Finding the right warehouse and shipping provider can be a challenge for any brand with a DTC ecommerce channel. But for beauty brands, the task is even more daunting. Beauty products are unique in a number of ways – from perishability to unique packaging, beauty products are in a category all their own.
Here are eight factors and criteria every beauty brand should consider when selecting a warehouse and shipping provider.
1. Licensed Warehousing
Many beauty products walk the line between cosmetics, drugs and “dangerous goods.”
For example, acne treatments, dandruff shampoo or skin protectants are typically classified as drugs and are regulated by the FDA. Likewise, beauty products like perfume and nail polish may contain alcohol and other flammable liquids. These ingredients cause the product to be classified as “dangerous goods.” Products that come in aerosol spray cans are considered potential explosives, so they have to be shipped by authorised providers.
Therefore, beauty brands must find a licensed shipping and warehousing partner that has the certification necessary to store and ship all classifications of beauty products. Even brands that do not currently sell products that classify as drugs or dangerous goods should consider engaging certified vendors. As products are brought to market or formulations change, brands need warehouses that can meet their needs now and in the future.
2. Accommodation for Irregularly Shaped Packaging
Branded and unique packaging is a hallmark of beauty brands. In a 2022 survey, 81% of consumers said packaging design influences their purchasing decisions when buying gifts, and 67% of consumers said the materials used to package a product often influence their buying decision.
But unique packaging does not just help increase sales. When it comes to beauty products, the right packaging can also help increase the shelf life of the product or keep it from getting damaged.
Packaging product in unique ways may be cause for a warehouse to charge more for (or simply not accommodate) product. Beauty brands should vet warehouses and shipping providers to ensure they can affordably pack and ship packages of many different shapes and sizes.
3. Inventory Visibility
Because many cosmetics and beauty products have limited shelf lives, it is imperative that beauty brands partner with warehouse and storage facilities that can accurately track and monitor stock.
The warehouse inventory management system should provide visibility into how long a product has been on the shelf and prioritise the distribution of product according to expiration date. Smart inventory tracking helps prevent waste and maximises margin.
“Having visibility is key to optimising supply chains for efficiency and sustainability, as well as helping to build trust and transparency with consumers,” said Francisco Melo, President, Solutions Group at Avery Dennison. “Digital identification solutions play a vital role in supply chain planning strategy, and it is encouraging to see that companies are committed to further drive this change through the increased use of RFID technology in the coming years.”
Brands cannot afford to lose inventory to inadequate management. Instead, they must partner with warehouse solutions that have best-in-class processes in place.
4. Facility Security
Many cosmetics and beauty items are high-value and pose the risk of serious financial loss if stolen or damaged. For that reason, cosmetics and beauty brands should partner with a fully vetted warehouse that has the proper security and risk mitigation measures in place. Such measures include 24/7 video and electronic security monitoring, access control measures, fire protection and suppression systems and sufficient insurance coverage.
Beauty and cosmetics brands should carefully determine what their security needs are and find a vendor that can deliver inventory security as well as management.
5. Tracking Services
Today’s consumers want visibility and transparency like never before. Recent studies show that the overwhelming majority of shoppers (94%) are more likely to be loyal to brands that offer total supply-chain transparency, and 39% say they would be willing to switch to a more transparent brand. Not only that, but 90% of customers actively track their packages, and 20% track their packages multiple times a day.
Clearly, visibility is in. The best warehousing and shipping partners should allow customers to track the status of their order and know exactly where the package is in real time. This is especially important for beauty brands, which often have high SKU counts that require close monitoring for inventory management and quality assurance purposes.
6. Condition Monitoring
Though climate control is one important aspect of beauty product logistics, there’s much more that goes into quality control assurance. The best warehousing and shipping companies take it a step further by offering condition monitoring, which means they keep a close eye on the product throughout the shipping process.
Condition monitoring can give real-time insight into moisture and humidity levels, temperature, sunlight exposure, bumps and tilts of packaging, location and more. This service ensures the protection of even the most fragile and sensitive products from loading and unloading to the customer’s doorstep.
Modern logistics platforms let beauty brands track the conditions of their products, solve damage issues quickly and hold the right partners responsible if there is a mishap.
7. Flexible and Scalable Capabilities
As with fashion, beauty trends and consumer demands change throughout the year. 80% of consumers say their facial skin needs change seasonally, and 44% of U.S. women want extra moisturisers in the winter. In order to keep up with these ever-changing demands, beauty brands must be on top of inventory management so they always have the proper amounts of product on hand, whether they are selling spring perfume or holiday nail polish.
And just as consumers are demanding more visibility in the supply chain, beauty brands should be demanding visibility for their own benefit, too. Brands that have access to active monitoring and reporting can make more accurate projections and improve demand planning.
Beauty and cosmetics brands should also ask about seasonal or unique packaging and kitting requirements. Beauty products are perfect for bundling and other promotions so brands should make sure that the warehouse can handle multiple and new SKUs.
Global beauty brands should carefully analyse and determine the best locations for their warehouses. There are many advantages to shipping inventory in-country including cost-effective and fast delivery times to customers. In addition, having local distribution ensures that the online catalogue matches available inventory and accounts for any market-specific ingredient or packaging regulations.
Holding inventory in-country and shipping from local distribution centres also give cosmetics and beauty brands more options for return logistics, creating a better customer experience throughout the buying journey.
Expand Your Beauty Brand with ESW
Beauty brands have many unique requirements when it comes to warehousing, shipping and logistics — which is why it is critical for them to find partners who understand their needs. The right warehouse and shipping partner can ensure products arrive at the customer’s doorstep in perfect condition, so they remain loyal customers well into the future.
Ready to take your beauty brand to the next level? Expand your catalogue and obtain global reach with ESW. We manage inventory and shipping of all types of beauty products with ease — including those categorised as dangerous goods. By choosing ESW for your beauty product logistics, you will be able to increase revenue and expand into new markets seamlessly.