The ‘cool factor’ is crucial

Retailers in the health and beauty category looking to grow their online sales might want to look to these six merchants for some intriguing ways to sell online items most often bought offline.



Why They're Hot: sprouted from a Chicago pharmacy founded in 1875, where shoppers can still browse herbal medicines and $200 wooden-handled straight razors from Europe. Since 1998, the pharmacy, Merz Apothecary, has offered a similar shopping experience at The site lets shoppers browse by country of origin—finding, for example, Germany's Underberg "natural herb bitters," which help digestion after a heavy meal. To bring out the friendly helpfulness of the old neighborhood pharmacy, the retailer's president, Anthony Qaiyum, and his brother J.Q. appear in scores of videos, where they obviously enjoy explaining the joy of using products like Marvis Licorice Toothpaste from Italy and charcoal-based purifying facial soaps from Japan.

Key Statistics:
  • Date Launched:1998
  • Unique Visitors:41,719
  • Web-based Sales:Order the Hot 100 issue
Who They're Using: