Monday, July 9, 2012

Makeup Tip #14 - Buyer Beware

For one of my recent photo shoots I needed green concealer.  I was in a bit of a hurry, so I stopped by the makeup counter in a department store at my neighborhood mall.  As I was selecting and purchasing my products, I engaged the sales consultant in conversation.

I thought I would share with you her candid conversation with me.  Granted, I can't say this is the way every department store makeup counter operates, but it was very interesting information and answered some questions I had always wondered about!

Q:  How long have you worked here?

A:  14 years.

Q:  Do you work full time or part time? 

A:  Full time.  I am a single mom and it pays the bills.

Q:  I've always wondered what it would be like to work at the makeup counter.  Do you like it?

A: There is a lot of stress.  We each have to sell $700 a day to make our quota.  If I only sell $500 today, I have to sell $900 tomorrow.  And we (she pointed to other sales consultants around the cosmetic floor) all compete against each other.  Have you ever seen a cat fight? 

Q:  Do you get any training?

A:  "They" say "they" train us, but there is no training.

I had other questions I wanted to ask, but she had to help another customer and I had to move on and discontinue the conversation.

I have met so many women who are wearing the wrong products or got talked into purchasing things they didn't need and I always wondered how it could happen.  After my brief exchange with the consultant at the cosmetic counter, I now understand how it happens.

I did know that the managers of retail stores had retail quotas for their shifts, but I never knew that the individual consultants at the cosmetic counters had retail quotas.  $700 is a lot of product, but with retail prices at the mall what they are, that number is easily attainable - especially if you are a master at "up-selling".

It also explains why the salespeople at the department store counters are so eager to help you with your purchase and why you can't really "browse" their merchandise without being followed closely.  (I've never felt comfortable shopping with someone else looking over my shoulder...)

So many people I talk to believe their mall department store cosmetic brand is superior.  After my brief conversation, I've learned that a majority of department store customers are purchasing products from individuals who:

  • probably have very little knowledge about the product they sell 
  • focus on meeting their daily quota with your next purchase 
  • may be in a grudge match with a fellow sales consultant over lost sales
Before you visit a mall department store counter, be prepared:

  • ALWAYS ask for a product demonstration AND samples you can try at home
  • ALWAYS know what you need to purchase BEFORE going to the cosmetic counter
  • ALWAYS know what your budget allows you to spend
  • ALWAYS educate yourself about the different products available and the results you need to obtain 
  • NEVER leave without getting detailed application instructions

I would love to hear about your department store experiences!  Please contact me at!

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