Unfortunately, unauthorised online sellers have grown at an exponential rate during the covid-19 crisis and while this is not a new problem, it is really affecting our industry’s businesses on all levels.
The unauthorised sellers out there obtain products and imagery from a number of sources without the brand’s permission and prove difficult to stop. In some cases, they remove the brand from one site, only to sell on a sister site. This year at Image Skincare UK, we began a national campaign to minimise the impact of this on our partner network and business.
To discourage your customers from purchasing clinical skincare from unauthorised sellers, there are a few key points you should discuss with them. The first is expired products, as many active ingredients found in skincare products can break down over time, and authorised resellers rarely take care to follow best practices when it comes to storage. The introduction of oxygen can decrease the effectiveness of skincare formulations, but that’s the least of the dangers; bacteria, mould, yeast and dust can also cause serious allergic reactions or far worse.
It is also possible that the item your client has their eye on is discounted because it is counterfeit. Purchasing a knock-off bag or pair of shoes is one thing, but when it comes to skincare this can be very dangerous. The people who are making the products are likely taking shortcuts in how they are made; they may be adding harmful ingredients, making the products in unsanitary conditions or, even worse, there may be child labour involved in the making of some counterfeit items.
If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Encourage your clients to purchase direct or from your own official trusted site. For the entire Image Skincare UK partner network, we’ve launched an authorised retailer’s logo, which is digitally watermarked to prevent improper use. We’re also moving through a process of education and social posts to educate our network and our public audiences to only shop where they see this logo.
While we are more than aware this will not completely stop unscrupulous resellers, the hope is that via constant education we can stamp this out as much as possible and minimise the impact on our professional partner network. We know this is not unique to Image Skincare UK, and we are also seeking to form a group of industry leaders to tackle this issue together.
Graham Clarke is sales director at Image Skincare UK. Having worked with multiple international beauty brands throughout his career including Space NK, Sothys and AVED, he moved into the cosmeceutical skincare field in 2019 when he joined Image Skincare UK.