The Beauty of Ecommerce

by

Celebros is looking to do a series of interviews with its customers and partners to gain better insight into the best practices of ecommerce that we can share.  To kick off our series, we are speaking with Dr. Eisinger, from Beautynet.de, a leading luxury perfume online retailer in Germany.

To begin, Dr. Eisinger, would you be able to please give us a brief summary on Beautynet?

Yes, Beautynet was established 11 years ago in 1999.  We are exclusively an online store that sells premium perfume brands, also known as “perfumeries”.  You may also obtain a small assortment of our perfumes at select hair salons in Germany.  60% of our customers are women and 40% are men. 

How do you feel about your growth over the past year?  Do you find your sales to be strongly dictated by beauty trends?

 2009 was a very good year for us and we showed considerable growth from 2008. Regarding our sales, I believe our business, in addition to the beauty/perfume industry as a whole is very much dictated by the release of new products.  20-30% of our sales are generated through new product sales; hence as long as there are new products, we shall be in good shape.

Do you feel that the state of the economy has had any impact on your shoppers and therefore on your sales performance? 

No, I don’t think so.  Beautynet, as well as the entire perfume industry was not really affected by the economic crisis.  These are products that people are buying year round.  I know for Christmas, we had sales on our perfume that did well and our shoppers were still buying. 

What are the challenges that face Beautynet at the moment?  What do you look to accomplish in 2010?

Well, our biggest challenge as mentioned before is making sure that there are enough new products to ensure successful sales and maintain the growth of our business, and the growth of the industry. 

Regarding technology, we are now looking into buying a new shop system.  I am quite sure we will buy Magento based on client recommendations, as we were told and have observed that it has good support and is more innovative than other solutions we examined.  It offers a lot in area of templates and web design.  Additionally, we are also looking to add a pay via invoice feature with the company SIT-Pay, which we currently do not provide. 

Shoppers are only able to pay via credit card or Prepay at the moment. The new mechanism reduces collection risks on our side and eliminates the need from the user to input credit card details – still a blocking factor for online shopping.  We tested it already on Christmas and will now implement it by the end of February.

Have you learned from the successes or failures of other sites that you admire or perhaps your competitors’ sites?

Yah, our biggest competitor is Douglass.  They have 65% of the German beauty market.  They are not very innovative but have abundant and perfect images (advertising materials) of the products they sell, which they are able to get directly from the supplier.

Do you know how much people are using comparison shopping between Beautynet and Douglass?

I think you do have a bit of that.  One big difference I notice though between Beautynet and Douglass is that we carry quite a lot more products.  Now after Christmas we are building up our product catalogue, but overall during the year we usually have more to choose from than what Douglass offers.  I know people here usually say that they want to buy everything in one go, so we have the advantage there because they can come to our site and find the majority of what they need when it come to perfume.

Amazon too is a strong competitor. At their site you can buy everything you had on your list all together from every goods category.  I believe it is also a trust issue with Amazon.  Many people are more comfortable shopping with Amazon because they feel more secure with their purchase.

Are you able to compete with the shipping prices of Amazon

Not really. But I don’t think this is where we have a problem.  It’s more the trust in security as discussed previously.

Where do you do most of your advertising?

We try to be on most of the comparison sites (provide data feed to Google and others).  We have more than 10,000 affiliates.  We have also collaborated with women’s magazines such as Women’s Day, where we use a lot of coupons.  Coupons are also distributed via e-mail marketing campaigns, for example on Christmas and Mother’s Day.  Additionally, coupons are distributed when customers provide data on the Beautynet site. 

Are you also using analytics to check which affiliates are converting better?

Yes, Google analytics.  It does not provide all possible reports but for us, this is good enough.

You have been a long time customer of Celebros.  How did you come to work with Celebros and how do you feel it is going?

Beautynet has definitely benefitted from Celebros services over the years.  I find that the monthly analytics-based reports are most valuable and help in the never-ending process of optimizing our site, especially with a frequent high intake of new products!  It also greatly facilitates our ability to regularly monitor our search.  There has repeatedly been an excellent reaction to our requests from the Celebros team. 

Do you use customer reviews?

No we do not have customer reviews though we should have.  It is on our list for 2010 to add this to our site.

What are you using for e-mail marketing?

We have our own software. 

Are you using reminders so that they can subscribe when something new comes in?

No, but customers that bought a lot of a certain brand that is going out of stock, receives an e-mail to inform them of the new product we have chosen to replace it.

Do you use recommendations? 

Yes, we have cross-selling.  At the moment we do it just by hand.  This is a big thing for us and we have to do it all manually.  This creates a lot of work for us at the moment. 

Okay, on that note, I would like to thank you very much for your time.  I certainly have learned a lot here from what you have shared with us.  I wish you and Beautynet much more continued success.

Thank you, it was a pleasure.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: