HOT SCOOP: Gloss.com Bites the Dust –Or Is It Taking A Powder– in JUNE! !LA STORY Gets the "Down Low" Blog!
Back in the "dark ages" of the web, there emerged tons of new sites for women– particularly beauty ecommerce sites for women. Remember Eve.com? Beautyscene? Beautyjungle? Eve and Beautyscene died ignominious deaths. Beautyjungle was swallowed up by Beauty.com which was in turn swallowed by Drugstore.com but still maintains as a distinct identity. Sephora emerged first as a brick and mortar store and then launched online. Gloss.com emerged as a viable alternative because it was created by a collection of former execs from a variety of high end department stores who sold out to Estee Lauder but since developed a cooperative with cosmetic, skincare and fragrance giants: Clarins, Chanel and Thierry Mugler.
Brands involved from Estee Lauder included Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Darphin, Estee Lauder, Jo Malone, La Mer, LAB Series, MAC, Origins, Prescriptives, and Rodan+Fields along with several MAJOR heavy hitting fragrance brands (Missioni, Sean John, Kors and more) — each a major brand and entity in its own right and owning a chunk of beauty real estate.
Prepare yourself for some bad news and (hold onto your holy grail Gloss products).. because Gloss.com is going to fold come June 2007. YUP.. That’s right. While it was intimated in WWD earlier last month, it’s official and I have held the lid on this story till now.
Why are they shutting down? According to the "powers that be" at Gloss.com, their market analysis showed that the online business was growing dramatically, but unfortunately Gloss.com business was the least competitive and showed the least growth amongst its competitors including their own brand sites and partner brand sites. Rather than keep slogging through the quicksand that Gloss has become mired in, they are going to focus on those sites doing well and skip the rest.
While Gloss.com has shown double -digit sales figures and Clarins in particular has seen significant sales (approximately $3,000,000.00 in 2006), the website seems to be faltering in showing a return on its investment. While it was created during an internet boom time – and survived the dot com/e-commerce crash– it has required significant time and dollars to keep it going.
When one factors in the Estee Lauder Corp sites along with the Chanel sites already operating, one wonders what took so long for Gloss.com HQ to wake up and smell the lip gloss.
Fret not if you are a Clarins or Thierry Mugler lover! Websites for both brand will be launching soon in France and the U in May with other global web portals rolling out over the next couple of years. For Clarins customer base, it will be a more user friendly site.
For those Thierry Mugler fans, there is a site coming this month, shopthierrymugler.com, that is launching both in the US and France.
So my peeps, if you are a Gloss fan or have outstanding orders, get to it and stock up. Don’t think there will be any sales of outstanding stock since these are high powered brands that can shift stock to stores. However I could be wrong in that assumption.. but I wouldn’t put rest my mascara on that one.
The next question is how will this affect the other beauty e-commerce sites out there and those that are shaky, will they be able to stay the course? How will this affect the Chanel relationship with Sephora? Will this affect ANY of the Estee Lauder relationships with Sephora and will you see any beefing up of the cosmetic entities mentioned here in the different department/specialty store websites? How will this affect Beauty.com as well since they are known for their niche brands. Lots to think about boys and girls.. lots to think about.
Remember– you heard it hear first.