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The Changing Way Consumers Shop Online for Cosmetics

By: Ross Glick and Judy Shulman Brown
Posted: January 20, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 8

I can think of quite a few e-commerce sites that have had unbelievable growth because they totally understand the needs of their consumers and offer that rich experience.

Q: Which brands in the market today offer consumers an incredible online experience and why?

Shulman Brown: From a retail standpoint, Shopbop.com does an incredible job and established itself as a leader. They do many things so well—they have taken selling the entire look to a whole new level. The site features runway videos that you can shop from. They have a fantastic editorial point of view, almost everything is shown on a model and a customer has the ability to purchase everything their models are wearing. Equally important is the ability to effortlessly find exactly what you need for any occasion. The overall experience is much easier than going to a store—not only do I have the benefit of seeing all items on a person, I can see countless looks in such a short time. They also make it easy to return so you can try on in the comfort of your home with your own accessories and return something in less time than it would take to do so at store.

When I think of customer service I immediately think Zappos.com. Free shipping on all orders and returns for a full year—they even have a video to make returning as easy as possible for the customer. You know they want you to be happy. They typically have more views of their merchandise than anyone else which makes for an informed customer and therefore a happier customer. They set the bar for online shoe shopping—a no other offline giant comes close.

Some other examples that are not sexy at all are Diapers.com and Fresh Direct. On Fresh Direct, they have a great library of recipes and if you decide to make one, with just one click all the ingredients are added to your cart.