The Future Of Beauty Shopping In The New World
Miss your regular beauty boutique haul? Get informed about how some of your favorite brands are ushering you into a brand new norm of lipstick, sheet mask, and foundation shopping!
We beauty girls love a good haul. There's something adrenaline-inducing about stepping inside a beauty store, where aisles upon aisles of cosmetics, tools, and what-have-yous are for the taking! Already got enough lipstick? There's no such thing. The newest sheet mask? Gotta have it. That cute eye pencil sharpener? Yes please! And don't get us started about swatching in-store, and finally opening them up when we get home—ah, the joy!
These days though, as uncertainty continues to loom above our heads during this on-going global pandemic, physical beauty shopping has been put to a halt, at least for the past three months, to ensure that the safety of customers and staff alike take first priority.
Abroad, countries have started to re-open borders, establishments, and businesses, and according to beauty retail giant Sephora, on their website they state, "As we start to reopen some stores, we want to share what we’re doing to keep you, our employees, and others safe." Check out their video below:
Locally, as our government eases restrictions on businesses, a lot of new stores including beauty stores have once again re-opened their doors to welcome their loyal clients back into their physical shopping spaces. To shed some light on this topic, we talked to homegrown brand and one of our favorites Happy Skin, co-founded by Rissa Trillo, and Kiehl's, whose Business Unit Director Kaila Nicdao shared their insights in this new world of beauty. Joining the panel of experts is Liz Lanuzo, founder of Project Vanity and entrepreneur/founder of In Her Element, a local cosmetics and skincare brand made for today's Filipina.
Rissa is proud to share that even before the pandemic happened, Happy Skin prides itself in regular disinfection of their stores and products, including testers. "We already practiced hygiene protocols. It was part of our beauty advisers’ routine to sanitize all makeup testers regularly. I know there was a photo of moldy leather bags left in the mall during lockdown that went viral and if you’re wondering if any makeup during the lockdown also got moldy, none of our makeup testers did and this is a testament to the diligent sanitizing of our beauty advisers, which is so important especially for cosmetics", she shares.
As for Kiehl's, it goes without saying that safety is also on top of their list of priorities these days. Kaila shares that "In order to maintain operations safely, preventative measures that have been carefully considered were put in place to protect the health and well-being of our staff and customers. Prior to store opening, we installed safety signages with our store guidelines for consultation, how often we sanitize the store, contactless transaction options and even limiting the number of people that can enter to ensure social distancing. This way, our customers see that we take their health and safety seriously."
To take safety matters to the next level, Happy Skin has then implemented new regulations for making sure their boutiques and counters are of the safest state once customers start pouring back in: Beauty advisers are equipped with masks, face shields, sanitizers, and stores will go through intensive cleaning at the start and end of each day. The number of customers allowed to enter in will be limited, to make sure social distancing is practiced. Additional measures also include visual swatches and proper explanation per product, to service clients' needs better. Cashless payment is encouraged, including credit, debit, PayMaya, and GCash options!
The Kiehl's group has also always given priority to their stores' hygiene and sanitation practices, only now, they've taken things up a notch with de-confinement trainings, equipping their staff with the necessary tools and hygiene kits to ensure they are protected as they welcome back customers into the stores. While their testers have always been regularly sanitized pre-lockdown, this time around, they are pausing on having these out, but will provide individually-packed testers for clients who really need them.
Beauty writer and entrepreneur Liz shared that while her physical in-store shopping will take a pause for now, as a customer herself, she wants to see the staff in stores sanitize in front of her, as she does the same. She also feels like a bleach mat at the entrance of stores a great way to up the sanitation efforts.
What safety measures will make YOU feel safe?
It can't be denied that these days, online shopping has become both a necessity and an outlet for a lot of people all over the world. While the unprecedented effects of this pandemic are gradually being felt on all levels of the economy, shifting to e-commerce sure paved the way for businesses to still thrive, and even grow despite the absence of physical shopping.
Liz goes on to tell us, "Now that most people have paused on spending for travels abroad or big-ticket purchases, there's a lot more interest in beauty products that they can enjoy at home. I've witnessed this with my own brand, In Her Element Skincare. When we re-opened our website for purchases in April, we were really surprised by the response! So I'm grateful for that—Filipino brands need all the help they can get during this time."
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On the other hand, Kiehl's promises to take their already amazing e-commerce site to bigger, new levels of online shopping. "To spruce things up, we are making it easier for customers to automatically replenish their skincare products without having to add to cart every time—delivered straight to their doorstep, and as a bonus, they get more premium (more complimentary gifts!), so stay tuned", Kaila shares. E-Kiehl's Customer Representatives are still present via Facebook Messenger, should you need a skin consult at home!
Happy Skin has always had a presence online in their official website as well as in favorite shopping e-hubs like Lazada, Zalora, Shopee, and BeautyMNL, and Rissa shares that "Even before the pandemic, we have always been very visual on our social media platforms and e-commerce sites by providing product photos, swatches, and videos on how to use the product. The Happy Skin community is also very engaged and generous—you’ll always see YouTube reviews, swatches, and selfies sharing their experiences with our products. And during a time like this, swatches and reviews by peers are so valuable."
In addition to this existing virtual beauty content, Happy Skin just launched its Happy Skin Personal Shopper service, an online tool that allows you to have your products prepared by beauty advisors so that you can pick your purchases up curbside at select malls. To see which malls are currently offering this service, stay updated by following their Instagram account!
While we all enter into a new world, things will surely not go back to how they were, and shopping in malls or boutiques may never feel the same way it did pre-pandemic, but one thing stays true: beauty is a force for good, and can be used for good, especially during these trying times. Self-care and self-confidence are just some of the ingredients people need to maintain a happy outlook these days, and beauty, which includes cosmetics and skincare products, play a big role.
As Kaila shares, "Beauty is and will always be a way to feel good, to regain morale, and to see the good in things. More than ever, people are advocating self-care during these times and use this as a way to cope up and feel good despite the current unfortunate situation we are in. In fact, beauty specifically skincare and fragrances are least hit since people still tend to use these despite being at home."
Liz admits that it will take some time before she goes back to shopping outside, and believes in the power of online shopping today, sharing that "There's definitely a lot more comfort in buying online, more than ever. There will be a lot of reliance on online consultations and researching reviews before purchasing, since most of us may not be able to see the product in person."
And as for Rissa? She shares in the sentiment that "The desire to feel better through small, affordable indulgences is more than ever amplified during this unprecedented pandemic. Self-care products are so important now and beauty shopping will remain relevant because it empowers us to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Beauty will still prevail. Being able to get back that little bit of control a lot of us feel we’ve lost in our lives is vital to self-expression and comfort. Prioritizing wellness will become a non-negotiable."
So whether you choose to stay at home and virtually add to cart or brave the outdoors to get your beauty fix, keep in mind your favorite brands' need for support, while you keep in mind the importance of purchasing wisely these days. Will a product just add to the clutter in your kit? Is it able to serve more than one purpose? Is it good for your body? Keeping in mind these thoughts can help push your purchasing power towards the right direction, and for the beauty industry's collective good.
We join them in entering a new world, no matter how unfamiliar, where beauty takes an important space, where change is welcome, and where innovation is allowed. Rissa says it best as she leaves us with these wise words—"Keep your perseverance alive and don’t be discouraged. In times of significant crises, reinvention can also take place not just in business but in yourself. A crisis like this is a catalyst. We should come out of this better—THAT should be the new normal."
On to the next chapter, beauty lovers!
Lead photo by Deva Darshan on Unsplash