Online beauty is losing a player: Zappos is exiting the beauty category beginning January 2015.

In an email to manufacturers sent Sept. 12, Zappos alerted vendors that they would not be pursuing beauty any longer but, on the bright side to beauty companies, would not be returning any unsold product.

“At least they did it in a classy way,” said one vendor who sold several brands on the site, in reference to Zappos absorbing the cost of unsold items.

Zappos, which entered the beauty realm in 2010, had aggressive plans for the category and at the time had estimated $75 million in beauty sales by 2015. The company confirmed its plans to exit beauty to CEW Beauty Insider but did not return calls seeking further comment.

Industry experts who have watched Zappos and its beauty business over the years speculated that Zappos was never able to pull in the heavy hitting brands that were key to its business model.

“Maybe they should have cultivated more of the Indie brands and then they could have been an incubator, like they did for shoes. But they went in with the mentality of having to get established players,” said one industry watcher.

Another brand sold on the site said that while customer service was their calling card in shoes and apparel, especially in accepting returns and 24-hour delivery, offering value in the beauty space was tough.

“There are a lot more sites doing direct business with beauty consumers so maybe they were scratching their heads wondering how they could offer value. Their specialty was shoes, they kind of looked at beauty like it was a commodity,” added the vendor. “They are well financed so I can’t imagine it was a money issue, but these kinds of places are used to being profitable so maybe it was a margin issue.”

Brands including Tweezerman, The Balm, Oscar Blandi, Cargo, Butter London, Vichy and Stila are sold on the site.

“It’s not the end of the world, they were never really a big customer,” said another vendor. “Everybody was excited to have a credible entrant in the beauty space but they didn’t have the customer base. Many thought they could cross-fertilize the email list but I guess they couldn’t.”