Personal observations from Jenene Crossan Kiwi Founder, based in London on modernising hair & beauty technology for a better customer experience.
Christmas in London is always beautiful and interesting. And from a retail POV it becomes an overwhelming and heady influx of consumer advertising bombarded at pace, flung out into the cross-platform world, hoping to catch someone and reel them into the checkout.
John Lewis’ new ad was out this week and Edgar is a hit already — the merchandise, the windows, the Snap Chat filters. The buildup to the launch. What a savior for the advertising industry — when people can’t wait for it to be released. Super cute emotive content, that connects.
Speaking of windows, they’re now fully Christmas’d up and they look amazing. The lights have been switched on and the city looks magnificent. It makes the 3.30pm darkness well worth it!
All of this makes for a busy time in London. The city is crammed full of people rushing from place to place, all single minded in their mission for Christmas organisation & socialising. The city feels like it’s reaching peak limit earlier than usual. Restaurants are fully booked weeks in advance, Ubers slower than usual, trains crammed. It’s a city that now requires you to plan in order to get anything — quite the turnaround from ten years ago where it was noticeably busy, but still easy enough to find something.
The observation I make is that this is when customer experience begins to fail. There’s less patience, less attention to detail, less care on delivery. Not from all, but certainly from the mass and busy retailers where customers are packed in and staff churn is high. The problem here is that it’s hard to impress the importance of happy customers, when you always have more arriving.
Trend Watching (TW:Blog) released its latest Beauty Innovation Report last week. We’re certainly seeing a change in the product sector and push for more direct-to-consumer businesses that are lifting the beauty game and bringing innovation, efficiency, affordability and sustainability.
A testimony to the shift in taking beauty business more seriously was Time Magazine featuring Emily Weiss on the front cover.
Our attitude and behaviour to how we buy hair and beauty services continues to evolve. The data we see in our Australia and New Zealand marketplace, Book.flossie.com highlights how fashion-led services are now a considered trend to curate our individual look.
The time aspect is crucial, the window of time for securing a customer into a slot is getting smaller and tighter — being able to make it super simple for her to get what she wants, when she wants it, is going to be increasingly about make it very easy for her to do it RIGHT NOW.
A nice segue into some sex tech innovation I’ve spied here in London. A growing industry, now reportedly worth $30b there are many interesting and not sleazy innovations, including Dipsea Stories. With incredible production values, it’s an audio erotic app aimed at women (though man friendly) and bringing a next generation of material and attitude that should be applauded. In a time where internet porn has arguably warped our view of sex, this type of business bringing back pleasure and desire to the heart of the conversation, in a safe and beautiful UI, it’s a hero that deserves to be praised. Download it, tell a girlfriend about it, share it with your teenage daughters. I will be.
Finally, this week I had my first experience with Urban, the on-demand services company that has raised about NZD$30 million in funding and drives the gig economy. I threw my neck out on Tuesday night, and Wednesday woke up to a migraine. For love nor money could I find an osteopath that was available…until I turned to Urban and found an Osteo in 4 simple clicks and booked within a minute to come to me. She arrived, neck was fixed and I’m a happy camper. An incredibly beautiful UX, what a game changer. Some nice brand alignments in the app too, some good examples of ways in which product companies can be utilising these new distribution networks.