We spoke to Iris Smit, the Founder and CEO of The Quick Flick, to examine how her team pivoted its messaging during the pandemic, what the business has learned and the future of beauty in a post-pandemic world.
While Australia was in lockdown, online retail experienced an unprecedented lift in sales. While baking, DIY, at-home fitness and other categories saw a boom during the height of the pandemic, categories such as makeup and fashion had an undeniable dip.
We’ve had a very interesting year. What has been one of the biggest challenges that The Quick Flick has encountered in 2020, and what have you earned from the experience? With the increased adoption of e-commerce in the last ten months, there have been monumental changes for businesses and the way they understand the retail industry. Has The Quick Flick had to adopt or implement any strategy amendments as a result of the pandemic?
“We’ve definitely had to work hard to shift our brand messaging and image. Our hero product, the winged eyeliner stamp, was traditionally pitched as more of a ‘going out’ look, so we’ve been working hard to pivot that messaging and the content we produce to adapt to the new beauty customer who is going for more minimal makeup and staying at home more. Despite what you might expect from a cosmetics brand, we’ve actually found this a really refreshing change and a great chance to go back to our core values which focus on real beauty, real customers and makeup being an expression, not a mask.”
The beauty industry took a hit during the endemic as Aussies remained home. How did the pandemic affect The Quick Flick?
“We’ve definitely seen a big shift in consumer behaviour since the pandemic and it hasn’t been easy, particularly for our bricks & mortar wholesale retail partners, but as a brand focused predominantly on eye makeup, we’ve been fortunate to stay stronger than those brands who specialise in other areas like lips.”
Many of Australian businesses had to pivot to a work from home environment during the peak of the pandemic. Making the shift from an office environment to a WFH setting can be tough for many businesses. How did The Quick Flick adapt to these changes, and has it made any impact on the business and its culture?
“We’re very lucky to be based in Western Australia, where life is relatively normal compared to life on the east coast. At the start of the year, we moved to our home offices and transitioned part-time back to the office mid-year when restrictions eased. As a lot of our business works with agencies and retail partners overseas, the additional flexibility in hours and location has been received really positive.”
In the last ten months, the need for online retail has become apparent. What changes have The Quick Flick seen with beauty trends, and how has the pandemic impacted the role of makeup for customers?
“At the start of the pandemic, we launched our Quick Lash Collection, including a zero-glue, zero-magnet adhesive liner and a range of faux mink lashes that proved hugely successful as lash salons were closed and customers were looking online for alternatives to lash extensions and lash lifts.
“We’ve also seen the very minimal makeup look became more and more prevalent as lockdowns were extended and masks became mandatory in many Australian states and countries globally. Customers are stripping back their makeup routine entirely, particularly as the Zoom call attire started to become more casual where heavy or bold makeup was one of the first things to go.
“With the skincare market performing very strongly, we also increased our skincare range with new sustainable options to complement our cosmetics line, which we’ll be continuing to grow in 2021 as we put more focus onto skincare and skin-first cosmetics.”
Did The Quick Flick foresee an uplift in online customers before the pandemic, or did your business have to act fast to keep up with the influx of new customers?
“One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced with the increase in demand is logistics and stock forecasting, which I’m sure most online retailers would be feeling. I don’t think we’ve ever seen products sell out as quickly as they have in 2020, so we’ve had to quickly adopt some new stock forecasting systems and delivery options that are ever-changing as the pandemic has evolved. It’s also been a good wake-up call to build out stronger contingency plans for both manufacturing and freight, which has helped us get back on top of the constant ‘sell-out’ phase. “
Many older Australian shoppers are using e-commerce platforms for the first time. Did The Quick Flick have a strategy to make the shopping experience easier for those who aren’t used to the e-commerce platform?
“We recently redesigned our four international sites, working with a UX designer and undergoing extensive user testing with ‘non-traditional’ beauty and e-commerce customers to ensure the path to purchase was seamless for anyone who landed on our site. This helped us improve our conversion rates and overall customer satisfaction, which was very positive.”
What online retail trends does The Quick Flick expect to see in 2021?
“Speaking to the beauty industry, I think we still have a long road ahead of us to transform a traditionally ‘touch, play, feel’ shopping experience into the online sphere, particularly as we adopt the other consumer groups that would have usually shopped in-store. Virtual try-ons, online workshops and personalised product recommendations and service will play a huge role towards this. Brands like The Quick Flick, who show rich diversity in their content in regards to skin tones, ages, eye types, face shape etc, will also sit stronger given the events of 2020.
“Speaking for online retail in general, we’ve also got a challenge to face with the influx of retailers launching online, and as they become more e-commerce savvy, I think we’ll see things like the costs of ads increasing with the increased competition.”
Last-mile delivery has become a tricky aspect of e-commerce recently. How has The Quick Flick dealt with the influx of orders, and has there been a change in strategy for last-mile deliveries?
“Delivery has definitely been a huge pain point this year, both for retailers and consumers. We’re lucky to have a very well set-up 3PL operating in Australia, so even during peak lockdowns we’ve been able to operate relatively ‘business as usual’, and during the pandemic, we’ve launched a similar service for our USA and Europe stores to reduce delivery delays incurred from shipping products from Australia and Asia.”
Can Aussie consumers expect anything exciting from The Quick Flick in the next few months?
“We’re just heading into the Black Friday Cyber Monday peak, and are running our biggest sale ever, so we’re expecting a big few weeks ahead. And our product team has been working around the clock to develop some really incredible, innovative products so stay tuned for 2021 as it’s going to be a big one!”
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