make a purchase from their own homes.

Looking Forward

While there has already been so much change in the industry, things haven’t finished yet. There are clearly more things businesses need to do in order to keep on the forefront of the customer’s mind with their products. Running a successful beauty eCommerce business requires planning and strategizing.Taking the lead from top e-commerce websites, the beauty industry is using techniques and approaches that are already proving successful in other industries.


Personalization is a perfect example of this. What started with just adding a customer’s name at the start of an email has moved onto something much more complicated, which is only possible due to the wealth of information provided by the online shopping experience.

Examples include:

  • Personalizing emails not just with name, but with content based on purchase or browsing history
  • Personalizing ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Personalized popups that offer products of interest to the client based on browsing history to reduce site abandonment and entice with special, one-time-only discounts and offers

Help to Shop

Examples of this already exist with Olay, where an app can help people choose the right cream based on an image uploaded by the user. Along with providing product recommendations, the app can also help them make decisions based on their skin problems or goals. This allows them to easily build a skincare regimen from within the website.

Video Tutorials

One of the key ways that the beauty industry has modernized is through the use of video tutorials. People no longer need to visit a shop to learn how to best use a product or to create the new look. They can watch a video tutorial at home and learn as they go. This means that offering relevant video tutorials is an important part of building customer loyalty for beauty brands of all types.

Challenges and Peer Reviews

With the importance of social media in all industries, it is important that brands encourage user engagement, sharing and building up social proof. People are more likely to buy from other companies if a friend recommends a product. This is a stronger buying influence than a paid advert or celebrity sponsor. Therefore, steps to encourage reviews, recommendations and sharing of products with challenges can all be vital ways to bring new customers.

Smooth Shopping Experience

Lastly is probably the most important part of developing a successful e-commerce beauty brand – a high-quality website that offers a smooth shopping experience, which includes all the latest offers, personalization, and ensures ease of purchase. Having a responsive website leads to a positive customer experience on mobile and desktop. This is the foundation on which all other measures are built.

Interesting Future

There’s no doubt that the beauty industry has an interesting future ahead, one that allows smaller companies to gain a foothold in a market that was once dominated by the big names. By making use of new technologies and trends, even the smallest beauty company can gain a cult following and make major sales.