Realigning digital spaces, creating strategic alliances and keeping up with new market trends are the keys to success for an online store.

The fashion and beauty industry has remained one of the top e-commerce segment categories despite the pandemic. The sector must therefore take advantage of the situation and continue implementing tools to provide unique shopping experiences. Listen to customers and understand what they’re looking for.

According to an online sales survey for 2021 from the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO), consumers prefer to buy the following products through digital channels: food delivery (66%), fashion (57%), and beauty and personal care (52%).

Leonardo Sepúlveda, VTEX Country Manager, adds that the notable, fast-paced growth of e-commerce means companies need to adapt to change and adopt platforms enabling present and future challenges to be met.

Consequently, all factors should be analyzed to choose the most suitable platform for a brand in this segment. Multiple experts on the subject agree that the following recommendations should be considered.

Be Clear About the Stage the Business is In

Several rules are in play when entering a marketplace. If a brand doesn’t have the required infrastructure for being part of this group of sellers, experiences may be negative.

As Laura eRRe, a marketing and business strategist, founder of Fashion Startup Lab and coordinator of the Fashion Marketing course at the Tec de Monterrey University, has highlighted, social media can be used for the validation stage. A marketplace meeting your niche market needs can then be tailored. When the brand has achieved further growth, design a custom online store.

Juan Martin Vignart, Tiendanube Country Manager in Mexico, Latin America’s leading e-commerce platform for SMEs, noted that the key for launching your own online store lies in finding a fast, user-friendly and autonomous platform.

The number of website users should be known during the quotation process. This provides an estimate of the likely sales per month, an indicator that may also be used for monthly vendor billing, sometimes transactions based.   

Assess the Cost and Benefits

As Elizabeth Meraz López, a digital and e-commerce expert in the United States and Latin America, has explained, platforms are generally divided into three options: open source, on premise and software as a service (SaaS or Cloud).

The first can be downloaded for free and is recommended when you want to “own” your e-commerce. However, this requires an external manager to build a website from scratch, which can be a disadvantage because you have to “be responsible for maintenance, updates, security and server management,” she explained.

The essential different between this and an on premise platform is that the latter requires an operating license, either with Oracle or SAP. The benefit here is that maintenance and updates depend on the contracted provider. That said, a partner will always be needed, meaning the brand never absolutely owns the online sales website.

Lastly, Meraz López adds that a SaaS platform makes it easier for the provider to handle updates and maintenance, but this option is less customizable for the brand.

She also pointed out that there are luxury and cosmetics companies on the market that have chosen to make “online sales websites to mirror the ones operating in other countries,” another option for consideration.

Even so, for small enterprises just starting to build their online retail websites, a cheaper platform (such as SaaS) comes with the advantage of the service provider absorbing maintenance costs.

Be Extremely Familiar with the Platform and Stakeholders

A key factor is that the chosen platform must be scalable, as the VTEX Country Manager explained. As online store profitability increases, infrastructure must be able to grow accordingly, which is the case with SaaS or Cloud models.

Meraz López also underlined the importance of mapping stakeholders, both internal and external, involved with the website. Mapping must define all people responsible in the marketing team and the person assisting IT/support.

“Whether in-house personnel or from an outsourcing service, they must be involved in the whole decision-making process, not only during implementation. They are the ones familiar with the software and the legacy systems connected to physical stores, if applicable, and to the financial department for billing and other factors”, she explained.

Have a Detailed Product Catalog

Consumers need to be able to see the products in different images or videos, depicting details such as color, textures, size, etc. Therefore, a first-class online catalog is a must.

Fashion and e-commerce expert Laura eRRe noted “how do you seduce your customers? This is crucial in terms of marketing strategy and involves product photographs and brand storytelling. You get some of this done with the help of social media and influencers, because social selling is part of positioning and repositioning your brand”.

Meraz López added that product descriptions are a key factor in consumer decision making, by including ingredients or cruelty free guarantees for both makeup and skin care categories. Additionally, embedding videos creates an experience displaying how the product is used and showing its actual size.  

Furthermore, tech innovation is our friend, as AI tools enable makeup shades to be “tested” virtually, a step that companies like L’Oreal and Benefit are already taking on a more robust platform.   

Cybersecurity Locks and Payment Compatibility

The VTEX Country Manager pointed out that Mexico came second among Latin American nations in terms of the most cyberattacks registered, only behind Brazil. Consequently, e-commerce platforms must have the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS and SSL certificates ensuring that all transactions are made in a secure environment.  

Meraz López explained that to choose service providers, a payment gateway helps authorize transactions between the bank, platform and user via data encryption, meaning all information sent and received is encrypted. Notable certified providers include: PayPal, Stripe Connect and, which protect users and make the platform compatible with different payment methods.

Invest in Branding

The brand’s style plays an extremely important role in fashion because it conveys an exclusive lifestyle, where customers get to know you, identify with the brand and choose to buy your products.

Some platforms offer templates enabling an individual touch and clear branding, but other sites require brands to conform to pre-defined design options, which hinders the shopping experience and reduces product exclusivity.

Pay Close Attention to the Post-Shopping Experience

As Meraz López mentioned, this is a crucial factor. Logistics and distribution are also involved here because cosmetic products, such as eyeshadow palettes or powder foundations, are fragile and must be carefully packaged.

Customers also need order tracking visibility, because “receiving notifications of where their package is, at the company’s initiative and unrequested, represents a good service”.

In turn, the VTEX Country Manager emphasized that customer service channels shouldn’t be overly dehumanized. A balance must be sought between direct communication and using technological tools such as chatbots.  

Incentivize Repeat Purchases

All brands should remember that customer loyalty must be generated in the industry, naturally via a digital marketing strategy and choosing the right marketplace. Small- and medium-sized enterprises can tap into standardized platform tools to facilitate the purchasing, delivery and after-sales process management.

“It’s important to give customers flexibility, to be able to offer a range of colors and sizes, as well as effectively managing stock. Products not being available can lead to negative experiences. A window should always be open for customers to check and ask to receive notifications when a product is back in stock. This helps to create a good relationship with users and guarantees future sales”, Vignart explained.

Attention should also be paid to website SEO and to optimizing marketing campaigns in SEM positioning, to drive traffic to the online store, and on social media. As Leonardo Sepúlveda highlighted, social media are moving beyond brand positioning, now becoming transactional platforms.

Fashion and beauty brands must certainly create strategic partnerships and closely follow new trends to take advantage of technological tools, to get optimal benefits for their business and of course for their customers, helping to build a community.