Amazon announced Monday the launch of the Amazon Professional Beauty Store "to offer professional stylists, barbers, and estheticians a convenient, custom shopping experience with great selection," according to a company press release.
Brands sold through the store will include Wella Color Charm, RUSK and OPI Professional, among others, and the store will also feature beauty supplies "typically found in salons and spas," the company said.
In order to shop the professional-use selection, customers must provide proof of their profession, such as a cosmetology, barber or esthetician license. Shoppers can upload their license to a free Amazon Business account to prove their eligibility to shop the items.
Amazon made a compelling case Monday for why professionals in the beauty space should shift their spending from traditional players like Sally Beauty and Ulta Beauty to its own online shopping platform.
The e-commerce giant pitched itself as a one-stop shop for beauty supplies that professionals would otherwise have to go to multiple stores to purchase. "Stores may be owned by major brands and thus have few competing products, with no price comparison," the announcement read. "Amazon Business can address these stylist pain-points with its large number of selling partners and fast, convenient delivery directly to their business."
Shares of Ulta Beauty and Sally Beauty fell on the news Monday, according to Seeking Alpha, which also cited a Jefferies warning that close to a third of Sally Beauty's business is at risk of being impacted by the move.
Sally Beauty has struggled to compete recently, facing competition from the ever-popular Sephora and Ulta. A little over a year ago, the retailer cut jobs at its headquarters as part of a cost-saving effort, and a rare bright spot in its turnaround was the debut of a new loyalty program in October.
The threat of Amazon has been looming over the beauty sector for some time now, as it seems to with any category Amazon decides to enter. The retailer already generates a significant number of sales in the space — the top spot, by some measures — and in March the company announced a private label skincare line, a bad omen for others in the space.
As with every sector Amazon chooses to break into, the retailer is making its main play on price and convenience, touting free one- or two-day delivery with Business Prime and low prices on a variety of brands.
"Stylists can find more of what they need at great prices with convenient delivery options, freeing up their time to focus on what's important: their customers," Steve Kann, director of customer driven experience at Amazon Business, said in a statement.