How to sell cosmetics online in India: the complete guide

sell cosmetics online
(Last Updated On: May 17, 2023)

Do you spend your free time browsing through makeup tutorials by beauty gurus on YouTube? Do you capture inspiring makeup ideas on a Pinterest board? If so – you might have a passion for cosmetics. 

Be it for basic hygiene or aesthetic enhancement; cosmetics are used by everyone regardless of gender.

The cosmetics industry is set to reach USD 30 billion by 2025, making it one of the fastest growing industries in India. 

So if you like the idea of owning a cosmetic store or an independent beauty brand, or if you are a makeup artist wanting to start your own makeup line then this blog is the right time.

First, let us know what a cosmetic is and how it is different from makeup.

What are cosmetics?

In general, cosmetics are used to enhance or alter the appearance of the face or body through the use of makeup, lotions, and cleansers. Makeup is merely a subcategory of cosmetics.

The main difference between makeup and cosmetics is that makeup is a cosmetic but not all cosmetics are makeup. The main categories under cosmetics include:

  • Skincare products: Facial washes, toners, shaving creams, etc
  • Haircare products: Shampoos, oils, and other styling products
  • Colour Cosmetics: Includes all makeup and nail care products
  • Fragrances: Perfumes, colognes, body splashes, etc
  • Personal care products: Deodorants, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc

Personal care is an indispensable part of our routine and cosmetic products play a large role. From skincare to toiletries, hair products, and deodorants, a wide array of product categories have all seen growth in the last year.

In fact, numbers for the cosmetics industry have been climbing steadily over the last decade and are expected to grow another 5% by next year.  Skincare has also become lucrative in recent years, accounting for 36% of the global market growth.

cosmetics industry growth graph
Image credits: Mordor Intelligence

Clearly, there is no better time to start an online cosmetics business than now!

Are you ready to start your own cosmetics business? Make sure to use this guide on how to take your cosmetics business online and don’t forget to bookmark this article so you can come back to it anytime!

How to sell cosmetics online: A step-by-step guide

The main challenge of selling cosmetics online is to find the audience and make your brand trustworthy enough for people to buy your products. 

1. Find your niche

There are over 600+ cosmetic brands available in the market. If you want a space in this market, you’ll have to find something unique to offer. Research on the trends that exist now in the beauty industry and find your target audience. Pick a product category and thoroughly review the types of products in it and the technologies used to solve the consumer problems.

TIP- If you are manufacturing or importing and reselling cosmetics in India, it is mandatory to get a cosmetic registration for your business. Get cosmetic registration in India.

Here are some major cosmetics market trends based on which you can decide on a niche:

  1. Inclination towards vegan and cruelty-free cosmetic products
  2. Colour cosmetic products
  3. Increased awareness among consumers regarding chemicals.

2. Create a business plan

In the cosmetics line, product development is expensive. Start with a solid business plan that highlights every small detail to determine the goals of your business and how to achieve them. Here is an ideal list to maintain:

  • Online store business name idea, founder details, your product or service offerings,
  • Target market research
  • Plan of execution – operations, management, accessibility
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Financial analysis – cost, investment, income, and revenue projections.
  • Risk analysis
  • Funding

3. Add product description

In the cosmetic industry, giving a clear product description is extremely important. When you are selling online, customers don’t have access to trying your product before making a purchase, so provide detailed instructions to your customers.

Add product swatches, ingredient lists, warnings, and allergy notices. Describe the texture, finish, application, and use of the product too.

cosmetic product description
Source: rubysorganics


4. Packaging and shipping 

Dealing with cosmetics means you cannot compromise on packaging and shipping.

Outer packaging must reflect what your brand is about. This is especially important for an online brand. Here’s a blog on tips to create great packaging for your business.

Since most of these items are delicate and are easy to get damaged, ensure that they are fully secured before shipping. Having a convenient process that ensures seamless returns for customers is most important.

Related read:  Everything you need to know about finding the perfect eCommerce shipping partner 

Marketing tips for cosmetics businesses

#1 Leverage personal endorsements

Consumers have learned to block out traditional marketing channels, and are now relying on the endorsements of their friends, family, and social influencers.

An effective marketing method to build brand awareness and obtain profitable business referrals is leveraging your consumers’ personal network. Give incentives to your customers to share your product on their personal social media accounts.

This will allow you to tap into their network of friends and family, amplifying your advertising efforts and earning new business through these personal endorsements.

#2 Influencer marketing

Approach influencers big or small to promote your product on Instagram. Behind every cosmetic product someone uses, there’s a story hidden. Ask the influencers to share theirs. and tell a personal story while using the product.

#3 Request Experts To Review Your Products

Another way to promote your cosmetic brand is to make the experts of the industry review your products. Many experts or gurus have their own YouTube and other social media handles that have loyal viewers. Request them to include your new cosmetic products on their list of product reviews.

This would give your product an easy reach to the massive number of followers they have.

#4 Conduct giveaways 

Providing something free as a ‘thank you’ to customers can really go a long way. Whether it’s just a sample, or maybe even a t-shirt, studies have shown that free add-ons increase repeat purchases. It most likely will bring a smile to their face because lets be honest, who doesn’t like something for FREE

Tip: Keep up with the latest trends in the beauty eCommerce sector so that you can modify your business strategies accordingly.

Where to sell cosmetic products online?

1. Sell on social media

In India, user-generated content has proved to be an effective tool to help find new customers. Selling on Instagram and sharing customer photos and reviews builds credibility to your brand online. Additionally, encourage customers to tag your brand on social media platforms for more engagement and connection. 

Another way to sell online is to engage with micro and macro influencers who will review your products and advertise them to their audience. What’s nice about selling makeup on Instagram is you don’t have to pay for website hosting or give commissions to third-party sellers.

sell cosmetics on social media
Source: juicy_chemistry

2. Sell in marketplaces

Marketplaces offer millions of shoppers a wide range of product categories, and makeup is no exception. Joining a marketplace community can be an excellent opportunity to reach a vast audience at the start of your business. The most popular marketplaces to sell cosmetics are eBay and Amazon.

3. Multichannel sales

Leverage the use of several sales and marketing channels to let customers find you easily. Showcase your products on your own website and also connect them to your presence in social media and on marketplaces to grow your business faster.

4. Setting up your online store

An online store is where your customers can see and buy cosmetics from you. You can build a brand image and strong communication with customers. When the shop is live, you can start advertising your brand and focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Spend some time deciding your online store’s theme as it makes your business unique and stands out from the crowd. Instamojo offers 20+ vibrant themes that can be customized to your tastes. For a cosmetic online store, we recommend Phulkari and Ikkatt themes on Instamojo.

Here’s how June Cosmetics, a vegan skin care brand uses Instamojo free online store to sell their cosmetic products:

sell cosmetics with online store
Source: June Cosmetics

Read more about how this college student started a beauty brand online and scaled their business through social media.

If you wish to set up your online store, send payment links, integrate payment APIs, offer customer support, collect leads, and sell on social media, then you are in the right place already.

Sign up on Instamojo and choose how you would like to start selling cosmetics. We can help!

Sell cosmetics online

  1. Thanks for sharing this amazing information it will be really helpful for me.
    I like all your post and I bookmark your website to see your latest post.
    Such an amazing blog

  2. Since I am a UK Licenced cosmetologist (CIBTAC), Master Makeup & Hair Artist, having 15+yrs of exp in India & Abroad. it was my all time interest to start my own cosmetic brand but didn’t had much information & support, but after reading ur blog i am really inspired, now as per your guidance i am going to start my own cosmetic Brand soon, thank you very much Khusboo for this beautiful information.

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