The best online beauty stores keep users interested with strategic content and streamlined navigation to engender an enjoyable buying experience. As professional beauty website builders, we’re accustomed to creating eCommerce stores primed for high conversion rates.
However, for many shop owners, it’s unclear what constitutes a conversion-optimized website because the truth is a beauty website can look aesthetically pleasing but fail to accomplish a rise in sales and organic web traffic.
At its core, beauty websites with bad designs make it challenging for customers to achieve what they need to. This can be for several reasons, ranging from poor website structure to a lack of clear calls to action, or just an off-putting typeface.
The gold standard of website design takes the following into account:
These technical elements, along with an understanding of buyer psychology, are what distinguishes top beauty websites from their competition. We’ll elaborate more on the details later. First, let’s take a look at these first-rate beauty sites to inspire your own!
Cap Beauty sells skin care products made from 100% natural ingredients with no zero synthetics. The website’s top-of-the-line functionality is a reflection of the company’s transparency in using better products for people and the environment. Its purchase call-to-action buttons with the text “Yes, please” also convey enthusiasm, instead of just a generic “buy,” which provides a more personal touch.
As its name implies, Herb Essntls has a no-fuss, no-frills beauty website with minimalist appeal. It uses lots of white (negative space), creating a balance between text and image elements. Things are less cramped, uncluttered and easier to read. Additionally, a limited color palette helps establish greater design unity.
World-renowned cosmetic brand Bobbi Brown needs no introduction. Its website effortlessly showcases its most popular beauty products. The homepage advertisements do a good job at promoting new products, while its wealth of helpful tutorials is a great example of effective content marketing.
The most interesting feature on Clinique’s site is its virtual skincare diagnosis and foundation applicator. In a single scan, the software plots over 80 data points on the face against models built on 50+ years of dermatological research and 1+ million face scans. Moreover, its live chat functionality offers 24/7 beauty help.
Like Clinique, Lancôme has a “virtual try-on” where customers can test new products on their skin type before buying. This function alleviates challenges connected with conventional eCommerce sales, such as reducing return costs. Lancome’s website also boasts a harmonious UX layout and easy checkout procedure.
100% Pure sells hair, body and skincare products. This company uses social proof, i.e., reviews, to encourage buying. Below the header, it has a top-reviewed section, showcasing best-selling products. Nearly 90% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase, so including products with positive views is a useful tactic to increase sales.
Because Dior is a household luxury fashion and beauty brand, it focuses less on stock-standard product images, and more on meticulously curated images of models wearing makeup. This is the advantage iconic brand names have. It’s less about selling products and more about marketing an aspirational lifestyle.
Fenty Beauty is largely successful due to its founder, global superstar Rihanna. The young but fast-growing business makes cosmetics to suit over 50 skin shades, which is one of its unique selling points. This is one of the top websites on our list, featuring great product pages and high-production quality videos that demonstrate how to apply the company’s beauty and skincare products.
MAC Cosmetics is another beauty retailer titan. Known for its bold branding, the website does well to translate the company’s ethos into a color-filled online presence. Its well-organized product and trend catalogue offer an inspiring and stimulating shopping experience. Enabling customer account reaction also lets MAC send targeted advertising offers.
This iconic beauty brand is well-known for its classics like “Great Lash” mascara. While it already has a loyal customer base, its hero video appeals to younger Millennials and Gen-Z. Despite its long history and extensive line of beauty products, the website is contemporary, dynamic, and fun.
Urban Decay is a cruelty-free makeup company. Its website’s horizontal menu offers easy navigation through its product pages, gift sets and virtual services. Like Herb Essntls, the limited color palette (white, black, and purple) ensures the products are the main focus, while the purple banner at the top of the homepage highlights current sales offers.
NYX Cosmetic’s beauty site has all the right design ingredients as well as a great selection of products, and strong branding. The UX is well-designed, and the interactive features enable customers to up their beauty game with fun tips and tutorials and help from a virtual makeup assistant.
Materiae calls itself the “ultimate online beauty destination for impeccable brands,” and its site embodies just that. As a purveyor of luxury and bespoke beauty products, its sleek menu exudes elegance, while its mega menu doesn’t detract from the beautifully styled images.
This is one of those beauty websites that reflect the aesthetics of its founder, Kylie Jenner. Sexy and Gen-Z orientated, its skincare products are designed to appeal to Kylie Jenner fans. The one the site does really well is showcase lip colors on models, providing a clear idea of what they look when wearing them.
Covergirl showcases that even an established makeup brand can still provide an authentic impression with a well-designed, customer-centric site. Its updated design shines a greater light on authenticity, diversity, and self-expression. Lastly, this beauty brand’s simple interface facilitates easy shopping.
This beauty website screams Gen-Z. It’s bright, bold, and colorful, without detracting focus from the product pages. Unlike the other legacy brands, KNC Beauty is a great example of how a company should cater to its target market. The site allows customers to buy products in bundles, offering great value for money.
NARS symbolizes style, luxury, and elegance. Its stunning website also offers an AR-powered virtual “try-out” tool that eliminates possible barriers to purchase. The vibrant color contrast between red, back, and white immediately draws viewers in. Interestingly, NARS uses both a hamburger menu and a horizontal menu, so shoppers can find their products with greater ease.
YNNY proves how minimalism needn’t be boring. Its interactive hero banner is one of the best on this list; it ripples like water as the user’s cursor moves over it. Unlike most websites that use a horizontal menu, YNNY utilizes a hamburger menu. It takes up less space and caters to a cleaner beauty website.
Hudson Made believes our natural beauty is in harmony with nature. That’s why their products are 100% natural. The company is not only concerned about the benefits of its products for the body and the skin, but also concerned about being kinder to the environment. This builds an enduring brand image and a positive feeling when you browse through its product categories.
What man doesn’t want to look attractive and cool? And most importantly, enjoy an effortless shopping experience. Let’s face it; we all know the majority of men would rather skip long, drawn-out shopping trips—whether in person or online! The company’s high-end bath and hair products attract those who enjoy an easy, smooth, and speedy online retail experience.
Beardbrand does things a little atypically. Its homepage has a strong call to action. Instead of the usual hero image, its copy elicits a strong desire to explore the rest of the website. The “learn” tab is a classic case study of how content marketing can nudge prospects further down the sales funnel. Case in point: The first article that comes up is a quiz to determine beard type.
This British lifestyle brand is known for its distinctive scent portfolio and luxurious bath, body and home products. Its website is appealing, beautiful, and elegant. Joe Malone’s gifting service web page is quirky and wonderfully conceptualized, and a reminder that attention to detail matters.
This soap and cosmetic retailer has always placed a strong emphasis on ethical practices. Its humanitarian campaigns attract conscious consumers, who tend to become loyal customers. Lush’s hero banner video looks tactile, drawing attention to the products (not so much to models who usually market them) further underscoring the company’s commitment to sustainable beauty products.
Project Vanity differs from the other beauty websites on this list because it is also a beauty magazine. The clean layout allows customers to read a variety of skincare and makeup articles (all things beauty), as well as buy their favorite products. We think it’s an innovative way to conduct eCommerce for beauty brands.
Functionality, a clean look, and high-quality graphics are some attributes that help create beauty websites that attract qualified leads and boost sales. Next, let’s discuss more website technicalities that help elevate skincare brands online.
UX and UI are related design disciplines, but they’re not the same thing. UI design is focused on visual design properties and the overall feel it conveys, whereas UI design is concerned with usability and navigation. You can have one of the best-designed makeup websites but without UX, it will create a bad user experience.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Having a good understanding of how users shop online is a good starting point. For example, do they enjoy watching videos, and respond well to cross-selling? Are they interested in joining a loyalty program? Or are they teen shoppers who respond well to vibrant colors, self-care marketing, and free samples?
Here’s what it looks like when web designers keep things simple and effective:
Another important aspect of beauty websites is maintaining user flow consistency throughout the buying journey. How your website encourages its target audience from arriving at the homepage to checking out products entails meticulous research and design.
Our examples of some of the best beauty websites illustrate how persuasive graphic design is to get people to buy in the digital world (online). First impressions are made on homepages. Considering beauty products have to do with all things beauty AKA aesthetics, you will need to pay even more attention to design elements.
Poor graphic design choices can turn websites into a cumbersome maze of links, text, and images. Customers might be unsure where to click if they want to find out more about your loyalty program or skin products, for instance.
The following tips can help you create a cohesive and attractive website to showcase your high quality products:
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic from search engines. Even if your UI and UX are excellent, you’ll still need SEO to get found by potential customers online.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. If your website’s pages aren’t popping up online when customers search for cosmetics, then your beauty business is just about invisible.
Even though businesses (many of them mentioned above) have brick-and-mortar stores, they still invest in a strong digital presence because 25% of shoppers buy online, and this percentage is only going to increase.
SEO combines many tactics and strategies, but we can divide them into four silos:
Optimizing these four aspects improves website performance, and generates more leads than most other marketing initiatives. Because organic search is the most popular way for customers to find your makeup products online, it makes sense to spend time developing a legitimate SEO strategy. How do beauty websites stand out online?
So, when someone searches for “non-toxic cosmetics,” “milk makeup,” “K beauty,” or “cruelty-free luxury products” they’re likely looking for beauty brands that stock these kinds of products. If yours fit the bill, you’ll want to pop up in their search.
Imagine you’re using your phone to access the website of your favorite beauty store, and the site takes so long to load that you just give up. This is what happens when a website’s speed is too slow. For professional marketers, it’s a rookie error.
It is common knowledge among marketing professionals that all eCommerce websites should load in under two seconds. Loading speed is a Google ranking factor, so the faster your beauty site loads, the higher it’ll rank.
To quote Google:
Faster sites create happy users, and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster websites don’t just improve user experience; recent data show that improving site speed also reduces operating costs.
You can use the free tool Pingdom to find out how fast your beauty website is.
A unique selling proposition (USP) is simply what makes your business better than the competition. For instance, beauty brands like Lush, consistently mention on their product pages how they’re an eco-friendly, sustainable brand. We can say their black product packaging makes them stand out, but it’s their business ethics that are a big part of their unique selling proposition.
The USP of beauty brand MAC, for example, is selling long-lasting products. Although it was initially aimed at professional makeup artists, its products became so popular they filtered into general consumer market.
Having a USP is what makes a business unique. It influences branding, identity, and last, but not least, website copy. As soon as customers arrive at your landing page, they should be made aware of your USP.
Many beauty websites suffer because owners don’t know how to determine their USP. Either that or they’re paying the consequences for not having one. Without a USP, you’ll get lost in the crowd of beauty websites and die a slow eCommerce death because you won’t attract enough interested customers to support your online shop.
Beauty websites are here to stay. We’re doing more and more online, and shopping for beauty products is no exception. The bottom line: beauty websites designed in a smart way are more likely to grow. The beauty world, like every industry, is competitive. That’s why most brands hire professional designers to create the best websites.
If you’re the owner of an established beauty business, and you have questions about how you can increase your beauty website’s revenue, reach out to us now. We’ve created many successful websites for a range of brands. We’d love to talk with you about your company and can even conduct a marketing audit free of charge.
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