As a beauty brand, there are multiple ways to grow your business. One is to expand the range of products you sell, and another is to expand the countries you can sell to. D2C cosmetics brands are able to expand the area they can sell to quickly since they do not rely on brick-and-mortar stores. However, expanding internationally can have its complications.
Deciding which countries to expand into is a significant strategic decision, as pricing sensitivity, shipping options, customs and legal topics, and your place in the market will vary from country to country. You will need to decide if you want to ship internationally from one location or split your inventory across multiple locations.
Outsourcing to a Third Party Logistics Partner (3PL) with experience in cosmetics fulfillment can help you tackle these difficult topics and have a smooth entry into a new market.
This is how Hive can help.
What you will learn in this blog post:
- How to set up your international D2C shop right
- How to handle international shipping for your beauty brand
- Engaging with an international beauty community
- Why choose Hive to help your expansion?
How to set up your international D2C shop right
One key question to ask is, how much do you want to localize country to country? The diversity of languages and shopping habits across Europe is vast, and your approach to fulfilling these needs should be carefully considered.
Payment types, for example, vary across countries, and some provide more challenges than others. Markets such as Spain and the Netherlands have a booming demand for cosmetics but require alternative payment options from what you may be used to. For example, in the Netherlands, the most common payment type is iDeal, a direct bank transfer service little known outside the country. The option to pay with iDeal can be integrated into your shop via Shopify.
Another differing payment method is Cash on Delivery (CoD), which makes up around thirty percent of B2C sales in Spain, and is rarely used in countries such as Germany. CoD means that cash is given once the goods are delivered, and if the payment is not made, they are returned to the merchant. Enabling this method in Spain is important since it makes up such a large proportion of payments, but it means increased complexity if enabled for other countries.
With Hive, you can easily set up multiple country online shops with the same physical SKUs in the fulfillment center using our multi-channel feature. With this feature, you can streamline orders from multiple sources so that the same inventory and Hive App can be used.
How to ensure quick delivery and low prices internationally
Another important aspect to consider when expanding internationally is your shipping: both pricing and timing.
Price sensitivity varies across countries, with some places more accustomed to cheaper shipping than others. High shipping costs can be a real conversion killer, especially for cosmetics as customers are used to cheap and quick delivery. If costs are high internationally, it can be worth considering whether to artificially lower the shipping cost to the customer by absorbing some yourself, use direct injection, or perhaps split your inventory across multiple locations to decrease shipping complexity and price.
Shipping speed can be just as important as shipping costs. In a market dominated by big players like Amazon, many consumers have become accustomed to next-day shipping. Long wait times can lead to cart abandonment if the customer knows they can get a similar product quicker.
Fast delivery and local pricing using pan-European 3PLs
At Hive, we are expanding our network of pan-European fulfillment centers, starting in Berlin, Paris, and Milan, with the UK, and other markets in the pipeline. We also fulfill orders that were created before 12pm the same day, to make sure your products are on their way to your customer as soon as possible.
Lower delivery prices with direct injection
We also use direct injection to send products quickly and inexpensively from one country to another. This is a process by which international parcels are injected directly to the country where they are picked up by the local carrier. This means faster international delivery times as the packages do not have to be sorted before being shipped to the new country. It cuts costs by avoiding overheads from carriers from the country of origin. More on this below.
How to engage with an international beauty community
As a beauty brand, you will know that community is key. Expanding to other countries across Europe means that you will want to engage with your new community in their native language and in ways they are familiar with.
Using Hive’s multi-channel setup means your customers can engage with your local shop according to their specific needs per country. Your customers will feel more engaged and trusting towards an online shop in their language with payment options they are familiar with.
Additionally, Hive’s use of direct injection for international orders means the end customer also gets the local delivery experience. Your packages will be picked up by the local carrier in the destination country for the final delivery.
Engage your community with personalized packaging
We know how important packaging is as a major touchpoint between you and your customers. Hive can help you add a personal touch to the unboxing experience by including, for example, a flier in your package thanking the customer in their language. With Hive you can use custom packaging according to your brand needs or use our Hive brown boxes. As a 3PL experienced with cosmetics brands, we are happy to advise you on packaging best practices and can help you find the best options for your company.
Keep communication transparent with our End Customer App
Hive also provides an End Customer App where your community can view and track their orders, and change their shipping address if needed. The app is currently available in four languages. Integrating the app into your customer journey cuts down on requests to check up on orders and means that you do not need a team of native speakers dealing with customer requests as a lot can just be handled in-app or by contacting the Hive team.
Why choose Hive as your 3PL expansion partner?
Outsourcing your operations to Hive means you can focus on developing innovative cosmetics and leave your operations on autopilot. To expand internationally, you do not need to directly hire country specific specialists for delivery, shipping, etc. as you have access to the team of experts at Hive.
You only have one first impression – so make your market entry count.