TSC’s Future of Beauty
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to send tsunami waves of change around the globe upending every aspect of our lives, groups of beauty company executives sign into Zoom conference calls almost hourly trying to navigate our new reality. Never in our modern times have we faced a health crisis of this nature that is truly worldwide. And while food, employment and healthcare remain the crucial priorities, businesses are madly trying to adapt. Beauty is no different.
Cosmetics, skincare & makeup brands and retailers employ literally tens of thousands of staff from research and development, marketing, finance and most importantly, in store beauty associates. The fragrance industry alone was set to hit $51 billion in global sales this year according to the NPD Group. Multiply that several times for makeup and skincare. Revenue will be a fraction of projections now as brands and retailers grapple to deal with new social distancing rules and ever-changing consumer mindsets. How do you sample fragrance in a store with a client or apply makeup while remaining at least six feet away? How to you make beauty relevant in an era of self isolation? It is a big puzzle.
One beauty executive may have some insights and solutions as to the future of beauty. Sylvia Vogiatzis, Director of Beauty at TSC has been quietly reinventing how beauty and skincare are communicated, consumed and sold on a myriad of platforms. TSC, Today’s Shopping Choice, (formally named ‘The Shopping Channel’) beams TV shopping into tens of thousands of Canadian households seven days a week, posts videos daily to Facebook, engages on Instagram and Twitter, and sells 24-hours a day on tsc.ca. It has made the phrases “easy pay” and “multi-pack” catch-phrases in this country.
“I landed my first job at TSC in merchandising working in both administration and process improvement,” she says. “I quickly felt that there was an opportunity to incorporate more lifestyle programming – taking the content style of say Cityline or Breakfast Television – and pairing it with on-air sales. I didn’t want any hard sell. This was about demonstrating how to use a product, answering questions, offering tips and tricks and most importantly, explaining why the products were worth the price. If I was going to invest in a premium mascara, I wanted to know how my lashes were going to look. This was my guiding vision.”
Following a maternity leave, Sylvia returned to TSC and accepted a position in production. “We have so many loyal TSC customers who keep the TV set on channel 19 all day. They buy when something catches their attention throughout the day. And that is wonderful. But I felt we needed to create “destination programming’.’ Enter “Style Matters” with former Fashion Television host Jeanne Beker. Every Thursday evening Jeanne hosts an hour of fashion launches, trends and shares stories with a rotating group of designers including Kimberly Newport Mimran, Brian Bailey, and David Dixon. Occasionally, Cityline fashion expert Lynn Spence pops by. It has the feel of a house party and that is exactly what Vogiatzis wanted.
“I remember pitching the idea to management. I spent weeks creating the decks and presentations covering all aspects the concept including costs and crew needs. They responded positively and it has been a big success.” What is fascinating is that the move from a more straight-selling format to lifestyle hasn’t affected sales. Consumers like to buy from more lifestyle programming.”
With the success of Style Matters, Sylvia turned her attention to beauty. “When it comes to beauty, we look for a point of differentiation. We look for unique ingredients and technologies. And we like to bundle complimentary products together offering great value. She cites It Cosmetics as a great example. TSC will offer three or four items that work together as a regime or a look – at a very attractive price. This concept has worked well for such brands as Benefit, philosophy, l’occitane and Lancome. “One of the most important things we do is offer full-on demo videos, step-by-step tutorials, colour swatches and tips and tricks. We don’t want our customers to be afraid of trying something new. And from the beginning, I insisted that we produce the same content for digital platforms as you see on tv.”
So just who is the online beauty customer at TSC? “She’s a city girl. Our key customer base revolves around big metropolitan centres such as Vancouver and Toronto. These consumers lead busy lives and they appreciate the ease of buying.” To capture and engage this consumers, Sylvia launched “Hello, Gorgeous”, hosted by former Weather Network news anchor, Cary Olver. Every Tuesday night at 7 pm EST, she presents the latest and greatest cosmetic launches at the channel. It gives beauty enthusiasts a weekly program that allows them to see what is new and exciting.
“The buying pattern has definitely changed,” she explains. “We’re now in an era of ‘me care’ where consumers are pausing and taking the time to care for themselves. Devices, masks and even home fitness are particularly popular now. I see this continuing for at least the next six months.”
So what is the future of beauty? Vogiatzis has proven that consumers want a mix of lifestyle programming with their online shopping. Destination programming is key to getting consumers to tune in each week at a specific time and day. Insider tips and tricks help create excitement and help reassure consumers they are making a wise choice. It’s a winning formula that you will likely see other retailers mimic in the coming year.
So how does Vogiatzis play to stay one step ahead of the competition? Listening intently to her customers. “The last thing I do before I go to bed is I check our Facebook page to read the comments. Our customers tell us what they want and we listen to every comment. I ask myself ‘Are we missing something?’ Our customer today is so savvy that you really have to pay attention to her.”
View TSC’s extensive beauty collection at tsc.ca