5 Challenges Facing Your Cosmetics Supply Chain

woman browsing make up in store

A finely-tuned fulfillment solution is a beautiful thing to behold, especially when we're talking about a cosmetics supply chain!

Beauty products are just the kind of delivery that consumers can't wait to receive, which means any delay reflects badly not only on the order but the entire brand experience.

Even with an exquisite product involved, however, every supply chain has the potential to turn ugly. Unexpected challenges arise; inadequate storage spoils your product, packaging arrives less than perfect, or any other number of fulfillment disasters that seem like a worst-case scenario can crop up. When it's infrequent, you can cope. When it becomes normal to see returns piling up and customers complaining about the state or timing of their delivery, it can damage your brand irreparably.

5 Cosmetics Supply Chain Challenges

With that in mind, here are five challenges faced by the cosmetics supply chain that your business must overcome to become a beauty brand that customers trust:

  1. TRENDS DRIVE DEMAND - Staying on top of consumer tastes is a constant in the cosmetics industry, which means that what's hot today needs to be on store shelves yesterday. That leaves very little room for disruptions that slow delivery, as there are plenty of competitors waiting to fill that hot order if your company can't. Viewed in this context of dynamic cosmetics demand, a fast and reliable supply chain provides more than peace of mind, it becomes your competitive advantage over those with weaker fulfillment solutions.
  2. REFRIGERATION REQUIRED? - Many product categories have unique requirements regarding handling and storage, but the stakes rise to another level when climate control is involved. Because cosmetics must often be stored at a specific temperature, your warehouse's knowledge and ability to accommodate varying levels of refrigeration becomes a key. Failure to meet this challenge and the cost of waste becomes a major issue, even before you take into account the lost orders and drop in brand reputation that inevitably follows.
  3. PACKAGING EQUALS PRESTIGE - Everyone at Capacity is of the opinion that packaging is one of the most important elements of order fulfillment. That applies tenfold when it comes to the luxury goods that flow through the beauty and cosmetics supply chain, because the impression your customer gets when they first open that box informs every other aspect of their experience with your product. If it still shimmers and shines after hours on the delivery van, your order fulfillment is keeping a crucial brand promise. If it arrives dusty and damaged, you have to ask tough questions of your warehouse, because you can be sure your customer is going to!
  4. DIVERSE DESTINATIONS - This can be true of other product categories as well, but the beauty products you deliver probably span the spectrum of destinations. From the individual customer who orders a single item to the international retailer who orders your entire range, you need to be prepared for every eventuality when it comes to what you store and how you send it. Even more important in this challenge is the ability to scale quickly. If a big order arrives unexpectedly, perhaps as a retailer picks up your product after a successful test and wants to take it nationwide in weeks, you're going to need a fulfillment team who understands how to expedite those initial shipments through the supply chain.
  5. SAFE & SECURE - For a category of product that typically involves small items, security is a big consideration. What cosmetics shipments sometimes lack in size, they more than makeup (pardon the pun) in value, which makes theft prevention crucial. As with any supply chain, you're only as strong as your weakest link. Every storage point and transport provider must be vetted for the highest security standards, to make sure that these expensive products that should be in stores don't slip off into the night before they make it to the shelf.

If you can successfully address these five main concerns, be it with your in-house operation or a third-party fulfillment provider, your cosmetics supply chain will not only drive your business, it will delight your customers and keep them coming back for more.

Just as your products make those who buy them look and feel better about themselves, your business will experience a similar feeling knowing its supply chain is in safe hands.

If you have questions about facing up to your unique cosmetics supply chain challenges, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.