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What the Makeup Industry Can Teach You About Online Shopping in Trinidad and Tobago

I am obsessed with makeup. My justification for spending two hundred dollars on a translucent powder included online video meetings. However, the six hundred handed over at the Sephora Sale seemed excessive until the idea for this blog came along, and now it’s research! 😊

Last month I decided to make the effort to local businesses and found retail options on Social Media websites. This is after countless failed attempts on Google. I was successful with the search feature on Instagram using location and hashtags to identify local brands. ‘Cosmetics’, ‘Makeup’ and ‘Glam’ were common words included in the business' name located on the Northern side of Trinidad. There was also Pink Craze situated in South Park Mall and the local brand Sacha cosmetics, with stores across the island.

US stores had their annual 4th of July sales, and for the sake of comparison, I ordered from Sephora and Sigma. If you’re a small business owner, stick around, you’re about to be schooled from someone who wants to give you their money.

Here is a list of pros and cons from a consumer who understands Digital;

We Buy with Our Eyes

I have a friend who scoffs at my lack of effort with food presentation. She laments, “we eat with our eyes first”. This is true for everything we do, from the supermarket visit to dating online, we need visuals before investing time and effort. That’s why I’m dumbfounded by businesses in Trinidad and Tobago who refuse to share information online. A common practice is to ‘DM for price’.

PRO: Luxx Glam Cosmetics Instagram page feels like a store. With the products readily displayed, prices in the description and reference to availability.

CON: One pet peeve of mine is an absence of content beyond products. As a business owner, you want my money but do not want to make an effort to introduce yourself?

If it doesn’t work on Tinder, it will not work with my bank account.

You don’t need Ecommerce

Yes, I said what I said. Not everyone can afford the monthly fees attached to setting up a Merchant account. Facebook has democratized marketing, allowing SME companies a cost-effective reach to their potential audience.

PRO: Glam Box TT has done a great job on Facebook, showcasing available products and prices to an audience of over eleven thousand followers. They also have a delivery option via TTPost.

CON: One thing to note, if you are new to entrepreneurship, use data to determine the name of your business. Allow Google Trends to guide your decision so I can find you easily.

Take advantage of 'Now'

No one likes the Customs & Excise Division. They are synonymous to the Dentist; everyone has to go, but no one wants to. Since the lockdown, it has gotten worse, with a backlog of items. The order from Sephora took more than a week to be cleared, after taking three weeks to arrive in Trinidad via a PO Box.

Not many consumers are willing to wait a month for blush. You need to take advantage of the impulse purchase and create an online experience that encourages future sales. Explore sampling, referral rewards and lead generation.

PRO: Sephora included a sample size of a moisturizer I didn’t know I needed.

CON: I spent over eight hundred dollars with four local businesses and not one has my email address.

Community Management is not An Option

Nothing is more heartbreaking than a blue tick without a response. The lack of acknowledgement from my ‘forever busy’ brother is one thing, but it doesn’t fly with commerce.

CON: I reached out to a Tobago-made Cosmetics company, and I’m still waiting for a response, one month later. The fact that my message was seen without action says to me they don’t need my money.

PRO: Consumers are transparent. We use social media to tell you to want we want. The most successful companies are those who listen, engage and respond.


Would you like to learn more about Digital Marketing in the Caribbean? Join me every Tuesday at 6.30 pm EST for #ACMlive.

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