Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lessons From Having Too Much Make-Up On In Daylight… or Why It’s Important to Understand Your Customers

Like many industries, the cosmetics industry holds a twice yearly products showcases where they invite consumers to take a seat and try out some make-up and skincare products. The local location of Nordstrom was hosting one over the weekend.

Our tarts are considered higher-end existing in the “gourmet” and “artisanal” food sections of stores and deli cases (and in many cases “grab & go”). How does this tie in to a few hours at the cosmetics counter you ask? I thought it would be interesting to compare how other industries market and present higher end products to the consumer (which sometimes, is me) and see if I could gain anything from the experience.

I decided my skin and my patience could handle two product samplings from two very different skin care and cosmetic companies, with two very different results.

Cosmetic company one: In the world of higher end skin care, a mid-tier line which touts their botantical ingredients and environmental stewardship.

Upon sitting down, the product associate asks me one question about my skin (oily? Normal? Dry?) then proceeds to wipe off the small amount of make-up I had applied that morning and lather my face with products, stopping only to give me the briefest overview about what she was using and why it would be good for me. I will admit, at one point my skin was silky soft, but I could not tell you how many products it took to get there, or did I have an inkling if I would be interested in any of the products she chose. After an abbreviated make-up session (most of their color pallets were a little too natural for my liking), and a product card outlining several times daily skin care products and regimes, it was time to move on.

Cosmetic company two: (after a side trip to the ladies room to wipe down a bit of the first company) A definitely high end marketed line, lots of glossy magazine advertising touting a certain lifestyle and products to match.

Upon sitting down the product associate asks me what products I currently use, what I’m concerned about and how much time would I like to spend looking at their products (it’s free and I’m sitting, what’s the rush?). She showed me a few tiers of skin care products, making recommendations but allowing me to choose if I wanted to have it applied. End result pre-make-up was also silky smooth skin and I knew how we had gotten there. I allowed her to have some fun with make-up, since I so rarely really deck myself out these days, and I thought the eye-treatment she did was fabulous. Had I had the budget to acquire some of the products, this associate would have gotten a few sales.

The experience reinforced the importance of listening to your customer, offering them solutions and while giving them options to choose from. And while your product may not be the right solution for them now, leaving them with a good taste and feeling about your products leaves the door open for possible sales in the future.

This has me wondering, what sort of situations have turned you off from purchasing a product (in any industry)? 

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to share this with my (salesman) husband and I'm pretty sure he'll share it with his colleagues. It's the perfect illustration of why good salesman(orwoman)ship is so important. Thanks for a neat little lesson.