Hutchison Whampoa

Beauty business given a makeover

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 March, 2006, 12:00am

THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY is constantly expanding its range of cosmetic products based on the latest science and technology. Such products demand knowledgeable salespeople who can explain their benefits to customers.

Also, some cosmetics companies are specialising and others are adopting new marketing concepts.

All this means sales staff in the beauty industry must acquire knowledge and adopt new sales techniques.

Cosmetics company L'Oreal Hong Kong is fusing the idea of health and beauty by joining forces with pharmacy chain Watsons.

L'Oreal Hong Kong this month opens its first concept shop for its label Vichy in the pharmacy section of Watsons' Causeway Bay outlet. The concept shop will be equipped with diagnostic devices used by dermatologists, and a registered Watsons pharmacist will be on hand to provide professional skincare consultation services.

The derma-cosmetics global market is estimated at Euro4.1 billion ($38.7 billion), according to L'Oreal. This represents nearly 5 per cent of the global cosmetics market. Sales growth of 9 per cent was recorded in 2004.

L'Oreal corporate public relations manager Cecilia Liu said derma-cosmetics would be this year's trend. She said consumers in general were more health-conscious than before, and demanded a high level of professional service from cosmetics advisers.

'Many consumers are deeply health-conscious,' Ms Liu said.

'Shopping patterns for skin products are also changing, from department stores to drug stores. The trend is to have specialised shops.'

Sales techniques are also evolving. Being pushy with a customer is no longer seen as the best approach. Staff are encouraged to win over shoppers with information and advice on products.

Because many customers are looking for beauty products that might save them the bother and expense of corrective surgery, they expect consultants to be able to advise from a medical point of view.

SaSa Cosmetics offers a junior beautician trainee programme.

The 150-hour training course covers skincare products, perfumery, makeup and customer service skills.

The programme includes Putonghua classes in view of the growing number of mainland shoppers visiting Hong Kong. SaSa has produced an in-house CD-ROM with the Putonghua version of terms commonly used in the cosmetics business.

SaSa director of training Janet Wong said customers also appreciated follow-up services from consultants. It was standard practice for SaSa salespeople to give their business cards to customers, in case they had queries about their purchases at a later stage.