Department stores are designed to make us part with as much cash as possible; their beautifully bright halls can make us feel weak at the knees, the temptation to spend feeling somewhat overwhelming – and it’s no surprise. Floor plans, salesperson strategies and clever up-selling tactics may feel like an extension of the whole experience at the time, but upon retrospect it’s easy to see where we may have been coerced into opening our purses more times than we initially anticipated. So how can we step into a department store and enjoy the experience, without handing over bundles of cash and coming away with bags full of things we don’t really need? How can we ensure we spend wisely, take advantage of promotions and leave the store with items we truly will cherish? Here’s how you can boss shopping for beauty and avoid the tactics salespeople use to make you spend…
SHOP FOR WHAT YOU NEED
If you’re stepping onto counter, be mentally prepared with a list of items you need (and those that you don’t.) Try not to be persuaded into buying something because it’s on offer, new or a ‘best seller’ – unless you would buy it after shopping alone in your local Boots. The salespeople are there to help you make good decisions and ensure you pick the products that work for you, but they’re also there to make sales and commission; like with any industry there are great and not-so-great examples, but it’s worth taking what they say with a pinch of salt and using your common sense.
TAKE 48HRS TO THINK IT OVER
Really tempted by that bright blue eyeliner or bold berry lipstick you wouldn’t normally have looked twice at? Feel like you need that super rich floral scent just because the bottle is to die for? Take a couple of days to mull it over and think about whether you actually need it; if you’ve just been swept away in the excitement of the moment and realistically would never use it once you got it home, leave it on the shelf. What may seem like a great idea when surrounded by people that live and breathe beauty, when you get home and show your mates it may seem like a waste of money.
ASK FOR ANY CURRENT PROMOTIONS
All of the offers and deals aren’t always displayed on counter, as many of them disrupt the premium look and feel of the display. Ask the sales assistant if there are any current promotions, offers or discounts available and how you can qualify – because there could be a stonking offer you’d never know about unless you ask. Sneaky.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE COUNTER STAFF
They can be your best friend or your worst enemy – it’s how you work with them that’s important. If you visit a particular store or counter regularly, take it as an opportunity to forge a relationship and ensure they remember you. Introduce yourself and ask questions, making sure they know you’re there to learn and make serious purchases; the next time you’re in store they may let you know when a great new product is hitting stores before anyone else, when the next fab offer or free gift is available, or the best way to save money and still look fabulous.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MAKEOVERS
If you need to re-jig your look or don’t know the best way to create a smokey eye, book in for an appointment and take advantage of the lessons and makeovers that are usually free of charge. This is an opportunity to really learn how to use the tools they’re offering, as well as identifying the steps that will just add faff in the morning (therefore saving you some money.) Many makeovers or appointments also offer mini products included for a small fee (that’s often redeemable against a purchase,) so do your research and see how you can take advantage of a brand’s need to turn you into a loyal customer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to be shown a certain technique either.
REQUEST A SAMPLE TO TAKE HOME
many times have you been colour matched in store and realised that in
natural light that foundation is actually a horrific shade on you?
Rather than agreeing to a sale there and then, ask for a sample to take
home and use in your own time to ensure it meets your expectations (and
more importantly, your skin tone!) Most counters will happily decant
product into a little pot for you to take away, or offer sachets or mini
sizes so you can really become a convert; if they’ve done their job
properly, you’ll fall in love with it regardless and return to purchase
the full size at a later date. The same applies for fragrance and skincare too – so always ask for something to take away with you.
USE YOUR IN-STORE POINTS CARD
It’s not only Boots that offers up loyalty points for purchases in store. Everyone from House of Fraser to Liberty and Harrods incentivise customers to sign up to their database and start collecting points; not only does this usually provide a kick-back or credit to spend in store further down the line, but often means money-off vouchers and unique discounts that will help save you money too. Ask in store or sign up online before you visit to reap the benefits.
You’re not alone in feeling intimidated or unsure about in-store beauty counters; it’s one of the most common beauty frustrations out there. Just be prepared, don’t be coerced into buying something there and then, and take advantage of the expertise on offer.
Do you have any other top tips on how to shop like a boss?
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