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StockX Enters the Beauty Market | BoF Professional, The Business of Beauty, News & Analysis

StockX is partnering with Revlon to sell limited-edition lip gloss, eyeshadow palettes and other products, betting that the hype-driven formula that’s proven a hit with sneakerheads and baseball card collectors can work for makeup addicts, too.

Though best known as a resale marketplace, StockX has over the last year added more categories to its “DropX” model, where brands sell new products directly to consumers. The platform’s first major beauty drop, a Revlon collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, nods to the scarcity strategy that can send prices for certain pairs of sneakers into the stratosphere: the collection must be purchased as a complete set, with prices starting at $40 and rising by $5 for every 50 units sold, up to $60. Only 450 sets will be sold, in what Revlon is terming “hyper limited-edition.”

The drop is an attempt on Revlon’s part to reverse a long decline, particularly among younger customers online, where the brand was slow to realise the importance of social media in driving makeup sales. Rivals with a strong TikTok following, years-long partnerships with beauty Youtubers or fronted by celebrities ranging from Rihanna to Selena Gomez to Lady Gaga, have stolen market share. Revenue plunged 21 percent last year, partly due to the pandemic, but was declining for years prior. The onset of Covid-19 accelerated makeup’s shift online, with e-commerce expected to make up 28 percent of sales this year, compared with 17 percent in 2019, according to NPD Group.

“We know that the beauty space has become so crowded,” said Chandra Coleman, general manager of Revlon, adding that the StockX launch was “more about driving awareness.”

Revlon isn’t the only brand experimenting with new ways to sell makeup. E.l.f. launched on Twitch and Ulta Beauty partnered with a live streaming app. Rivals are also adopting a streetwear-style approach to marketing, including Mac’s “Underground” programme and Glossier’s hyped merch releases.

The launch will provide exposure to new audiences and a means of testing demand: Revlon to a new audience segment of streetwear-focused consumers; StockX to female consumers, which the company is courting after years of cultivating a following in male-dominated categories such as sports collectables.

Over the past few years, the platform has made a concerted marketing effort to expand beyond what it is known for — sneaker resale — to reach new categories and consumers. Female users and women’s exclusive sneaker drops have doubled year-over-year from 2019 to 2020, a consumer segment StockX is hoping to grow further this year.

“Everything we’re doing from a pure marketing point of view right now is designed to be appealing and more inclusive,” said Deena Bahri, chief marketing officer at StockX.

The platform’s experience in beauty is minimal, though it’s had some recent highlights: a collaboration between oral care brand Moon and Heron Preston sold out through DropX, and resales of Supreme’s Pat McGrath collection found traction on the site, with a tube of lipstick selling for 158 percent on average over its retail price.

“I wouldn’t say personal care is a category that we’re going after but rather we’re connecting with brands that align with our approach,” said Bahri.

The DropX model, launched last year, provides an entry point for those looking to experiment with selling on StockX, allowing brands to try out product pricing and consumer demand without a long-term commitment. As well, it provides consumer insights that can be used in creating future products or capsule collections. So far, the results have been promising: Last week, 100 units of wireless earbuds were sold via auction model, with the highest bid coming in over 600 percent of the retail price for roughly $1,000.

The plan is to host four to eight product launches on DropX every quarter, keeping quantities small and focusing on limited releases in unexpected product categories.

“It’s really about the heat and the buzz more than just the sheer scale of the program,” added Bahri.

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