Buying Beauty: Department Stores vs Online
Wed, 12 December 2012 3:58PM
‘Tis the season to be shopping, apparently.
But when you buy beauty for others, or yourself, do you let your fingers do the finding within the confines of your couch? Or do you prefer to go with your senses, and head into the department store beauty counter where you can touch, feel, smell and try before you buy, like Jessica Alba here?
There are pros and cons for both online and department store shopping. If you’re undecided on how to tackle your Christmas list, here are some tips from both sides:
Touch and Go:
- At the department store cosmetic counter, you have the advantage of experiencing the product prior to the purchase. This makes it a more personal experience whereby experts are on hand to guide you through trends, colours and textures.
- There is a sense of excitement and intrigue related to the department store cosmetic experience, explains David Jones General Manager of Beauty, Stephen McDonald. “Many of our beauty counters offer unique and personalised demonstrations which add to a sense of theatre in store,” he says, noting that brands such as Napoleon Perdis offer workshops in store with make up artists. “These are terrific in improving customer knowledge of makeup and how to apply it.”
A Name, not Just a Number:
- If you’re loyal to a brand, you can speed up the transaction time at counter by taking down the name on your first purchase, so the staff knows what you’re after next time you visit. Most beauty brands also offer to keep a record of your favourite shades and products on a file-card so you can always refer back to what you wore last summer or which lip shade worked back with your lighter eye colour.
Super Staff and Sensational Samples:
- Beauty companies are constantly training staff in new cosmetic and fragrance services and many cosmetic counters boast professional makeup artists and beauty therapists on hand to offer full makeup and skincare trials. Samples are also a big plus as they allow you to take home what you’ve tried and think about it for the 14th time before shelling out a cent.
Convenience and comparisons, without the crowds
- Kate Morris, founder of adorebeauty.com.au lists the fact that you can shop in your pajamas as a major ‘pro’ of online shopping. “Obviously it’s much more convenient, as you can shop whenever it suits you and not have to deal with parking or crowds. It’s also much easier to research the different products,” she says. “At Adore Beauty, you can compare and read reviews for over 400 different moisturisers,” she says.
Live Chats & Forums
- If you’re unsure of a purchase – and dubious that staff is telling you what you want to hear – online shopping offers a brutally honest alternative. Live chats allow you to talk to others while you shop and forums give you the power to throw any questions about products out there, and have them answered by other consumers who may love, or loath them.
- Online shopping brings global brands, local, so you have more choice at your fingertips. This gives you power to choose a brand or product that is tailor made for you, rather than settling for what is available.
Be Careful of Hidden Costs
- Kate says that most online stores are pretty transparent when it comes to divulging shipping costs and other fees, but she notes that you may pay in more than dollars if you shop on a site that is not reputable. “The only potential ‘cost’ is if you purchase products from an unauthorized or grey market seller – the product you receive might not be authentic or fresh,” she says.
Wrapped and Ready
- Online shopping doesn’t end at the checkout. More often than not, you can have your purchase gift-wrapped and gorgeously presented for no extra cost.
What do you think Primpers?
In the end, if you’re happy with your purchase, do you care if the Postie delivered it or you mulled over if for hours in the mall?
Posted by: ecb
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