Competing against Amazon – what you can do today

This year’s Amazon Prime Day — the day known to kick-off the holiday shopping season — was the earliest it’s ever been. With an extra-long sales season and a pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy, we know we can expect even more online deals than ever.

The good news? Consumers are more motivated than ever to buy local. This poll found that more Canadians are buying local more often or for the first time. The pandemic has inspired newfound support for businesses within our communities, with viral campaigns to “buy local” and “shop small” instead of ordering from Amazon and other consumer giants.

At the same time, with so many of us suffering financially, we know that the cheapest option can be tempting — and sometimes necessary. This article points out that there’s a disparity between those who support the idea of supporting local businesses (who wouldn’t?) and those who actually support local businesses (financially, with their purchases).

So, how can we leverage the general sentiment to support small businesses into actual action — without pressuring our cash-strapped clients? The answer is in educating them.

Here are a few talking points for (gently) nudging your clients to consider the big picture. 

  • Did you know that many professional hair and skin care brands that you find on Amazon are not authorized to be sold there?
    Inform your clients that while many professional skin and hair care brands can be found on the site, they are actually sold there by third-party sellers and not direct from the brands making the product. Therefore, the manufacturers of the products will not guarantee (or return or exchange) those found on Amazon — even if it looks, smells, feels like their product.
  • Did you know that professional products sold cheaply on Amazon are often discounted for a reason?
    If a product brand does not sell directly on Amazon, but you find them there by a third-party seller at a discount, it could mean the product is counterfeit, expired or discontinued. As mentioned, most professional companies will not guarantee a product purchased from an unauthorized seller.
  • Did you know that professional hair and skin care products are different than what you buy from the drugstore and should be recommended to you by a professional?
    Let your clients know that professional products generally contain higher-quality, more expensive, active ingredients. If you’re investing in these products, you want to make sure they are the right products for you and that you’re using them properly for your skin or hair — so they should be recommended by your professional service provider who knows your skin or hair best.
  • Did you know that purchasing from your professional service provider supports their business?
    This seems obvious, but sometimes just letting your clients know that you appreciate their business and that their purchases make a big difference in allowing you to do continue to do what you love can be all it takes. Make sure to keep in contact with clients between appointments — with follow up messages asking how they like their hair, how their skin is feeling, or reiterating a home care recommendation. By making yourself more accessible, you’ll also make it more convenient for them to buy from you outside of their appointment time.

Mara Jenkins, educator and founder of Skin Care Literature, offers some advice:

It’s often better to inspire a purchase with you, rather than to dissuade them from a purchase on Amazon. That means making every interaction a completely personalized experience — which is what inspires a client to take action (i.e. buy a product on the spot). Plus, personalizing experiences will make your clients feel valued, which is what creates long-term loyalty. 

Finally, come to terms with the fact that some clients will buy off Amazon no matter what. The best we can do is gently educate them on the dangers of using professional-grade formulas at home or the possibility of purchasing counterfeit products. Avoid coming from a place of frustration or self-pity, and instead offer genuine concern and supportive knowledge.”

Have any other tips and tricks that have worked for you? Reach out to us so we can share! Let’s all support each other during this sales and holiday season!

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