New British beauty e-marketplace Blusho is shaking up the sector with an unusually democratic retail model that merges user-generated content within an affiliate e-commerce model.
The site allows anyone from professional make-up artists to amateurs to become influencers by sharing images of their work within the community, or participating in themed competitions. However, only top contributors – those deemed by Blusho as having particularly high-quality work – are invited into an elite section on the site where they are able to monetise their content.
By using a bespoke tagging system to indicate the products used to create a specific look, shoppers can click directly from the Blusho platform to purchase items, usually via the product brand's e-commerce site. Blusho takes a commission.
The use of user-generated content (largely selfies) marks a shrewd bid to appeal to teens and millennials – a group increasingly responsive to peer images and reviews rather than retouched model shots or traditional expertise. See Teen Targeted Beauty, publishing on November 19, for more.
While brands using the platform aren't presently able to initiate direct involvement with users, engaging those with high or rising profiles as brand ambassadors would be a shrewd way to infiltrate the system.
The site also includes a wish-listing tool, a product search and extensive filter options including 'face parts', 'looks' and 'brands' to pinpoint specific interests. The image-driven platform also boasts tutorials – another key lure for YouTube-hungry Gen Y. See YouTube's Beauty Advocates for more.
Replicating social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, beauty fans can also comment on images and personalise their feed by following favourite artists or scouting new products in the trending section.
The concept taps into a booming market: global beauty spending is forecast to reach around $265bn by 2017, with a growth rate of +3.4% per year, according to global market research firm Lucintel. For more on how user-generated content is boosting beauty sales, see Cover FX: Fan-Made Beauty Content Spurs Sales and The Social Media Sell 2015. For more on the value of perceived authenticity, see our Macro Trend Get Real, Rethinking Beauty and Brands Behaving Authentically.