SKIN.TO 2022 Wrap + 2023 Plans

It's been another incredible year serving Canadians who are looking to buy Korean and Japanese skincare. As I wrap up the year to reflect on 2022 and plan for 2023, I always want to be transparent with my customers, and thought that sharing our plans together in our first ever blog post would be the best way to do so.

Last week I published a year-end survey, and within 2 days we got 150+ responses telling us about experiences shopping with SKIN.TO and giving us amazing feedback and ideas on how we can serve them better. As a wrap-up for the year, I've written about the ways we plan on improving SKIN.TO in 2023 to meet your needs, while also addressing some feedback on things we can't action on.

Getting information in one place

Our content ethos has always been digestible skincare research and advice on the go - we wanted to prove that learning about skincare isn't difficult and you don't have to be overwhelmed.

However, the feedback made me realize a flaw in my logic - no one memorizes skincare advice they come across day to day except me. What people are looking for is a place to easily refer back to once they're actually selecting skincare products. Therefore, I'm implementing:

  • Consolidated Instagram story highlights based on different skin types / concerns
  • Blog posts that discuss a well-researched skincare topic that can be found on my website (coming soon!)
  • Newsletter that will include a new publications, new products, and potential promotions so you don't miss anything (coming soon!)

Social Proof

Skincare is dominated by marketing and paid influencers, which makes authentic reviews and social proof from peers more important. I view good and bad reviews are so valuable, since I personally don't have an interest in what products we sell or don't, and honest reviews actually help us with our product selection. We will always verify that reviews are real before allowing them on our site. At the same time, everyone's mileage with products may vary, so it's important to keep an open mind and rely on reviews as just one of many data points. 

Here are the things I will be implementing for social proof:

  • Incentives for customers to leave a verified review 6 weeks after they place an order
  • Collecting Reddit reviews and doing polls on Instagram stories
  • Ask box to solicit new product and content suggestions from peers

Enhance resources on the site

One of the things that I was really happy to read was how much my research and content has helped my audience make the leap to Asian skincare. While my main content platforms are Instagram and Tiktok, I recognize that a lot of people who land directly on our website don't necessarily know where to start. Therefore, we plan on bulking up the following resource section of our website through: 

  • A member only section to feature exclusive products once a customer places their first order.
  • Online skincare quiz to test your skin type
  • Skin consultations that are free with purchase (coming soon!)

Additions to our FAQ

Our full list of frequently asked questions can be found in our full FAQ 

Why we don't do free shipping?

Free shipping means that products are priced to offset shipping fees. Since competitive pricing is incredibly important to us, we instead used free pick-up and cheap local delivery so those in the GTA don't have to subsidize shipping fees in the form of higher product costs. Of course, we recognize that this doesn't benefit those out of province. Canadian shipping has only gotten more extreme over COVID with the current fuel surcharges, so competitive shipping doesn't actually exist for Canadian small businesses who sell heavier products. We typically cover $3-5 on our shipments. We are, however, assessing new shipping services in the new year, which might take shipping to other Canadian metropolitan areas down significantly. 

Why don't we add pickup times?

The hard thing about running a small business while also having a full time job is that every decision is a tradeoff, which is true for both Sandy and I. Therefore, we always make decisions that we believe will benefit the most number of customers. Back when we had a 2nd downtown pick-up day, we would only have 2-3 pickups scheduled for the slot. For Markham, there are alternative arrangements that we can make on a case-to-case basis. if you can't make it to FMP on Sundays DM me and we can try to work out something else.

Why don't we do more promotions?

As someone with a business and product background, I spend a lot of time analyzing pricing and packaging, and the behaviours that it could incentivize.  My #1 pricing principle is that our prices are competitive and fair, and we do monthly pricing research and analysis to ensure that we are confident saying this. The problem with blanket promotions is that it creates transactional relationships and doesn't build the community that we want to foster. Instead, we do other things like give discounts to those who write reviews, or as a Christmas gift I'm preparing to send discount codes to the top 10% of VIP customers to our store this year. 

Why we don't do full ingredient lists?

Full ingredient lists are really hard to maintain, and don't add a ton of value to the average user. There are entire sites dedicated towards ensuring ingredient lists are up to date with all the new formulations (IncideCoder being my favourite). We recently did a big overhaul to make our key ingredient lists more extensive and helpful, but will certainly take this into consideration for next year.

Thank you everyone for an incredible year, I'm so touched every year by the amazing people that I've met through this platform that share my love for Asian skincare, and can't wait to see what 2023 has in store for us. 

Have a warm and happy holidays!

- Grace

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