It's an interesting topic that comes up often with clients and with salons i mentor. In perspective, it makes up a very small portion of the retail market and is usually aimed at bargain hunters. However, lately i'm hearing from some of the business owners i mentor are very concerned with their salon only brands now being available online without any consultation, analysis or aftercare. Some have gone to the extent of refusing to stock brands that are not salon exclusive because everything they recommend clients, the client goes and buys it online cheaper than in store. But why is everyone so unhappy? Why are clients buying online? Are these products real and legitimate? This is such a huge topic so ill try to keep it sweet...Said no trainer ever!
1. Are they real? I would say some are fake, some are clearance old stock or parallel imports. In the past, big cosmetic brands sued unauthorised retailers, with testing of the products revealing them to be fake from China that contained dangerous levels of heavy metals. Plenty of fake cosmetics floating around that are very easy to make, usually with questionable practices, ingredients and sometimes even dangerous stuff like lead and arsenic. Same goes for any skincare especially big brands. How easy is it to make a cheap sodium dioecyl sulfate cheap cleanser, add some perfume a whole bunch of emulsifiers so it can look and smell similar to an expensive premium brand for next to no cost and sell it. Parallel imports mean the stock can sometimes be YEARS past the expiry date, manufactured in a country with lower safety standards etc All those parallel imported things I put into the "not sure maybe yes maybe no maybe dangerous and ripping you off" basket. 2. Whats the harm? At the end of the day are you willing to risk your health and being conned just to save a few dollars? There are better ways to save a few dollars.As many online companies are based overseas,(typically in countries with questionable standards and typically tax dodging havens to protect their profits, or in third world countries where worker protections are non existant) they do not have to abide by Australian consumer law or the import or manufacturing standards enforced by the TGA. Ours are one of the stringest. If something happened for eg a cream caused burns, you have a way of getting recourse, recalled, investigated, tested etc. For those overseas based ones you are completely out on your own. Also, many dont contribute to your local economy, pay tax or employ local workers(some do but you need to do your homework). Also, buying a highly active face cream that expired 5 years ago and is now discontinued would very likely cause reactions, sensitivity, burns, allergies, aggravating your skin and leaving you unhappy. 3. So whats a consumer to do? Shop around. There are many locally available, in salon, authorised sellers of skincare and cosmetic brands that are affordable and can give you the results you need. You may not find them in big chains, but small businesses that are out to impress you. They are employing locals, paying tax, contributing to your economy and the good of the community so supporting them is vital. Also, talk to your therapist, often they can recommend an alternative within the range that is cheaper and will still do what you want. Some are even more cost effective than supermarket terrible products (that's for another blog!) 4. But what about me! (the business owner) You don't need to worry. Honestly. Promise. Bargain hunters are just that, bargain hunters. They have no loyalty and move from one bargain to the next without a thought. They will come to you if something seriously screws up and they need a professional. Be that professional that will give real solutions to fix real world problems and don't hold it against the client, some people don't know any difference. It is our job as professionals to educate and impart some of our knowledge to empower consumes to think and question before handing over their hard earned cash and to understand to differentiate what is good and what is a gimmick. Be the salon owner that provides amazing customer service. There are a million hair and beauty ppl within an area, what makes people come to you is YOU. Women are emotional beings that require a meaningful relationship and trust in order to be loyal clients. Earn their trust, be more than your skill or technique. Have a niche a point of difference and people will come to you, buy products you recommend from you. And reward them for their loyalty. Also, shop around, many salon only brands want your business, make them work hard for it, demand a good deal even for a small business that makes small infrequent orders, make sure your products provide clients with results and value for money. Make those sales reps work for their commission, after all its their job to keep you onboard. Well, theres another time i didnt keep it short and sweet. Oh well, let us know your thoughts!