Monitor Inventory Storage Conditions and Expiration Dates
Selling spoiled or mishandled product can diminish your customers’ brand experience and loyalty. While some cosmetics may simply lose effectiveness upon expiration or exposure to less-than-ideal temperatures, others can create serious health hazards. Not to mention, picking, packing and shipping replacements will further increase fulfillment costs.
Storage conditions and inventory management techniques should be optimized to avoid any would-be disasters. Consider the following tips:
• Because many products must be stored at specific temperatures, be sure your warehouse or distribution center provides temperature monitoring capabilities, if not temperature control.
• Expiration dates should be considered when doing inventory cycle counts. Implement first-in-first-out policies to clear out older products while they are still sellable. Creating deadlines based on receiving dates can also prevent the sale of items that are too close to their expiration dates.
Experienced fulfillment providers can help by creating real-time inventory visibility to show you exactly how many SKUs are in storage and how long they’ve been there.
Use Secure But Appealing Packaging
It’s scientifically proven that opening gift-like packages causes elevated levels of dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin in the brain, resulting in heightened feelings of excitement, desire and trust. Presenting your products in aesthetically pleasing shipping packaging is likely to compel customers to repeat the encounters to replicate the feelings, resulting in additional purchases. These neurochemicals also increase a customer’s likelihood of sharing their experience, which caters to the trend of unboxing videos, where digital influencers capture footage of themselves unpacking various items, often narrating the process, ultimately sharing the footage with multitudes of internet followers. The more appealing your unboxing experience is, the more shareable it will be among third-party brand advocates, helping your business reach more potential customers.
However, presentation should never come at the expense of security. Damaged product is a major cause of loss in warehousing, and delivering damaged items can result in customers losing trust, interest, and moving on to another brand. Cosmetic and other personal care products are often more fragile than others, so ensuring their safety at all operational stages must become a higher priority. Ensure your fulfillment partner is using the correct in-storage product protection such as bubble wrap or cardboard trays to keep product safe and secure while in transit. It is critical to create and share solidified guidelines with step-by-step procedures that team members can use when packing orders.
With the modern consumers’ ability to spread the word about brand encounters — positive and negative — taking the necessary steps to ensure their satisfaction should be a priority for any online beauty business. Investing in the right fulfillment partner that has experience helping online beauty brands grow and scale in these areas is key for long-term success.
About the Author
Maria Haggerty is co-founder and CEO of Dotcom Distribution. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business with a concentration in accounting. Haggerty plays an integral role in developing and defining all aspects of the business, including sales and marketing, operations, finance and IT.
As CEO, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership, establishing long range goals, and developing strategies for the senior leadership team. Haggerty has developed the systemic and procedural infrastructure necessary to provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial reports and financial trends in order to assist the Board, senior executives and clients in performing their responsibilities while achieving favorable results.
Prior to founding Dotcom, Maria was a CPA at Arthur Andersen and was later the CFO of GoodTimes Home Video where she helped grow the company's distribution business.