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Retail Recon: The Beard Oil Category

    

It may seem like a hip trend, but the history of beard oil dates back to ancient times. It makes sense when you think about it. Men have been able to grow facial hair since the dawn of our existence. From the Romans to the Victorians, men have been using various oils to keep their beards conditioned and groomed.

The first modern incarnation of beard oil became commercially available in the 1930s. It was thinner and less messy than previous products. These modern versions utilized ingredients like argan, jojoba, grape seed, and almond oil. 

Since about 2006, beards have once again been on the rise. Naturally, beard oils and other beard grooming products have come to the forefront. Today, the beard care and accessories category has exploded.

On Amazon alone, beard care is estimated to be worth over $100 million per year (including trimmers and combs), and the term “beard oil” receives nearly 100k searches a month which is very high relative to other personal care categories. And that’s not including search terms related to product benefits and features like “argan oil” and “jojoba oil”. These terms are raking in about 35,000 searches a month each.

To be a part of all this growth, you’ll need to differentiate your brand, find your niche, and kick-off with strong marketing chops. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the eCommerce strategy behind two of the top players in the category: Viking Revolution and Honest Amish.

Viking Revolution

With an estimated annual Amazon revenue of about $24 million, Viking Revolution is in the top 1% of sellers on Amazon. When you consider the fact that they’ve only been around since 2016, this number is even more impressive. But how did it make so much headway on Amazon so quickly? 

The answer lies in product design, SKU optimization, the application of eCommerce content best practices and marketing execution. Let’s take a closer look.

Benefit-Driven and Keyword-Rich Copy

Product detail on all of the brand’s listing pages is benefit-driven and keyword-rich. Although a lot of information is present, it all reinforces the brand’s main mantra of simple ingredients. Every bit of the listing points back to this differentiator.

First

A+ Content Reinforces Brand

The brand’s A+ Content is clear and concise. It reinforces what makes this brand special in words and in pictures. Packaging, definitely one of the brand’s key assets in this case, is front and center along with bright photography that makes ingredients the hero. Including the outerbox in the image adds an extra hit of branding and color and allows the brand to occupy more of the image square. One opportunity for improvement would be to add additional communication to the outerbox to complement (instead of repeating) what’s already on the bottle.

The team at Viking Revolution has designed a stellar eCommerce pack. The packages clearly identify the size and include good branding elements–they are also easy to read even on small mobile devices.

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Third

Parent-Child Listing Structure

Item listings are structured with “parent-child” relationships, making it easy for shoppers to choose between different pack sizes and combo options without having to navigate away from the listing. This also allows reviews to aggregate and be shared between sizes.

Fourth

Keeping Resellers Under Control

One of the biggest problems for brands on Amazon is the large number of low quality reseller listings on Amazon. Viking Revolution is doing an excellent job at keeping the resellers at bay. 

Pro Tip: To avoid competing with resellers, be diligent about adding channel-specific selling restrictions into your reseller contracts from the get-go.  

Missed Opportunities

There’s always room for improvement, right?

For as strong as their listing is, Viking Revolution is missing one key element: they are not using their images as well as they could to tell their story and reinforce benefits. Most of their images are brand focused and do not further showcase the critical features listed in the bullet points. A good practice is to have your images reinforce your product details and claims.

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Honest Amish

When looking at Honest Amish’s Amazon presence, you would never know they have the #1 selling SKU in beard oil. With an estimated annual Amazon revenue of about $8 million per year, they are one of the fastest-growing brands on Amazon.

So, what’s driving their success?

Rating and Reviews

Reviews are the lifeblood of any seller on Amazon and can make or break your business - items with great and voluminous reviews will inspire trust get higher conversion rates.  They are also a key contributor to being favored with Amazon’s search algorithm known as A9. You can learn more about how brands generate reviews in our previous blog post on the topic.

With nearly 4,000 ratings and reviews, Honest Amish has 4 times more than the category average. Not only that, the product rating is also very high at 4.5 stars (a good benchmark is 4.2).

Missed Opportunities

Benefit-Driven, scannable, SEO-rich copy: Amazon gives you 150 characters for your listing title and 100 characters per bullet point. This makes it easy to weave in tons of search terms and keywords to drive traffic to your listing.

Currently, Honest Amish seems to be taking a minimalist approach and is only using a fraction of their copy real estate. Imagine the surge in sales they could have if they incorporated more category keywords into the listing.

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Product images: Currently Honest Amish is using 2 of the 9 allocated images that Amazon allows you to use. While Amazon will only show 7 before you have to click to see more, it is crucially important to include as many images as needed to tell the full story. This is your chance as a brand to further communicate to the consumer at the new point of influence.

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Key Takeaway

Both Viking Revolution and Honest Amish are highly successful in the beard oil category, but they aren’t necessarily checking all the boxes for best practices. In a more competitive category, they would be forced to evolve their listing strategy to continue the sales velocity they are currently experiencing. 

That said, both brands have delivered beautiful, masculine packaging and photography that will appear to their core shopping base. With a little more SEO optimization, copy clarity improvement, and marketing, we’re confident that both beard brands will continue to “grow” on Amazon!

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