For a long time beauty has been a personal experience, guided by someone on the other side of a glass display counter slowly showcasing the latest perfume or anti-aging cream. It is fueled by emotion and culture pressure to look a certain way and exude a certain ‘je ne said quoi’. Beauty in this form is still prevalent today, supported primarily by baby boomers happy with routine and turned off by the age of the internet (sorry moms, we love you).
The 1990 beauty floors in department stores are a thing of the past and quickly evolving (hi Bloomingdales Glowhaus!) and being replaced by the ever-so-client-friendly retail experiences of the Sephora’s of the world (oh hey @sephora, we love you too). But even for the safe-not-going-anywhere-beauty environments, there is a player in the industry that can no longer be ignored. One that everyone is afraid of and everyone finds a threat, including the brands flying through their distribution centers (especially this one).
This month we make a pretty special announcement about Verb’s distribution expansion into Amazon <insert group gasp>. But before you react- hear us out. At Verb, it has never been about if we were going to sell Verb on Amazon, it was about when and how. This week we will introduce you to how we spent months making sure that this expansion was centered around the client, brought our focus back to great & accessible products, protects our brand identity and maintains a loyal customer base (that’s you). Stick with us on this one.
According to some crazy stats*, 85% of Amazon Prime members visit the site weekly. Even if you're not an avid online shopper….chances are you've gone to the site, seen an Amazon studios production or know a bff who orders everything in their life from the site. It's been an easy and convenient way for consumers to shop for almost anything they need (and get it quickly). When it comes to beauty- a purchasing experience that has for so long required innovation, research, a beautiful celebrity endorsement, a personalized shopping experience to perform- Amazon strips all that away and still succeeds despite most people not knowing where their product is coming from and who they are buying it from. At Verb, we think that is pretty terrifying.
We sat down with resident Verb girl + Amazon expert, Synda for her tips of things to know before you shop on the (so convenient) site. We get it, we are all busy and totally want to buy our ziplock bags and our shampoo with one-click. But not so fast— To shop correctly and safely it is important to know that there are multiple ways of selling on Amazon, meaning as a consumer there are a variety of ways to make your purchases.
Let’s break down the how.
There are two ways to sell product on Amazon.
1. Vendor Central: Some products are sold directly to Amazon for them to sell to you. We would say— this is great and safe but it is almost impossible for the client to know if they are purchasing from vendor centrals. There is one fool proof way if you want a 100% guarantee- shop luxury only.
2. Seller Central “Amazon Marketplace”: AKA when you type something into the search bar and a bunch of products pop up, this is where most of the product we buy is coming from. A majority of the sellers on the Amazon Marketplace are third party sellers. These third party sellers usually acquire brand name products through distributors, wholesale deals or companies looking to liquid excess stock- that’s why customers can find products for a cheaper price than at a store. Everyone knows at least one person's uncle whose full time job is to sell things on Amazon. This is how he does it.
Did we just say your uncle has been selling Verb on Amazon... maybe? The point is, we don't know. Up until today, when you've seen Verb on Amazon it has not been in connection to our actual business and we have no way of knowing who the people are behind selling our products.
Amazon could not be wiggling their way into our everyday lives better. This way of shopping checks out when we are buying sealed product (ie- paper towels) but we would rather not buy our hairspray like this. Despite removing some human interaction in the buying experience, we have a zero tolerance policy for removing the authenticity behind our products.
Let’s talk about reasons to avoid these sellers (sorry Uncle Joe):
1. No Customer service guarantee. If a pump on your Ghost Hairspray or Leave-In Mist is broken we can help replace it, we can guarantee real products and the only good ingredients that make them up. When you purchase from an unauthorized seller, it is a lot harder for you to get back to us so we can resolve the problem.
2. Unknown product origin. You would think in this digital age it would be easier for us to tell where your bottle of Ghost Oil has been for it’s whole life. But we can’t. That means your product might be old, damaged or even a complete fake. I think we can agree that applying fake product to your hair doesn’t ever save you time or money.
3.) All in all it is time consuming and tricky to spot these sellers as they can use real product photos, videos or anything created by a brand legally. And most of these sellers ship their products to Amazon so their listing can fall under the “FBA” umbrella that Prime members enjoy...aka that little "recommended by amazon" sticker you always look for!
So remember next time to note that just because a product states “Fulfilled by Amazon”, does not mean that the product is directly coming from Amazon who acquired it from the brand - Amazon fulfills the order on behalf of anyone selling.
So what's the best way to shop on Amazon:
Ideally consumers should always buy from Amazon Vendor direct or directly from the Brand. A great way to know whether you are buying from the brand is to call or email them. Our amazon questions always shoot to the top of our priority list because we are committed to our clients getting the safest, newest product that we 100% guarantee.
Real Verb Products will be listed at $18 on Amazon - so yes, sometimes you may see that coveted Ghost Oil you want for a cheaper price however once you purchase, we cannot guarantee that it's a real product or what condition the product will arrive in.
Make sure you see "Verb Haircare" as the seller's name! Only those products are the real deal from us.
We are really excited about being able to offer Verb through one of the fastest growing channels that exists today. At the Verb office, we are huge Amazon fans but we want to make sure you understand we are proceeding with caution. It is a fast moving environment and is lightyears away from where beauty was 40 years ago. One thing hasn’t changed though, good product that is relatable with the client, prevails. At Verb we may not have a perfect model on a poster to show you how amazing dry shampoo is, but we believe that there is freedom in no longer having to grow a brand like that. We are running to the future and excited for what is next.
Join in our conversation what is next for the digital age of beauty on our instagram.