In a year in which e-commerce accelerated across the board, LovelySkin entered the last year with nearly two decades of experience behind it.
Joel Schlessinger, M.D., FAAD, president, LovelySkin.com, and chief editor, cosmetic surgery, Practical Dermatology Magazine, said it was Amazon that prompted his early interest in selling skin care online, seeing the success the company was having selling books. Still, with no real trail to follow, Schlessinger told the Beauty Inc audience the experience included a lot of experimentation, not knowing at the time if e-commerce was necessarily the place to sell skin care. In 2021, however, it’s hard to imagine a world without e-commerce for the beauty industry.
Still, even with an established digital space, Schlessinger said, “I can’t even begin to tell you how much we’ve had to pivot, but I will say that when I assumed that the pandemic was going to be something, and as a practicing dermatologist, I was a bit closer to the challenges and saw the handwriting on the wall in early March 2020.”
At that time, LovelySkin’s first move was to go from ordering two or three months of inventory to seven or eight months of inventory, acknowledging the potential for severe shortages of certain products. The move proved to be extraordinarily helpful, he said, when the company began shipping double to quadruple its standard orders during an average day in April.
“I approached e-commerce as a physician, not as a business person, because I’ve never taken a single business course in my life,” Schlessinger said. “I had to figure out the way that I felt like it was the safest, and also the most effective. In medicine, there’s zero tolerance for any errors and we did with medicine what we did with our e-commerce.”
Some of the ways the company maintained safety was an early adaption of masks and gloves and taking social distancing precautions when packing orders. Additionally, Schlessinger said, as a company he “wanted to make sure that our customers felt that their orders were coming to them safely, so we made sure that we provided information for our customers as well, that was COVID-19 helpful and it was actually something that truly resonated with our customer base. They love the fact that we had the opportunity to share some of that medical information.”
In the interest of serving consumers better, LovelySkin also implemented PayPal’s installment payment options to give consumers more flexible ways to pay.
“We were concerned that we weren’t going to be able to serve their needs, so that’s when discussion about PayPal’s services and its Pay-in-Four came around because we were concerned that people wouldn’t have the funds to adequately pay for their for their goods,” Schlessinger said. “That was one way that we helped our customers and who were frankly suffering during the pandemic.”
Since the Pay-in-Four services were implemented onto LovelySkin.com in October 2020, Carol Hargrave, senior director, commerce product marketing, product marketing at PayPal, noted that the company has seen success both with increased traffic and increased order values.
According to Schlessinger, PayPal’s services allow LovelySkin.com an extension of the safety that he has seen consumers wanting from transactions. “They want safety and that’s where PayPal fits in,” he said. “They want that assurance that an order is being fulfilled without risk to them, and that’s why they enjoy the service.”