Amazon’s Next Big Venture? Indie Beauty Products

E-commerce behemoth Amazon has a hand in quite literally everything. Fashion, groceries, house supplies, music, movies, a number of original TV shows, the list goes on and on, and on. The next territory the shopping giant plans to conquer? Indie Beauty, which is loosely slated to become its own standalone shop on the website’s Marketplace by June.

To be clear, this isn’t Amazon’s first time at the beauty rodeo. Shoppers can already find some of their favorite products on the website’s “Luxury Beauty” shop, where they sell higher-end beauty and grooming products from brands like Oribe, R+Co, and Brioni.

Indie beauty shoppers represent a huge opportunity for Amazon, which is dominated by Millennials and Gen X, who want sustainable and more customizable beauty products that come with experiences like make-over mobile apps, according to analytics firm Deloitte.

How many times have you discovered a new brand, product or trend on Instagram or YouTube? The answer is probably a lot. 

At the WWD Beauty Summit last June, Marc Rey, President and CEO of Shiseido Americas, said that traditional makeup brand growth was down by 1.3% in 2016. By contrast, independent brands were up by 42.7%.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The indie beauty business is worth big bucks. In 2016, after selling 25,000 “Champagne Pop” highlighters in 20 minutes on Sephora.com, then-indie beauty brand Becca Cosmetics was acquired by Estee Lauder to the tune of almost $200 million USD.

On Monday at the BeautyX Retail Summit, Amazon’s senior strategic biz dev leader, Justin Boettcher, said “Indie beauty is definitely a big focus for us.”

He continued, “Amazon Marketplace is a really good fit for indie beauty brands that are starting out because it’s a platform that allows you to scale, allows you to go to market pretty quickly, and lets you focus on your product development and your marketing, and really allows Amazon to take care of the operations [and] logistics.”

But just because Amazon seeks everything short of world domination, doesn’t mean that just any brand can participate in the Indie Beauty shop. The chief requirement for indie brands to peddle their products on the site’s new vertical is 50% ownership of the brand by an independent operator (a big win for small business owners). Also, the products cannot be available at major retailers like Target or Walmart. 

Starting June, we could start seeing a lot more of our favorite indie beauty brands. Some that have been rumored to be appear on the site’s new venture include Ogee, Cocoloco, Schique and Kálos.  

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