eCommerce success: the story of Glossier (2)

  • Let´s continue analyzing the story of Glossier. Today, we are going to look at how they have approached content and social responsibility to be so successful.

  • A promise is a promise: today, we continue with the second part of the story of Glossier, a cosmetic brand that, as you will know from the first post of the series, was born from the success of a blog, "Into The Gloss", which its founder Emily Weiss knew how to monetize in a masterful way.

    Today we are going to focus on exploring two aspects that we did not have time to see in the previous post: we are referring to Glossier's content marketing, which was already present before the company itself, and its Corporate Social Responsibility work, which in this case is very important since Glossier has developed into an ethical business in many aspects.
  • Glossier's Content Marketing Strategy

  • Let's start with the first of these two pillars that make Glossier a different brand: content marketing, which is much more than just a blog, although in this case it does not hurt to start here.

    In the previous post we already made a small introduction about "Into The Gloss", but the truth is that it deserves a much more detailed analysis.
  • #1 – The differential factor of "Into The Gloss”

  • I am sure you have read and heard that there are many reasons why an eCommerce needs a blog. But, as on other occasions, we will see how a blog manages to turn into a successful eCommerce. 

    Unlike other cases -such as the community of freakies of the limited edition Hypebeast sneakers, which also started from a blog-, we can say that Glossier's blog is not so niche.
  • We say this because, to fit that definition, it should be much more segmented, target to a more specific audience with much more concrete needs. In reality, it is true that we are talking about "natural looking cosmetics", but on paper it does not seem such a restrictive segmentation criteria (among other things because of the subjective side).
  • INSIGHT: If you really want to have room for growth, the content has to be segmented, knowing your audience very well, but do not restrict it excessively. You would be running the risk of being very relevant to a universe that is too small to be a viable business. Glossier is a good example of how not to restrict segmentation too much.
  • #2 –Much content does not equal many categories

  • You can touch on an infinite number of subjects, but it is important that we do not go crazy with categories. If we want them to be strong from an SEO point of view and interesting enough for visitors, it does not make sense to create a category for each post as is often the case.

    In "Into The Gloss", despite the huge volume of articles that have been added all these years, you will only find 4 highlighted categories in the main menu: interviews, makeup, skin care and hairdressing.

    It is true that by browsing you will find some more, such as extras (lifestyle), open threads, guides and analysis. But they are on a second level.
  • INSIGHT: create an editorial calendar in which the typologies/categories of content are not dispersed. Make yourself strong in four or five so as not to diversify excessively and, without meaning to, cause your readers to end up not finding the content.

    Also, in this sense there is something very important: try not to cannibalize categories of the blog with those of the online store.
    In this sense, Glossier has decided not to integrate the two resources in the same domain and, in this way, you can be competing with two URLs for the same search intention (one informational and one transactional). But, if they were integrated, they would have a problem controlling which one is indexed for which search.
  • #3 –Types of content

  • Logically, they have not succeeded only because of how they have organized content: the key is how they work each post. They work hard to give everything a practical and value-adding touch with an air of its own.

    For example, it is not uncommon to see that when they present a comparison between different products, they use a matrix with 4 quadrants. That way, in addition to the detailed and accessible explanation in the text, they visually illustrate the information.
  • INSIGHT: Another hallmark in Glossier/"Into The Gloss" is lifestyle. All their publications seem to be designed so that their target audience is projected in the protagonists of those publications. And, especially in the interviews, which allow us to access the cosmetic products that certain celebrities treasure, hence the influencer of marketing comes to life. 
  • #4 – Social Media and dynamization of contents

  • Let's start with something that has nothing to do with social networks, but that is decisive in the strategy of dynamization of "Into The Gloss": its email marketing.

    If you have such deep, regular and abundant content, writing a good newsletter opens up access to the mail of hundreds or thousands of subscribers who are eager to hear from your brand. Since the posts usually link to own products, there is no need to create a newsletter full of promotions to sell. 

    Then, obviously, they have a presence in the main networks, with particular emphasis on those that rely more on lifestyle (as we mentioned):
    • Instagram and Facebook (same adapted content): combines product photos with videos and "unfiltered" photos of these real women with others of pure product that are very well cared for. Good use of Instagram TV to develop long content, by the way.
    • Twitter: in this case, we do see something different in terms of adaptation to the network. Especially, because they do not mind using their own memes and content. Much relevance to user-generated content with frequent retuits to their followers.
    • Pinterest: this is the network that is often forgotten and that in Oleoshop we often claim for. I highly recommend that you take a look at their profile and see things like their wonderful board of beautiful bodies with scars, stretch marks, muscular bodies, overweight... realistic beauty standards in which almost all of us can recognize ourselves.
    • YouTube: the ideal place for the beauty and skin care tutorials replicated on the aforementioned Instagram TV
  • INSIGHT:Social networks have to make sense on their own and work independently but in a coordinated way to give the blog publications and their contents a long life. In addition, there is a huge respect for the community that is given voice and listened to. 
  • #5 – Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Companies are part of society and, in some way, are obliged to give something back. Or, at least, to minimize any negative impact they may cause on their environment and people.

    In addition to a clear positioning in favour of real beauty, Glossier has been committed to sustainability from the very beginning. This is one of the brand's founding values and they carry it out to the letter. How do they do it.
    • Limited packaging: this is a good example of how to react to a demand from your audience. Despite this interest in sustainability, they received complaints about "over-packaging" on social networks. Their response was to remove bubble wrap and unnecessary stickers. Everybody wins
    • Recyclable packaging: all cardboard is 100% recyclable and plastic has been eliminated from the box fillings (which, by the way, could be recycled at the brand's points of sale).
    • Eliminating from its catalog products that do not benefit the environment if necessary. Their hands do not shake when making these decisions.
  • INSIGHT: It is interesting to see how more and more ethical businesses are making their customers' values their own and aligning themselves with them. Without a doubt, this is the case of Glossier and part of its enormous success.

    They are not afraid to rectify because, among other things, they have discovered that this is even more valued by their customers. In fact, it's not surprising that it is a brand like Glossier that listens and aligns itself with the values of its customers without hesitation, considering the importance they have given from the zero minute to the sense of community.
  • Keys to Glossier's success

    • Creating authority before business: we always say that content is an asset for all brands. That ability to prescribe from the role of expert is pure gold. In fact, who needs influencers when they are inside the company itself? 
    • The blog as an engine: in reality it is more than that, we could say that it is an independent line of business. As a policy, it is surprising that it has not been integrated into the store and maintains its own domain, but it works 
    • The differential fact of arriving first: in a market as saturated as the cosmetics one, it is important to be different and make a proposal that is not "more of the same". Glossier has largely set new standards in its segment. 
    • Growing based on market knowledge: they have known who their customers are from the very beginning, and this makes it easier to find the ideal product. You may not have that possibility, but you can perform user tests to find the most interesting keys. 
    • Not all products work to maintain reputation and consideration of your audience. Glossier takes great care of what it sells and is growing progressively but within its niche. In fact, beyond some garments, it has grown vertically and not horizontally by adding too many unrelated categories. 
    • Giving voice to community: we have already said that in its files it is the customers who generate most of the content. This is of enormous value and it is understood that they will continue to promote it. 
    • Customer comes first (really): in this case it is not a way of talking because everything is done with them in mind. Surely this philosophy is inherited from the very precise knowledge they have acquired thanks to so many years of blogging. 
    • Content that generates conversations: engagement is key to selling these products, as it enhances social testing and creates a sense of shared community experience. 
    • Community above all: with this good work combining quality products, relevant content, active presence in social networks and reactivity to the demands of their audience, they are achieving that a large percentage become brand ambassadors.
    • Responsibility: aesthetic products tend more and more to the sustainable and ecological, if you stay out of that trend ... many potential customers will not even consider you. This is Glossier´s hallmark.
  • What do you think of Glossier's eCommerce success story? Did you think it had so much to explore? What have you learned from Glossier's story? Tell us what you found most interesting.

  • Images| Unsplash and Glossier.

Laia Ordoñez

Laia Ordóñez is a copywriting & eCommerce content marketing expert. She is Content & Marketing Manager at DueHome, a copywriting & content independent advisor, and Oleoshop's blog's editor-in-chief.

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