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Unlocking the Clean Beauty Opportunity on Amazon

Published March 10, 2024
Published March 10, 2024
Christian Wiediger via Unsplash

Amazon is deeply entrenched in consumers' lives, forever changing how we shop—including how we shop for beauty. The platform has shifted consumer expectations and raised the bar on the competition, racking up sales and market share. As Amazon continues to increase its foothold in the beauty sector, the question has become “how”, not “if”, your brand will be on the marketplace.

Morgan Stanley projects that Amazon will become the biggest player in beauty, overtaking Walmart by 2025. Analysts led by Simeon Gutman wrote in a research note that the e-commerce behemoth will own about 14.5% of the market, representing a potential $180 billion in value by 2025, followed by Walmart with about 13%. This growth is projected to capture 46.5% of online sales in the US by 2025 as Amazon continues to dominate e-commerce.

For beauty brands, Amazon has become a requisite point of sale to capture revenue, diversify distribution, and for brand protection. You can go it alone on Amazon; many have tried, but few have succeeded. Or you can find an expert. Then the question becomes, do you hire an agency, or work with someone who has skin in the game with you?

Partnership Accelerator Strategy 

For new brands or those looking to rethink their strategy, the goal is to be on the platform in a meaningful way. The growth of beauty on Amazon has created fertile ground for an ecosystem of agencies, consultants, and third-party sellers hanging out their shingles, promising to be the right solution to deliver astronomical ROI. Choosing the agency/consultant path has the potential to be an expensive way to build a business on Amazon because, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

It’s not easy being first, but it was worth the effort in the case of Carbon Beauty—a clean beauty retail platform that sells a coveted assortment of clean beauty brands on Amazon. They have effectively turned the third-party model on its head by migrating the classic retail shopping experience, like Credo or Sephora, to the Amazon ecosystem. Carbon Beauty is “essentially a website within a website” with a robust, customer-focused storefront. Distinguishing itself from the vast number of Amazon service provider models, Carbon Beauty is first and foremost a partner to brands on the platform who invests in their growth while providing access to an unparalleled network of clean beauty brands. This unique network facilitates cross-brand shopping that we readily see on retail sites, like Credo or Sephora, but not usually on Amazon. Loyalty to a third-party reseller on Amazon has been effectively unheard of until this point, and yet Carbon Beauty is continuing to amass a loyal customer base of clean beauty customers who increasingly shop across their exclusive network of partners.

Built with two decades of Amazon experience and 10 years of beauty data, Carbon Beauty has grown to be one of the largest natural beauty retailers on Amazon today, with an assortment of 70+ brands, a growth rate of 50% YoY, and sales projected to exceed $100 million in the next few years. Carbon Beauty has developed a business grounded in operational expertise, streamlined fulfillment, and an Amazon model that is designed to outperform every other beauty retailer on the platform.

Handling every element of the Amazon business on the brand’s behalf, from fulfillment and inventory optimization to high-performance marketing campaigns and custom-designed product pages—their partnership model allows brands to unlock their full potential on the platform and meaningfully scale their business.

Hyperfocused Amazon Specialist for Clean Beauty Brands 

For today's consumers, Amazon is most commonly used as a shopping search engine of sorts. According to JungleScout, 51% of consumers start their online search for products on Amazon. Further, third-party sellers have come to represent a meaningful portion of the brands available on the platform and their impact is growing. In 2023, 70% of small and mid-sized sellers were third-party sellers, and third-party sales comprised 24% of Amazon’s total revenue in Q3 2023, an 18% increase. This makes managing a brand’s Amazon presence more important than ever, with consumers utilizing reviews, badges, and listings to sort through the often overwhelming number of options on the platform and, ultimately, make a buying decision. Even though Amazon is, by far, the most popular online retail destination, with 65% of online shoppers saying they utilize the platform, it has, historically, been a challenging environment for brand discovery. The growth of Carbon Beauty’s Amazon storefront has met this challenge head-on by creating a destination for clean beauty shoppers to discover new brands and products that match their values and expectations.

Despite the importance of how a brand shows up on Amazon, many tend to underestimate the difficulty in establishing a successful storefront with sufficient visibility to consumers. This miscalculation most often leads to brands assigning the Amazon business to existing team members with little-to-no Amazon expertise, ultimately contributing to lackluster performance. Brands that recognize the necessary investment in establishing a dedicated and experienced Amazon team to manage their business end up searching for a partner that is aligned with their brand values that also operates at a significantly higher level.

Carbon Beauty’s expertise in scaling brands while effectively managing all aspects of their Amazon presence in a seamless, image-­conscious partnership model continues to set them apart. They are hyperfocused and constantly looking to redefine clean beauty on Amazon, while their centralized storefront further cultivates cross-brand shopping within their network of partners similar to a traditional retail site. This streamlines the customer shopping experience on Amazon while promoting a cross-pollination of like-minded brands.

The Future of Beauty on Amazon

As Amazon’s dominance in beauty only continues to grow, the landscape will continue to be more and more competitive, leading to greater barriers to entry for the vast majority of brands who struggle to achieve a meaningful presence on the platform. Clean beauty brands looking to break through the noise and take advantage of growing interest in the category have to make a choice between building an in-house team of Amazon experts, which can be cost-prohibitive with limited success, or partnering with a category-specific expert like Carbon Beauty, which can help them to leverage the learnings and centralized infrastructure that comes with representing 70+ clean beauty brands on the platform. With 57% of US consumers shopping on Amazon at least once a week and the platform comprising nearly 40% of all e-commerce sales in 2024, a well-managed presence on the platform is an opportunity clean beauty brands can’t afford to miss.