Shopping: As you like it

We all know how annoying it is when we approach a beauty counter, hoping to get in and out with our purchases when we get cornered by an over enthusiastic sales woman trying to meet her weekly targets. Equally, it’s incredibly frustrating when you actually want some advice or are unsure of a purchase, but find it harder to get the attention of the beauty advisor than it is to find gold at the end of a rainbow. One of the biggest complaints I ever see from friends, family, followers, twitter peeps and colleagues is the ability to get the right balance at the beauty counters in department stores. Clinique have addressed this problem and are launching a new shopping experience in some of their top stores to help eliminate the problem.

It goes like this… There are three coloured wrist bands, white, pink and green, and each means a different thing. Green = I have time, let’s talk; White = time is of the essence; Pink = browsing and happy. The idea is that you pick the relevant wrist band up from the counter and adorn it so you get the level of service you’re after, not needing to fend off over enthusiastic sales assistants with a mascara wand. It takes the awkwardness away from refusing help, as well as the need to jump up and down whilst waving your arms, trying to get someone’s attention. I commend Clinique for identifying the problems associated with beauty counter shopping and addressing them head-on, letting their customers know they want to help in any way they can.

My problem with it: How many people will actually bother to grab a band and wear it? If you’re pressed for time and want to get in and out with a new lipgloss, will you really be bothered to spend extra precious moments grabbing a wristband? If you’re wanting to peruse the new collection and need some assistance, isn’t it easier to just ask for some help? You need to make sure it’s on show, so is the wrist really the best place to be wearing this… I can just imagine beauty assistance unsubtly trying to look at people’s wrists, trying to see if there’s a pink band under that batwing top! I love the idea, I think Clinique are bonza for putting it out there and taking a hot issue by the horns, but how practical is it? I’d love to know your thoughts…

Available currently at Selfridges Oxford Street, House of Fraser Meadowhall/Glasgow, Debenhams Leeds, Fenwick Newcastle.



  1. Boscy
    November 6, 2011 / 11:09 am

    I kind of love this even though it's a bit ridic! I'm constantly trying to find the balance between striding over to a counter next to the one I'm actually looking to purchase from to flag down someone to help or fending off some over-enthuasiatic newbie who wants to sell me a product I've been using for years. Kudos to Clinique for coming up with a potential solution, although I'm not entirely sure whether buyers will want to use the wristbands. Wish they just had touchscreens that you could use to let them know if you do need advice and if not could browse in peace!

  2. Sarah
    November 6, 2011 / 4:01 pm

    Seems like a great idea in theory, but could easily be taken advantage of, such as many people wearing the white band in the hope of being seen quickly. Great on Clinque for recognising the problem though!

  3. Steph says...
    November 8, 2011 / 12:01 pm

    I'm totally with you on this – good idea, but I doubt it will work. If anything, it will just be a big boost to Clinique for taking the time to think of a solution, even if it isn't fab. Saying this, I'm wracking my brain and I can't really think of an good alternative. Only thing I can think is having Yo Sushi style buzzers by every little section of the stands that works in the same way that the bands are meant to, three different lights, for different reasons. If you see a Sales Assistant approaching, you just press the buzzer appropriate. Doubt it would all that well though, would probably get on even my nerves!Steph xxx

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