Forrester’s Digital Go-To-Market Review evaluates brand manufacturers and how well they are positioned to thrive independently of online marketplaces and even traditional retailers. In our second edition of this study, we focused on the beauty goods sector, evaluating 34 brands on five elements for a total of 20 attributes. From this review, we rated seven brands as best in class: Dove, Essie, Gillette, MAC, OLAY, OPI, and Urban Decay.

We found that best-in-class beauty brands focused on four key areas:

  • Owning the sale, then enabling post-transaction engagement. Surprisingly, 14 of the 34 beauty brands we evaluated did not have a buy button that captured sales on their own website. Once brands have successfully enabled direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, they are able to own the customer relationship. In the nondurable goods space, offering subscription and loyalty programs options adds longevity to a relationship.
  • Supporting e-control efforts. The bulk of e-control involves establishing explicit reseller parameters. However, the entry-level approach to e-control is for brands to inform consumers about where authentic and authorized product is available and why those venues are preferable. This step is particularly important in beauty as counterfeit cosmetics can contain bacteria and chemicals that are hazardous to human health.
  • Amplifying product credibility with expert information. By attracting organic traffic, brands activate word-of-mouth marketing as well as other discovery sources beyond search engines or marketplaces. Many of the beauty brands we evaluated had large followings across a variety of social networks. They achieved this loyalty, in part, with a credible group of make-up artists, influencers, and celebrity ambassadors who review products and star in professionally created content.
  • Developing innovative and fun websites. Beauty brands also showcased innovation through entertaining and engaging website tools that use technologies such as augmented reality (AR). Many brands offered virtual try-on or a virtual consultation with a beauty expert. Some advanced sites offered tools that analyze images of your face and recommend personalized skin care products.

Next up: Watch for upcoming Forrester Digital Go-To-Market Reviews for brands in the consumer electronics sector and consumer packaged goods (CPG). And tune into the replay of our How Brands And Manufacturers Thrive In The Age Of Marketplaces virtual event, featuring a series of panels and sessions on the most important topics for brand manufacturers now, such as marketing, direct-to-consumer sales, marketplace forecasts and models, innovation, drop shipping, e-control, blockchain, personalization, and more.

To learn more about our brand manufacturer research and the Digital Go-To-Market Review — and what your company should do based on these findings — please email Madeline Cyr (, me (, or your Forrester account manager.