The Canadian Cosmetic Cluster interviewed Roula Panagiotopoulos. The co-creator of the new Cosmetic Acceleration Program. Ms. Panagiotopoulos is one of three founders of a new e-commerce retailer shophali.com. She has many years of experience in the cosmetic retail world. We asked Ms. Panagiotopoulos about how the cosmetic retail will be impacted by COVID-19.
1. How has COVID-19 changed the e-commerce landscape in Canada?
I find that people have become more adapt to buying online. I think this new way of shopping will continue given that people have now discovered it is really quite easy to shop. I don’t think that traditional bricks and mortar will disappear as people like to go into stores to widow shop, pass the time away for see and touch items. Maybe there will be less store but brick and mortar stores are not going away.
2. How has COVID-19 changed the retail landscape in Canada?
What I believe is that people are now wanting to spend their money on Canadian brands and e-commerce sites. We know the the Americans rally around "Buy American Made", however, I found that prior to Covid-19 Canadians were not that accepting of their own brands. I think this has changed.
3. What is your number one advice to cosmetic companies setting up a business in Canada?
Canada retail environment is very different than that of other countries. We are more similar to Europe in that we find our skincare/cosmetics at drugstores, for the most part. So in that sense it is next to impossible to get shelf space at these large retailers. They look for sales results and in today’s world you there are two ways to get that your own e-commerce site or small/micro retailers. One key piece of advice, if you are wading into the much crowded skincare environment treat your small/micro retailers like you would a Shoppers Drug Mart.
4. What online purchase trends have you witnessed growth in the past 6 months?
What we are experiencing is a growth in hair colour and not just classic brunette, black or blonde. We’ve seen a growth in pink, purple and blue hair. We attribute this trend to people not having a corporate look that they have to adhere to at home so they have experimented with bold colour. Up to end of April we had sold the same amount that we sold in the entire year of 2019 and the trend does not seem to be dyeing ( pardon the pun ) anytime soon. The other trend we are noticing is that with all the chemical used to clean people are turning to more natural and biodegradable laundry and cleaning solutions.
5. Do you predict any particular cosmetic category winners in 2021?
I think anything to do with wellness and de-stressing will be key for 2021. It’s been a stressful year for many people and anything to combat stress I believe will be key. I also think that we will continue with colour whether it is on hair, face or maybe even in skin creams. There is a brand that I fell in love with at IBE in LA this past year and their eye cream is iridescent - it’s a fun experience to put it on. Colour makes people happy and de-stresses so it’s very much needed considering we are going into winter for most of the world and that means a lot of dark colours.
Canadian Cosmetic Cluster Team
Uniting Canadian Cosmetics and Bringing it to the World