Online Crux: Singaporean brand mySKINBAR looks to web consultations amid COVID-19 restrictions
The brand was founded in 2011 by director Eva Soh after a decades-long career in corporate finance.
The brand is most well-known for its pimple treatment, The Crux, which still remains one of its bestsellers.
In its formative years, the brand existed in a skin care market dominated by brick-and-mortar retail.
“Back then, skin care was pretty much a brick-and-mortar dominated business. People were preconditioned with the idea that it was better to shop in real life,” recollected Soh.
The reality pushed the company to open a flagship store in 2013 at the now-defunct Park Mall, which was located on the fringes of Singapore’s shopping district.
The firm has since shut down that store and has been fully online operated business since 2016.
According to Soh, one of the biggest obstacles most consumers encounter when buying skin care online is the inability to try the product out physically.
“Even if they like the sound of what they see online, they may not necessarily buy because they want to feel the exact effects of the product. Somehow, people are still locked onto the idea that buying skin care or getting skin care consultations are more effective in real life.”
Today, Soh told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that she feels privileged to have a digital business especially in the wake of COVID-19.
“Fortunately for us, we have been operating online and COVID-19, instead of stopping us has actually been in favour of our plans this year for growth. I think we are well-positioned despite the outbreak.”
Since the city-state enforced movement restrictions in early April, the brand has seen more consumers shifting online to find their skin care solutions.
“COVID-19 has definitely caused certain behaviours to change on a whole. Under these new circumstances where human contact has to be minimised, people are becoming more open to buying skin care online,” said Soh.
In light of the circumstances, the brand has been receiving more requests for online skin consultations.
The firm has been offering these online consultations on a small scale since 2015.
With this service, customers could reach out to the brand via email or social media to arrange for a consultation either through video conferencing or email, depending on their level of comfort.
These online consultations have proven very effective for the company.
“When people call in an enquire about the product, I would say they are 50% on the way to making a purchase.”
Currently, only Soh and one other staff are handling these online consultation requests, but Soh intends to expand and develop the process even more.
“Actually, this plan was already in the pipeline before COVID-19, the lockdown just accelerated our plans,” said Soh.
Bridging online and offline
Soh clarifies that even though the company has been investing in its digital platforms, she still sees a future in the physical retail space.
“I don’t think we can ever decouple ourselves from the brick-and-mortar space. We are human beings and we need social interaction. Even after COVID-19, I still see a place for brick-and-mortar.”
Since the brand moved online, Soh has received a lot of enquires from retailers interested in carrying the brand in their physical stores.
“We delayed those plans because we are waiting for the right time. In the meantime, over the last 10 years, we’ve been keeping ourselves abreast with the trends in the market.”
Soh said the firm will eventually open a standalone retail outlet to help bridge the gap between the online and offline channels.
“It will be very different from what you see in the current market. It will be more of an experiential concept to value add to the brand. The idea is to build an ecosystem to bring together online and offline.”