Nothing Lady Gaga does is conventional, and that now includes launching her new beauty brand exclusively on Amazon.
In a move that shocked the beauty retail industry, Lady Gaga’s upcoming beauty line Haus Laboratories will be available on Amazon in nine countries starting in September. The launch has the potential to change brands’ perception of the ecommerce platform.
“A lot of companies do not like to be on Amazon because they believe it degrades their brand,” said Michelle Grant, head of retailing at Euromonitor, a market research company. “So to have Lady Gaga do an exclusive with Amazon is very pivotal.”
Haus Laboratories is set to go live in September, with preorders beginning on Prime Day, July 15. The beauty line includes six collections and nine limited-edition duo sets, with products such as lip gloss and shimmer powder. With its rollout on Amazon, the line is set to be global from the start, available in the U.S., France, Germany, Singapore and Brazil, according to the Business of Fashion.
The Amazon tie-in also means the brand will have unprecedented supply chain capabilities, giving it a possible edge; customers won’t be able to try it on in-person but they’ll be able to receive the product quickly. However, Grant said, that could also hurt Haus, as there won’t be a real-life element to the beauty brand’s hype such as lines out the door of a store like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty had.
“People won’t be able to go and experience that product in the space, which is still really important for beauty,” Grant said. “She gets international scale immediately, but she doesn’t have any stores to really brand and merchandise the product like Fenty did with Sephora.”
Plus, there’s the issue of Amazon’s branding. Though the ecommerce behemoth has made headway into creating better branding experiences—whether it’s having a dedicated showcase for beauty products or removing third-party sellers that degrade a brand’s image—it remains to be seen how Amazon will market the product. Grant said Amazon’s expansion of its advertising and marketing options means there’s room for Haus to grow beyond the performance-driven marketing the platform usually provides.
If so, it might lead to more brands going directly to Amazon, a move some digitally native brands are already making including deodorant company Native. A new study from marketing agency Tinuiti found 26.6% of consumers chose Amazon as their top choice for online beauty shopping, above Ulta and Sephora. Consumer behavior seems to be changing just in time for the Haus launch, which could lead other brands to begin dipping their toes into Amazon’s waters.
“People are changing their minds because Amazon has become very powerful due to a lot of traffic,” Grant said. “People are searching for brands there and you’re not there and your competitor is you’ll have to be there.”
However, Jon Reily, vp of global commerce strategy lead at Publicis Sapient, said Lady Gaga’s popularity “will drive customers who would buy it no matter where it is to Amazon,” but for people who are interested in trying it out, it’s a “riddle.”
“If she was in Ulta or Sephora or even CVS, she’d get more new customers than Amazon, where I suspect the majority of consumers know what they want before they get there,” Reily said. “I’m not a consumer of the channel, but it seems to me that people would be more likely to try something in a real-world setting like an Ulta store as opposed to take a chance on new product via only a product detail page if they had no allegiance to Lady Gaga. There’s an awful lot of competition on Amazon.”