An attractive amalgamation of all brands under the Estée Lauder umbrella, Gloss.com launched in 2001 to grab its share of the online beauty market. Featuring high-end brands such as Stila, Prescriptives, Chanel and Clarins, to name a few, Gloss was established as the convenient, one-stop shop where one could find them all.
We visited Gloss.com to see how a site that hosts a multitude of high-end beauty brands fares as a brand all its own.
With the roster of brands prominently displayed on the home page, shoppers can browse easily or conduct a search for their favorite product. Sleek photos of in products are splashed throughout and bestsellers are further promoted with prominently placed links. Armed with the sensibility of a fashion magazine, Gloss.com is functional in utility and slick in design, with content directed at moving product through advice dispensed by a bevy of beauty experts.
However, shopping for cosmetics relies heavily on personal preference, and one tends to rely on that which is tried and true. Attracting new buyers through online sales is particularly challenging for the cosmetic industry. Perhaps to compensate, Gloss attempts to forge a personal connection with its consumers via the implementation of clever, interactive tools that allow users to receive custom beauty advice.
A good example of this is the Fragrance Finder, where the visitor is invited to click on an image, which is then associated with a fragrance recommendation. Another, less successful feature is the Color Tester. A pop-up box appears (seemingly fashioned after a Photoshop mechanism), allowing users to test the seasons latest shades. A brand is then chosen from a pop-up menu and the selected swatches of color appear next to a small blank window. The idea is that the user can virtually test drive the color in the window and print out the results. The problem is as any makeup artist would explain skin tone is a key element in determining the true color of a product. So as ambitious as this effort is, it may simply be beyond the capabilities of virtual retail.
Trends, one of the main menu options, contains a meaty portion of content. The Whats New page within Trends displays seasonal products must-haves of the season. What to Pack asks visitors to plug in a travel scenario while experts recommend assorted products to complement the journey. Beauty Terms is just that a glossary of professional beauty lingo. The Tips section is positioned as a beauty expert at your disposal. Got skin issues? The Solution section provides links leading to advice and product information for problem areas. The How-to-Apply page provides step-by-step instruction for those who wish to learn professional make-up techniques. Editors Picks is where one can discover how to shimmer seductively in gold dust, or achieve this seasons full-brow.
To enrich the content, Gloss could make use of celebrity endorsement deals linked with the sites various brands. Simple, unique contributions from famous personalities might be a way to drive traffic and further increase visibility, without sacrificing integrity.
All brands featured on Gloss.com also have their own website. Some sell products (e.g., Origins.com, BobbiBrown.com), and some direct sales back to Gloss (e.g., Clarins.com, Prescriptives.com). Each brands page successfully blends its look and feel with Gloss, while displaying different products than those on its home site.
The success of Gloss will depend largely on its ability to establish the brand in the marketplace. Will devotees of the more mature Clarins line be encouraged to try something from the younger, hipper Stila line? Will shoppers who frequent Origins.com instead turn to Gloss.com for the variety? What will attract them back? By attracting shoppers to discover new brands within the Gloss family, further developing the content accordingly and engaging in some heavy cross-promotional activities, Gloss can create opportunities for shoppers to discover its inner beauty.