Selling cosmetics can be a beautiful thing for your business, but only if you package and ship your products the right way
There’s something beautiful about dipping your toe into the cosmetics business — and no, it’s not just the tubes of lipstick, palettes of eyeshadow, and bottles of foundation. It’s the potential profit. The makeup market is massive. It is valued at $532 billion and growing and represents a large percentage of consumers’ online shopping habits, making it an especially attractive revenue stream for those in the eCommerce world.
Whether you choose to sell makeup, skincare, perfume, or something specialized, it takes more than just slapping a pretty label on the bottle and calling it a day. You’ll also need to consider shipping and packaging. Cosmetics can be fragile, flammable, and may also have a surprisingly short shelf life. It is your responsibility to package them the right way so that they arrive at their destination on time and in one piece. After all, there’s nothing pretty about a perfume bottle that gets trapped at Customs or pressed powder blush that arrives smashed into dust.
With that in mind, here are some tips on shipping with various carriers, choosing packaging, following labeling rules, and asking for help when you need it.
Shipping with USPS
If you’re planning on shipping cosmetics via USPS — a popular choice among retailers — you can do so via flat rate, priority, or regional. Take time to label your package so the contents are identified and seal liquids in a waterproof container. Got liquids over 4 ounces? Triple-pack them. If you are shipping products containing alcohol, such as some skincare items and most perfumes, you will not be able to ship them via air and may not be able to ship them internationally.
Shipping with UPS
UPS prohibits "shipments with inherent vice, which by their nature are likely to soil, impair or damage persons, merchandise or equipment.” This can technically apply to some cosmetics, so it’s important to know your ingredients and how each carrier handles them. UPS is also strict about packaging, so take extra precautions with liquids, otherwise they may be refused.
Shipping with FedEx
With FedEx, it’s all about absorbency. That means waterproof containers for liquids and absorbent packaging materials as well. Ensure your containers are leak-free. Additionally, outer packaging must be thick and resilient, and inner packaging should include dividers and material to prevent those beautiful bottles of makeup from jostling around and smashing into each other.
Time and temperature
A beauty routine may be all about time, but consumers want their products fast. Offering speedy shipping times will do more than just make them smile; it will preserve the quality of your products.
Cosmetics can freeze, melt, and separate under extreme temperature conditions. Some items also have short shelf lives, especially when you’re dealing with organic ingredients. Ship items quickly and store them at room temperature.
Handle with care
Gentle does it! Cosmetics themselves can be fragile. Pressed eyeshadows, blushes, highlights, and bronzers can crumble. Glass bottles containing liquid foundation, perfume, and toner can shatter. One of the most important aspects of packaging cosmetics is packing materials. Use bubble wrap around containers, pad boxes, and use package filler. You may also want to keep containers closed with stickers.
The key is to use inner packaging that prevents items from shifting too much in transit and outer packaging that is sturdy and shock-proof. Think corrugated cardboard rather than shipping envelopes.
Cosmetics often contain ingredients that are restricted or downright prohibited. Refer to the FDA’s labeling guidelines (fair warning: they have a lot of guidelines) to make sure you’ve made all the required disclosures.
Some key points to consider are:
- Make sure labels are written in English and the language of the destination country.
- Provide information about the contents of the package, the address of the place of business where the items originated, and warning statements if applicable.
- Pay close attention to regulations on letter height and affixing labels.
The overall aesthetic of your packaging is important. It’s your last chance to make a brand impression before the customer opens the box and experiences the product. It must look good and capture the essence of your brand.
That’s especially important for cosmetics, where customers revel in the luxury of the brands they’re using. Cosmetics unboxing and usage videos are a huge force on YouTube and other social media channels. You’re not going to benefit from that word-of-mouth movement without packaging that befits the luxury of your brand.
Where 71lbs comes in
If you need help understanding shipping costs and shipping insurance as it relates to your new or growing cosmetics business, look no further than 71lbs. We are experts at helping customers save money on shipping while demystifying the process along the way. Our automated dashboards and excellent customer service combine to provide you with the solutions you need to make better business decisions that save you money on shipping.