Dealing with consumer demand for personalisation



Consumer demand for more tailored and personalised beauty products is impacting every aspect of product development from packaging through to formulation and beyond.

Suppliers and salons need to embrace and provide personalisation to a client, rather than a ‘one size fits all approach’, is what our thought leaders at Professional Beauty’s latest industry round table wholeheartedly agreed on.

Our nine industry supplier and salon owner experts – including Ultraceuticals’ Karen Wilkin-Donachie, OmniDerm’s Sue Dann, Ultraderm’s Pauline Valle, International Beauty Supplies’ James Carroll, Zing Business Coaching’s Jay Chapman, Beauty On Latrobe’s Clare Lamberth, Sharkra Medi Spa’s Tanya Ahmed, Focus On Skin’s Kellie Cohen and Skinsational’s Sarah Austin – agreed personalisation had always been fundamental to the very origins of the beauty industry.

James said consumers were far more aware of the ingredients that were in their products, while Kellie said you had to get to know your clients when they came in.

Clare said you needed to be flexible with the brands you stocked while Sue said you had to adapt to treat each and every client as an individual.

Tanya warned clients will leave your salon through boredom or not getting the results that they wanted, while Jay said social media was important to keep clients up-to-date.

Karen said if you treated every client as an individual, which you’re intent to help deeply with having the best skin they can, clients would come back over and over again.

Read their edited responses below or watch the video for the full discussion.

“One of the things we’ve seen over the last four or five years is a real push towards consumers being far more aware of the ingredients that are in their products. All the modern forms of communication enable consumers to tell brands very quickly whether or not the ingredients that are in the products are formulated correctly and whether they’re PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) friendly. Brands have to look at the way that trends are developing and it’s important with retailing to be aware of those trends. From a supplier point of view, they have to be innovative and develop products to fit into that area. What we’ve seen in nails, for instance, is gels used to always be put under a light. Everybody loved the longevity of them, but the evolution of the product, like with OPI Infinite Shine for example, is that there are now gel hybrids where you can almost get the same length of time out of a non-light cured product. Where will the industry be in three or four years’ time? As salon owners and as suppliers we have to keep looking forward to what is that innovation and how we do change the services that we provide.”

“You have to get savvier with the products that you’ve got, as well and be able to put products together to be able to deliver a service. You may not always have exactly what you need, but as long as you know what you’re using, then you’ll be able to give your client what they need. Get creative. Use your product properly. Don’t just go, ‘All right, well that’s for that. And that’s for that.’ Know what they do, put them together, and make it work for the client. You’ve got to get to know your clients when they come in. Get to have a relationship with them. Know what they like, what they don’t like, and keep notes. It might be a month, two months before you seen them again, and if you haven’t made some notes and are really focused on what they want, then you’ve almost lost them.”

“You have to be able to offer bespoke services to your customers and your clients. When you’re doing a facial, you need to be to customise it to suit the client’s needs and their skin type. Just because they’ve looked for a particular service doesn’t mean that’s going to suit them on that day. As a business owner, and as a therapist, you need to be flexible enough with the brands you stock, and be able to change it up. Offering something that’s really unique and special, tailored specifically to your customer, is really important. The customer really appreciates that you’ve taken them as a person and their skin into consideration and delivered them the best result.”

“Education is very important when it comes to treatments. The worst thing any therapist can do is have all the products already lined up when the client walks into the room. A client may booked in for particular facial, but you should be able to assess your client on an individual basis. You’ve got to adapt to treat the person that you’re dealing with. There cannot be one standard training anymore. You’ve got to reassess what type of therapists you’ve got, and what the demographics of the clientele are, so that you can adapt. Everybody learns in a different way, too. Some people are very visual. Some people are more sort of touchy-feely. That’s the benefit of proper training.”

“If you don’t see your supplier being innovative, moving forward, and really taking on board global trends, then you’re kind of thinking, ‘Well, you’re a bit boring. I’m done with you.’ Rebranding and repackaging is great and something that salon owners do in our mini spas and in our salons. We renovate and we re-invest. Clients love seeing that although they’re spending their money with us, we’re updating and improving our salon accordingly. One thing that my clients always say to me is: ‘Tanya, you love your toys,’ and I do. Beauty toys are my favourite. Whether it’s a laser or light therapy or a new serum, there are just all these toys everywhere. You’ve got to be that person of innovation. I don’t know percentages, but I would imagine one of the most common reasons that clients will leave your salon is through boredom and not getting the results that they want. If you’re not innovative, if you’re not exciting, and if you’re not delivering the results, see you later.”

“The client shouldn’t have to wait to come into the clinic or spa to be able to be kept up-to-date with what’s new, what’s changed, what’s different. That’s where social media comes into play. I’ve always said there are two types of people. There are those who embrace social media and having that touch with the client and there are those who don’t and they get left behind, unfortunately. It’s not a choice anymore. You can either go with the trends and get on social media, because it’s so important to keep your client up-to-date with what’s happening in the spa or clinic, so that you don’t have to fill them in all in that short space that you’ve got to spend with them. We need to be touching clients in between, feeding them bite-sized pieces of information of what’s happening in the spa or clinic between treatments.”

“One area technology could come into play would be in consultation. One of the things we’re exploring is bringing our consultation onto a mobile device so that the guests could then receive a copy of the prescription. That would be the service as well as the product recommendations. That is where you need to really customise, because too often clinics and salons can be led by very menu driven choices for guests, whereas most of the time they really just need to be sat down and consulted. They almost don’t need to see the menu, frankly. It’s more about ‘What do I need to make my skin the optimal it can be, and what does that look like as far as a home care plan, as far as a treatment plan, and what do I do when?’ Clients want to be guided, so if we can hone in on that, we’d have very happy guests who have direction and who would be returning. The other really important point on home care is the correlation between people who purchase home care and their tendency to return. If a client takes home one product or two products, their retention rate is usually around 80 percent. If they don’t take any products whatsoever, it’s about 50 percent or less. If we’re going to drill into the customisation and the personalisation, it comes down to really treating that person as an individual, which you’re intent to help deeply with having the best skin they can have. When people feel that, they come back over and over again.”

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