Last month, UK-based beauty Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform Glambook announced it is expanding operations to US clients. The platform, which “provides a free-to-use CRM solution, enabling beauty professionals to manage their appointments, bookings, and payments seamlessly, without incurring any additional fees,” as detailed in the company’s press release, “already operates in thirty-eight countries and is set to empower beauty professionals to earn up to thirty percent more…while saving customers up to twenty percent.”
The Software as a Service (SaaS) platform’s main functionality focuses on connecting beauty professionals with customers to support appointment setting services and features professional photo galleries and a review system to help match clients with their best-fit beauty service provider. Additionally, Glambook offers an optional paid subscription option for beauty professionals to advertise their services through the platform to attract new clients and expand their customer base.
To learn more about the platform’s US expansion, the challenges that needed to be overcome to launch in the US, and how Glambook differentiates itself from similar SaaS providers like Styleseat, CosmeticsDesign interviewed Alex Tomchenko, Founder and CEO of Glambook, for his insights.
CDU: What is the potential impact of Glambook’s expansion into the U.S. on manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal beauty care product industries?
Alex Tomchenko (AT): By capitalizing on the lower costs offered by independent beauty professionals compared to salons, we anticipate a surge in demand and a subsequent increase in beauty-related expenditures. Moreover, within each professional's profile, independent professionals can specify the brands they work with, allowing us to collect data regarding the volume of products they have used.
Then, we provide these predictive analytics to manufacturers, enabling them to anticipate potential demand and adjust their supply accordingly.
Furthermore, as part of our independent professionals’ network, we will enable service providers to create their own marketplace. Many professionals aspire to establish their own brands, and our platform will drive them to collaborate with existing manufacturers, and to launch their own line of cosmetics under their brand.
This will stimulate small-scale entrepreneurship and create more job opportunities.
CDU: How does Glambook differ from similar competitors like Styleseat, Fresha and Booksy?
AT: Glambook distinguishes itself by not charging any commissions to professionals when they work with their existing clients, allowing them to keep their earnings in full. Glambook offers a free-to-use CRM system that helps professionals manage their bookings and streamline their business operations.
Also, Glambook is the only beauty platform that offers a chat feature for effective communication between customers and professionals, which is particularly crucial for tattoo masters, as determining the price of a service often depends on various factors that can be discussed only during a conversation.
Compared to its competitors, Glambook provides a wider range of services, including tattooing and piercing, which enables it to cater to more clients. Furthermore, there are no commissions for clients when they book services through Glambook, ensuring fair and competitive pricing.
Our platform allows professionals to offer their services not only at salons but also at the clients' homes and offices, providing flexibility and convenience. These unique features position Glambook as a platform that supports the success of beauty professionals and delivers a satisfying experience for clients.
CDU: Have there been any challenges to the platform’s expansion into the U.S. market?
AT: As Glambook's expanded to the U.S. market, there were various challenges that the company had to overcome. The primary challenge was the established market dominance of beauty platforms like StyleSeat and Fresha, which are already positioned as the leading platform in the beauty industry.
To differentiate ourselves and carve out a unique space in the market, we took several strategic approaches.
One of the key strategies was to focus on catering specifically to independent beauty professionals. Recognizing that the U.S. market was already saturated with existing platforms, we aimed to offer tailored solutions and dedicated support for independent professionals.
Additionally, we were aware of the changing landscape of the U.S. beauty industry, which was experiencing operational shifts and challenges. Many salons had shortened their hours of operation while increasing prices to maintain profitability, resulting in decreased availability for appointments.
Furthermore, salons had begun reducing their service offerings, focusing only on the most popular ones and declining niche services such as spa treatments. This posed a challenge for Glambook, as it needed to adapt its platform to address these industry-wide changes.
To overcome these challenges, Glambook made sure that its platform allowed for flexible scheduling. This enabled beauty professionals to effectively manage their availability, ensuring that they could adjust to the changing demands of the industry and maintain a strong presence on the platform.
By providing this flexibility, Glambook helped mitigate the issue of decreased appointment availability and allowed beauty professionals to navigate the evolving market conditions more effectively.
Another challenge faced by Glambook when expanding to the U.S. market is the vast size of the country and the need to effectively target the audience within each state while maintaining coverage across the entire country. This is addressed by creating a comprehensive campaign that has hyper-targeted components within each location.
We recognize the financial challenges faced by beauty professionals, including high salon commissions and job cuts. To address this, we empower independent professionals by providing them with a platform to create their own marketplace.
This can allow them to establish their brands, reduce their dependence on salons, and gain more control over their earnings. By supporting independent professionals this way, Glambook alleviates the financial burden and job insecurities faced by beauty professionals.
CDU: Does Glambook’s platform solve any pain points for US manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal care product industries?
AT: The problem of supporting indie brands in the beauty manufacturing industry is their limited market access, lack of visibility, and the difficulties they face when collaborating with manufacturers. Indie brands often struggle to gain traction and reach a wide customer base due to resource constraints and limited distribution channels.
Additionally, forecasting demand and adjusting supply can be challenging for manufacturers when dealing with smaller, niche brands.
Glambook's platform will address these pain points by expanding the market access for indie brands through its network of independent beauty professionals. By allowing professionals to specify the brands they work with, Glambook will be able to provide manufacturers with valuable data on potential demand, enabling them to adjust their supply accordingly.
Moreover, Glambook will be able to facilitate collaboration between indie professionals and manufacturers, empowering professionals to create their own marketplaces and establish their own brands. This will foster small-scale entrepreneurship, create job opportunities, and support the growth of indie brands in the cosmetics and personal care product industries.