The Beauty Industry Is Broken And How You Can Help To Fix It
The beauty industry is broken. Hard-selling tactics and big packages are the norms, and the focus on quality and customer satisfaction has diminished.
This is bad news for consumers, who are often left feeling scammed and unsatisfied. But it doesn't have to be this way! In this blog post, we'll discuss how you can help to fix the beauty industry and create a more positive experience for everyone involved.
Here are the 7 reasons why it's broken, with a tip at the end of each part on how you can play a part in helping to fix this.
1. SOOO many Consultants
There are places that are infamous for having 3 consultants chasing to talk to you during your trial. Before, during and after your facial, you have to say no multiple times. They just keep selling.
Here's why it happens.
The career track in the beauty industry is usually: Beautician -> Sales Consultant -> Manager
People generally want to progress in their career and make more money. This means that unless a Beautician can become good at selling (aka. maximise revenue at all costs), they don't get much more career progression.
Here's how it looks like at the different levels of the business:
- The beautician wants to get promoted to consultant so they can earn more. Despite the fact that their personality might be more suitable to be a beautician
- The consultants want to sell more so they earn more (the hard-selling starts). Other consultants compete with the main consultant (if I don't sell them, someone else will). This mindset leads to hard-selling and over-promising.
- The owners chase and reward the consultants who sell more because they need to cover their costs and make a profit.
Here's what we can do about it:
- If you're in the service business, create a career track for your skilled producers (beauticians, hair stylists, doctors, trainers, etc) to make more money doing what they're good at. Not everyone needs to be pushed to a consultant.
- If you're the "skilled producer", find a company that rewards you for doing great work. If you keep doing great work, eventually someone will recognise it and reward you for it.
- If you're a consumer of beauty services, vote with your dollars 'SAY NO' to hard-selling. By saying yes to their dirty tactics, you're enabling them to hard-sell someone's grandma. So, SAY NO.
2. The problem with packages
It sounds like a good deal on the surface where you get a discount for buying multiple treatments in advance. But, there are actually a lot of problems with it.
When they sell you a package of 10 treatments, what happens?
Well, businesses need to make money and optimise for that. So they "let you rest" for a few sessions.
But hey, you get paid monthly right? So next month, let's upsell you some treatments, products, and top-ups.
And if that wasn't enough, why not cross-sell you other packages too?
Ever heard them say: "Actually your skin is already hydrated now, so you need the lifting treatments instead. And now we have a special promo."?
When you're halfway through your first one, they start telling you to buy another. If you stop buying packages from them, they lower you on the hierarchy of priority and make it harder for you to book appointments. Or they book a new trial at your appointment time and make you wait because they want to close that sale.
So what to do about this? Saying NO to packages is a good place to start.
3. Package debt
Package debt occurs when businesses sell packages. When someone sells you 10 sessions for $2,000 but you only did one session the day you purchased, they accumulate $1,800 of package debt.
As someone who has bought and sold businesses and looked at many businesses in the beauty space, it's a fact that the majority of businesses that sell packages accumulate package debt over time.
You might feel like you're getting a good deal when you buy a package that "doesn't expire", but you should instead see it as a package that can expire anytime.
The typical thing that happens is a business sells $100,000 a month, mostly in packages. As they only fulfil $70,000 a month, they start accumulating $30,000 worth of package debt. Because businesses optimise themselves for sales, they prioritise these two groups of people:
- Someone who buys packages over and over even when their packages haven't finished
- New trials who haven't bought a package
When going to beauty salons, you will may have a positive experience at the start. But, when you stop buying more packages (and they accumulated enough package debt), it gets hard for you to book a slot.
At some point, a business with enough package debt will break. The dirtiest part is that these businesses have pushy sales consultants who will sell you a package even if they know that are going to close down.
If I had it my way, I'd make the Director of companies liable to pay for Package Debts when a business closes down. Or ban package sales in certain industries.
But we're only a tiny business (with a strong opinion) and don't have the power to fix business laws. What we can all do is say NO to packages.
4. “If we don’t hard-sell them, someone else will” mindset
An aesthetics doctor friend of mine mentioned that consultants always said: "If we don't hard-sell them, someone else will".
Which, sadly, is mostly true.
The system and the industry are that way now. This makes it hard to find a place to enjoy treatments without getting hard-sold.
Here's what we can do about it:
- I (Wayne Yap) am passionate about getting rid of hard selling - so if you have a business that has pushy sales and wants a new business strategy, let me know and I'll help you.
- Or if you struggle with competitors that hard sell while you don't, I can help you too.
- If you're a consumer, vote with your dollars and support us or one of the other friendly businesses that don't hard sell.
5. Copycat strategies, no one innovates
Coming from a marketing background and looking at the industry from a marketing lens, there are so many copycat strategies going on.
When industries stop innovating and simply just copy, not a lot of value is created.
If you're a business owner in this industry like myself, here are some useful questions I ask myself and that you can ask yourself too:
- How can I create something 500% of the value at 150% of the price?
- How can I deliver 80% of the value at 20% of the price?
- How can I deliver even more value while increasing our current profits?
Yes. You need to create value first.
6. Unsophisticated consumers chase “the cheapest deal"
The cheapest deal when it comes to package sales also means they accumulate more package debt.
The cheapest deal when it comes to trial sales also means they usually have to monetise it a lot by hard-selling.
The cheapest deal when it comes to trial package sales (unlimited SHR for $300 anyone?) also means they have more opportunity to hard-sell you other packages.
Well, I'm a Singaporean and Iike cheap deals too. But only when it's cheap because of some efficiency they created in the marketplace (eg. Economies of Scale). Not when it's cheap because it's a bait to hard-sell me later.
So say NO to cheap Fave deals and other cheapest deals.
7. People are used to this broken system and continue voting with their dollars
Ultimately, the system is still working because of the following two reasons:
- Consumers have a lack of options as there are not enough businesses which do not hard-sell.
- Consumers still need to mature up so they stop voting for hard-selling with their dollars.
If you think I can be useful, send me an email at email@example.com. If you liked this article, check out:
Read some of our previous articles
Frequently Asked Questions
We're on a mission to make hard-selling and big packages a thing of the past. We believe it's possible for an ethical aesthetics business to do well and want others to do the same.
We strongly believe in collaborating with other businesses and having "co-opetition". Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you'll like help with.
You have two choices - the first is to forfeit the last few sessions so you don't have to sit through the pain of getting pressure sold to, struggle with booking your final appointments and worrying about whether they'll screw up your facial.
If you're not willing to do that, then the second way is to keep going and coming up with reasons such as telling them firmly that you'll only decide when you're down to your final session.