Next big thing: social commerce gets a beauty makeover

16 Jun 2011

Fast-emerging social commerce player Owjo has struck a vital deal with major cosmetics wholesaler The Beauty Store in a move that could revolutionise how more than 1,000 small businesses across Ireland sell online.

Owjo’s technology makes e-commerce portable, enabling retailers to have their online store embedded and shared anywhere on web, especially via social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

The Beauty Store provides cosmetics from Aviva Labs, Dr Grandel Skincare and others to 1,000 boutiques and salons across Ireland.

It will provide these 1,000 businesses a 20pc discount for makeup as an incentive to signing up for the next-generation e-commerce technology.

From next week, The Beauty Store will begin to contact more than 1,000 boutiques and salons across Ireland to recommend they join Owjo in order to grow their business on the internet. Owjo wants to change how retail works in Ireland’s beauty and cosmetics sector, and work with these small businesses to revolutionise how they sell online.

“The beauty industry is booming,” Owjo evangelist Johnny Ryan said in the company blog.

“Despite the downturn, the number of visits to beauty salons by women have risen by 70,000 to 830,000 since 2008, according to TGI research.

“But many of the small businesses in this sector are not embracing online retail to grow their business further. Budget and awareness is a constraint, but we do not think it should be – because what we have in mind doesn’t cost a thing.

“We think users don’t want to just ‘like’ brands, they want to ‘buy’ them. And they want to be able to ‘share’ the ability to ‘buy’ from stores that they like. And we are not alone.”

Ryan said The Beauty Store is so convinced about social commerce that it volunteered the 20pc discount for its network of customers. In return, Owjo is providing free set-up experience.

“The Beauty Store has committed to giving any boutique or salon from among its client base that starts using Owjo-powered social commerce on its Facebook page, official site, or other web presence a 20pc discount on its next wholesale order,” Ryan said.

Other beauty brands that have already joined Owjo include Belissimo, Rockstar Tan, Niall O’Reilly Hair and Beauty, Noel Higgins Hairdressing and Make-up Atelier Paris.

Social commerce = viral commerce

Owjo first appeared on’s radar late last year when it began selling unseen Thin Lizzy artwork created by renowned Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick on his Facebook site. A week later, the company launched a portable online store letting people sell on any platform, such as Facebook, MySpace or any other website.

Owjo has invented patent pending technology that enables Facebook users to complete purchases without being pushed to a third-party site to complete the transaction.

This one-stop-shop functionality completely removes the steps that typically result in shopping cart abandonment.

“This is entirely unique,” said Ryan.

“Most importantly, Owjo-powered stores enable Facebook users to share fully functioning stores virally on each others’ Facebook Walls. This is not only unique, it is revolutionary,” he said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years