Love it, hate it, or begrudgingly buy it even though you’re hyper-aware of how uber-trendy it is and secretly wish your shopping choices reflected some sense of individuality, Glossier ain’t going away anytime soon.
The skincare and makeup brand doesn’t release sales numbers, but they are apparently doing just fine. Glossier reportedly made three times as much revenue in 2017 than the year before, and there were rumors the company was looking to launch an IPO earlier this year, but there are plans for even bigger growth. A report from Bloomberg reveals that Glossier, which is already huge on Instagram, wants to a build a social platform of its own to drive sales.
The idea is that users will share Glossier product reviews, which will in turn help other users learn more about what products are right for them, and also buy products directly on the site. The first part sounds similar to how people discover new brands on Instagram or search product reviews on MakeupAlley or Sephora Forums.
But the second part—turning social chatter into actual sales—is something that brands have been trying to do on Instagram for years. In 2016, the photo-sharing app launched “Shoppable Tags,” which allow you to tap a photo, sell how much an item of clothing in the photo costs, and click it to be redirected to the brand’s actual website. But Instagram is still working out to how get people to buy shit on it without leaving the site; it recently rolled out a feature that lets users hook up their credit card to the app and book restaurant or salon reservations. But only a small number of users have gotten to test the feature, and young people shopping online are still twice as likely to buy something off a brand’s website than through a social platform.
The question for Glossier will be whether it can get enough users to join a yet another social media platform in the year of our lord 2018 (or whenever it launches). I’m skeptical, but the company also got $52 million in venture capital money in February, so I’m sure it will try to make it work.