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Health and beauty fulfillment: solutions for D2C beauty brands

illustration of a hand reaching into a container of beauty cream

The rise of D2C beauty

The legacy brands who once dominated the cosmetics market are facing major disruptions from a booming market segment; direct to consumer beauty. 

The beauty industry has been no exception to the trend of cutting out the middlemen. Brands including Kylie Cosmetics, Glossier, and Colourpop Cosmetics have become household names with their community-focused approach to branding and product development. They’ve chosen to ditch celebrity partnerships in favor of using social media and digital channels to target the lucrative Gen Z and Millennial markets.

The results speak for themselves. A Statista survey from 2019 found that 52% of U.S. consumers had purchased from a D2C beauty or personal care brand. The number of Americans buying from direct to consumer brands is also set to grow by nearly 20% over the next five years.

In this climate, your beauty fulfillment strategy must be ready to scale effectively in response to consumer demand. By partnering with an experienced cosmetics fulfillment provider, you can continue to offer an enhanced customer experience that inspires brand loyalty – no matter how much your order volumes grow.

Finding the right beauty fulfillment services

Ecommerce fulfillment for cosmetics is a specialized process. Health and beauty products span a broad variety of consumer goods, including hair care products, cosmetics, and skincare products. Each requires tailored storage and handling strategies, with items strategically picked, packed, and transported to avoid spills or breakage during transit. 

Intricate kitting and subassembly may also be necessary for offerings such as gift sets or free samples. This demands a high level of technological infrastructure and value added services. Beauty brands should partner with a 3PL provider who is equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by D2C cosmetics fulfillment.

The challenges of health and beauty fulfillment

Difficulty scaling

D2C beauty brands need to be able to handle seasonal fluctuations in demand. Cosmetics is a dynamic industry, where changing trends routinely upend the popularity of different products. This requires highly responsive inventory management and warehousing systems to meet and forecast the popularity of different SKUs. 

Self-fulfillment is a viable strategy when you’re only handling 50-100 orders per month. But when this begins to climb, it puts you in a dilemma. Finding appropriate storage, hiring extra staff, and migrating to a full-fledged OMS all become necessary to ensure timely and accurate delivery. But this is expensive and time-consuming for brands to coordinate independently. To this end, you should choose a fulfillment partner with flexible solutions who can scale effectively in response to consumer demand.

High SKU complexity

The average beauty product boasts a vast number of SKUs to account for different shades and finishes. There are also seasonal product bundles or holiday gift sets that require SKUs for the period of sale. You also face the added complexity of factoring expiration dates into storage and picking strategies to avoid writing off stock. The result is fast-moving SKU counts that require careful inventory management, including FIFO (First In, First Out) and FEFO (First Expired, First Out) sequencing to ensure product integrity.

Creating unforgettable brand experiences

The pivot towards ecommerce has completely reshaped consumer expectations of the shopping experience. Now, every link of the logistics supply chain is a valuable touchpoint that can increase the perceived value of a purchase. This includes order fulfillment, shipping, and the moment of delivery.

In a saturated marketplace, cosmetics brands need to work hard to differentiate their brand from competitors. And consumers expect nothing less. According to Forbes, 83% of consumers admit to paying as much attention to how a brand treats them as the product itself. That’s why it’s important to partner with a third-party logistics provider who can help you maintain your brand aesthetic throughout the post-purchase experience.

Storage and handling requirements

The classification of cosmetics as hazardous goods adds additional considerations to the beauty fulfillment process. This includes FDA compliance for packaging and shipping, in addition to state and local regulations. You may also require specialist warehousing to ensure proper climate control or in-rack sprinkler systems for flammable products such as fragrances or aerosol products. Partnering with a fulfillment company that offers trained staff for cosmetics fulfillment will ensure that parcels receive the correct storage, labeling, and shipping to prevent unnecessary delivery delays.

Rapid shipping and delivery

Fast and affordable shipping is a must for digitally-native beauty brands – or any ecommerce business – to foster customer loyalty and drive repeat purchases.

Consumer expectations for seamless ecommerce fulfillment and delivery have never been higher. Consumers rank delivery cost and speed as the biggest considerations when buying online. According to Forbes, 77% of shoppers have abandoned an online purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options. Moreover, 73% of consumers say that a superior delivery experience would persuade them to choose an independent online retailer over Amazon. This makes it advantageous to partner with a 3PL that can offer favorable pricing on express delivery methods.

Why you should partner with Whiplash for your health and beauty fulfillment needs

Seamless integration with your online store

Advanced integration between your digital storefront and your fulfillment provider is a must to achieve responsive and streamlined beauty fulfillment. Whiplash offers native integrations with all major ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento, allowing for real-time visibility and control over your orders and inventory levels. 

With Whiplash, you’ll never have to worry about losing track of your SKUs or expiration dates. Our advanced lot control makes FEFO or FIFO sequencing easy to implement – all from one interface.

Ease of scaling

No matter whether you’re handling 100 or 1000+ orders a month, Whiplash’s flexible technology stack makes it possible to accommodate cosmetics fulfillment for both establishing and emerging D2C beauty brands. Our custom pricing plans mean that you only pay for the beauty fulfillment services you need – and nothing you don’t.

Climate-controlled warehousing

Maintaining product integrity is easy with Whiplash’s network climate-controlled fulfillment centers. We can provide your cosmetics and beauty products with optimum storage conditions, including advanced humidity and temperature control to ensure both FDA compliance and the highest quality product for your customers. 

Designing memorable unboxing experiences

In ecommerce, the unboxing experience has become a sought-after touchpoint that places a value-added capstone on the customer journey. The surprise and delight of opening a gift-like package is a powerful strategy for fostering loyalty and customer retention.

Our beauty fulfillment solutions are designed to accommodate extensive brand customization, including customized packaging, branded packing slips, and kitted care packages to meet all of your influencer marketing needs. You can either supply your own branded packaging or allow us to connect you with one of our partners.

The Whiplash interface also enables you to set custom packing rules for certain SKUs with a single click, giving you unparalleled flexibility and control over the post-purchase experience.

Robust shipping capabilities

When customers order from you, they want to be confident that they’ll receive their goods on time. Whiplash’s intelligent SmartRate selection tool allows us to compare multiple shipping carriers and methods in real-time. We can tailor the perfect cosmetics shipping strategy that matches all your business’s requirements for cost and speed. For the fastest shipping – at the cheapest possible price.

Powerful multi-node fulfillment

Your customer base might be in one region today. But tomorrow it could be national. Partnering with Whiplash for your beauty fulfillment needs gives you access to a nationwide footprint of state-of-the-art fulfillment centers. Store your inventory in multiple locations to ensure lower shipping costs and rapid last-mile delivery times for your customers.

Ready to scale your beauty brand with Whiplash?

Whiplash is on-hand to meet the needs of D2C cosmetics brands both large and small with its advanced and affordable beauty fulfillment services. Find out more about cosmetics fulfillment with Whiplash.

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