I’ve written before about the new style of service from Clinique (cleverly entitled ‘service as you like it’) but I managed to pop down to Selfridges this week and try it out for myself. Clinique are aiming to address the needs of their customers whilst being aware of the fact that a lot of shoppers feel intimidated by over enthusiastic sales assistants. Shopping for skincare and makeup can be hard work, scary and time consuming, but on the other hand a very valuable and rewarding experience if it’s done right. Clinique have made a few very crucial steps towards making the service you receive at their counters personalised, and more importantly, exactly what you need.
The first thing they’ve introduced are the coloured bracelets. These three colours indicate a different way you want to be served on the counter, from peaceful browsing to a full on consultation. Easily accessible, these bands are one of the first things you see when you walk onto the Clinique space and something the consultants carry around with them too. I noticed that the Clinique ladies do approach every person that comes onto the counter, but they all took the time to ask them what brought them to Clinique, giving them a band to indicate the level of service they were after. I was a bit skeptical about this whole scheme, but I believe the issue here is that service is being addressed; Clinique understand the issues that exist and are trying to tackle them head on. So far people seem to be picking up the bands and thinking they’re a free gift, so there’s some way to go, but hopefully this is a first step towards changing the way we interact with beauty counters.
The other big change at the Clinique counter is the ability to get ‘great skin in 90 seconds’. A huge claim right? They’ve installed ipads in some of their top stores across the UK that allow you to create your own personalised skincare prescription after answering a few key questions. As you flick through, telling the virtual consultant what your skincare priorities are, what areas of concern you have and what they condition of your skin is, you have to really think about your routine and what you like/dislike about your skin. In as little as 90 seconds you’re given a prescription detailing your recommended products, which can also be printed out or even emailed. This not only gives you the freedom to play around yourself, but also to give your prescription to a loved one and hint at a Clinique Christmas gift! The consultants would always aim to talk to you after you’ve done this to ensure that you have the right products, but it makes the shopping experience simple, fun and practical.
While I was at the counter I also had a skincare consultation to find out what products I should be using and how I should be using them. This for me was the highlight – getting down and dirty with a Clinique consultant to really think about my skin, how it behaves, what I use, how I use it… It’s amazing how much you don’t really think of until someone asks. The general idea of these consultations is to ask questions and get you as the customer to play with products to get the most out of your time. They have a diagnostic tool which they use to record your answers, a magic zoom mirror to take a closer look at your skin and lots of ways of getting under your makeup to the route of your problem. I was really impressed with the advice I was given and the reasons behind my current skin condition… Especially as I’ve always classified myself as a bit of a skin expert!
This is the first time in ages that I’ve visited a Clinique counter and I have to admit I was impressed on every level. I felt at ease, comfortable and confident in the advice I was being given. I very much felt it was all about me, not what the consultant wanted to tell me or sell – a massive step away from the majority of experiences I’ve had in department stores. I literally would’ve bought everything I was recommended because I knew how to use it and could see the results for myself. It’s great to see a brand like this really embracing change and being at the forefront of customer-led experiences in store.
What’s your experience of visiting beauty counters? Would you give these innovative experiences at Clinique a whirl?