Lee Cottrill, Business Development Director at SkinViva and SkinViva Training in Manchester, talks about Superdrug administering injectable aesthetic treatments on the high street and the impact this will have on the rest of us.
Tim and I over the years working on SkinViva and SkinViva Training have often had the debate about “the competition”. Competition helps feed innovation and making for a better market for the customer, but it can also feel threatening as well, so I can understand your fears.
Where is the injectable market going?
I’m sure you’ll agree that aesthetic treatments have been on quite a journey for the past 20 years. From social stigma to, today, what is much closer to social acceptance (similar to the journey that hair dye went through in the 1950s and 60s). We’ve all been competing against big chains for years, but this might be the first major high street chain we come up against. To me, I’m excited by what it can do for patient perceptions and growing the patient population.
I recognise there’s a risk about trivialising proper consultations which must be carefully handled but making aesthetic treatments a socially acceptable part of our maintenance/beauty regimes I believe is a good thing. I would hope that Superdrug as such a prominent brand will take standards extremely seriously so there should be a benefit to driving up expectations as well.
The market gets bigger year on year (by quite a rate I’m led to believe) and a brand such as Superdrug stepping into the ring shows investor confidence in the robustness and growth of the sector. As a result, it gives me confidence that businesspeople are confident that the sector is going to continue to grow which means more patients overall.
Should I be worried about Superdrug offering injectable treatments?
It’s a natural reaction to fear the competitor down the road who is charging less for the EXACT same product. But the key here is to recognise none of us are selling the exact same product (indeed we sell a service) and the possible points of differentiation are HUGE. Because relationships are big in the minds of customers in a service-led industry, it allows all players to target their own niche of customers. So my advice would be focus on the group/segment/type of customer you want to attract then build your business and everything you do around appealing to THAT group of customers. Sit down with someone and list the characteristics that the typical person in this segment has and give him/her a name. Keep that fictional person with you at all times – they are your new best friend!
Who is SkinViva’s fictional character?
We aim to create amazing treatments for ‘Karen’ who:
- is age 45
- in a professional role
- needs evening appts
- likes the nice things in life
- busy social life
- researches widely
- has a partner and 2 children
- earns above average
- wants convenience
- typically shops M&S or Sainsbury’s
- etc etc
Conclusion: You’ll be fine!
Build your niche around who your typical client is going to be and then make your reason for being to serve that typical person.
This approach encourages differentiation of service offering and teaches us we should worry less about competition in our sector. The market is absolutely big enough for all of us and in this stage of the market’s evolution I would argue competition is a good thing for normalising perceptions and growing the patient base. Also, important to remember “here today, gone tomorrow” for the competitors who fail to innovate and only focus on price. We can all charge less but it’s not the best strategy in this market because of the points I’ve discussed above about options to differentiate.
After all, if your competitor is charging £99 then the aim of the game is NOT to worry about how you can charge £98.
If you’d like to join in on the conversation about Superdrug, please head over to The Future of Medical Aesthetics Facebook group.