Part of the job of selling a product is educating your customer: not just in what you’re selling, but also why they should buy it, and how it works.
But what if your typical customer already knows the answers to those questions — and perhaps much more? Therein lies the challenge for UK-based beauty device brand CurrentBody, which sells electrocurrent devices used for anti-ageing, hair removal, skin care, and more to customers across 19 markets in Europe, Asia, and North America. They recently reclocated to Alderley Edge, joining a thriving hub of digital and technology businesses in the North West of England.
The winning formula for the 13-year-old ecommerce brand has been in cultivating a high-level of trust with a hyper-knowledgeable consumer base — and then leveraging that trust to expand beyond being a mere marketplace into selling their own products and devices.
“One of the main areas of focus for us as a business has always been our CEO Laurence Newman’s goal that we champion the brands that actually work.”
— Lyndsey Carbine — Head of Trading
“So the vast majority of the devices that we list on our site have FDA approval or a local equivalent, and they have clinical trials that sit behind them. There’s a broader market out there we could take advantage of, but we won’t list all of those products if there’s no clinical evidence or proof that they work.”
So far, that level of discernment has paid off. Even though it’s competing with retail behemoths such as Amazon and John Lewis which sell similar product lines, CurrentBody has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on TrustPilot, with north of 11,500 reviews. Part of keeping apace with CurrentBody’s diverse and motivated customer base has meant catering to local markets in a seamless way. While their home beauty product offerings may not vary much from, say, Taiwan to Germany — the customer experience and payment options do.
That combination of high trust and geographic adaptability has meant CurrentBody has been able to weather the pandemic with remarkable success — and become a stand-alone, trusted beauty brand in a crowded marketplace.
‘The Beauty Device Experts’
A big milestone for CurrentBody came when it expanded beyond being a marketplace for third-party brands and launched its own line of beauty devices.
It began with launching its own “hero product:” an LED light therapy mask, which can be used for treating acne, improving skin texture, reducing wrinkles, and more. The brand then expanded its own offering into more anti-ageing treatments, a growing category that’s fast gaining popularity with younger and younger customers. So far, 50,000 CurrentBody products have been sold worldwide.
Launching the brand’s own product line has “allowed us to actually be able to talk about CurrentBody as a brand,” Carbine says. “Before, the conversations that we were having were always really around the names of our third-party brands, so it’s helped us to crystallise our strapline: ‘The Beauty Device Experts.’ So now when you’re talking about CurrentBody, you’re not just talking about the ecommerce business — you’re talking about the product portfolio as well.
Marketing-wise, the brand has seen tremendous success working with micro-influencers, or creators with a maximum of 50,000 followers. Interestingly, the platforms where these creators find the most engagement are places like YouTube and niche blogs — which both lend themselves to in-depth content — rather than Instagram or TikTok, where shorter attention spans prevail.
“These micro-influencers drive huge sums of revenue because the people that follow and engage with them are really engaged audiences that trust people that they’re listening to,” Carbine says.
“We’ve done a lot of work with very large influencers, and you tend to see the traffic but you don’t necessarily see the impact on your sales performance.
— Lyndsey Carbine — Head of Trading
"Whereas with smaller influencers, people love to discover a new brand and feel that they’re in the know. So when they find somewhere like us that’s a niche beauty brand that specialises purely in these devices, then if they have a good experience, they tell their friends and followers and so on.”
The Halo Effect
It’s certainly helped CurrentBody that both the home beauty and anti-ageing categories have taken off in recent years. In the case of the former, the Covid-19 pandemic brought about a huge uptick in interest from customers who were looking for more ways to take care of themselves at home — especially when salons and aestheticians were closed due to lockdowns — and had more time to spend online doing research and finding specialist influencers to learn from. This resulted in “a period of significant growth” for the company in the pandemic-era economy.
And, as with most things skin-care related, the APAC market has led the way on trends. Carbine explains that in that region it’s not usual for 18 or 19 year olds to use anti-ageing products. The intense interest in skincare in that region has created a “halo effect” for the global company.
Globalisation Alongside Localisation
Part of CurrentBody’s success has been maintaining a commitment to white glove customer service and customer experience across all its diverse markets. With the help of Mollie’s products, CurrentBody has created seamless payment gateways in the Netherlands using iDEAL as well as in Germany by integrating SEPA. That’s part of an overall strategy to make sure that globalisation of the brand doesn’t sacrifice localisation of the experience — be it payment gateways, customer service, return and exchange policies, and product consultation.
“If you speak to our consultation team, one of the things that they are very proud of is that they will not just tell you what you should buy, they’ll tell you what you shouldn’t buy – as a result our return rates are very low,” Carbine said.
“We are now trying to make sure that we’ve got that experience absolutely right for all of the other territories … where perhaps time zones are different or languages are different. We see that as core to what separates us as a business: as beauty device experts, we will advise you against buying something if we know that it’s not going to work.”