The beauty box business has been challenged during 2020 with Covid-19 affecting deliveries and supplies (like all other industries), but at the same time they serve as essential businesses, enabling people to receive toiletries and products via mail order. Buying beauty products is a luxury for many, and with so many people losing their jobs it’s understandable that the beauty industry would be hit. When it comes to paying the bills or buying food, that comes before buying a new lipstick that you can’t wear because you’ll have a face covering on at some point.
Latest in Beauty has always had a few website issues, and they decided to scrap the choices of subscriptions on offer and to have a single one of 6 items for £12.95 instead of £15, but to charge £3.95 for shipping unless you had paid for 3 months already and be called a LiB Pro. To entice people to stay subscribed they made an offer to allow all subscribers to join before the first week in September to automatically be a Pro member, and thus get free shipping on all orders and to get 15% off all collections. In addition, you can also order one extra box for £12.95 per month. You get 30 days (from payment) to choose your box, or a random ‘mystery’ box will be selected for you, and you don’t get reminders to choose your box. This change was to try and keep subscribers loyal, even though they could still cancel at anytime.
This new deal also allowed you to pause a month (every 3 paid ones), to offer more flexibility. In theory it sounds okay, and a few technical hitches were to be expected, yet as we approach December, the glitches continue. The problem is that the website has had issues for a couple of years now, and they don’t appear to get addressed. Some customers have given up, while others find it too much hassle. Others persevere because the box can be good value, but it can be disappointing when an item you want sells out, or disappears in your basket.
Some of the issues included the inability to either pause or cancel a subscription because the button was shaded out, phantom orders being generated when accounts had been paused, and the usual problems of the bag being emptied at checkout. This is usually because a product is out of stock, but their system doesn’t seem to be capable of removing one item and obliterates the whole order. Yes, it can be stressful to order, and it shouldn’t be. Ironically, the best advice is to read the comments on the Facebook page from other customers and how they solved their issues. At one point people couldn’t log in, again due to a website issue and people were told to clear their caches or to use the incognito mode. To be honest, this makes the whole experience stressful and not much fun, and buying beauty products should be fun.
Personally I have experienced a phantom order being generated while being paused, and emailed customer services who told me after a few days (there is a delay in responses) it was a website error and to to ignore the email and what it says on the dashboard. I just have to keep my fingers crossed that they didn’t take money, and they don’t send me a random box, and it’s hardly ideal.
Earlier this month I got my October box, and I managed to get several items that I would use, but the selection these days is sparse. Each time there is something worth getting, there is a race to get it, and if your subscription date is during a quiet spell then you won’t get much choice. My friend was worrying about hers as she had to order within the next few days, but she struggled to make up a box.
Today I struggled to order a box as I decided to order a box (on the off chance if they had taken money, and it would be better than a random box), and I spent at least half an hour trying to order, and that was after making my selection. As advised by others on social media comments, I removed the new cleanser on offer and I managed to checkout. My phantom subscription order seemed to be just that as I was charged a one off box. Technically, once you pay for the month you should have a message telling you to choose your items in green when you begin selecting items. Yes, it was stressful and I chose a safe hand cream as an alternative item just so I could check out.
Buying beauty products shouldn’t be so stressful, and last month I didn’t have any issues and ordered within minutes. It really does seem to be hit or miss if you encounter issues, and let us hope that the teething problems will be resolved. As for LiB’s new structure, will it keep customers loyal (as that’s what they are aiming for)? I’ve been using LiB for several years now and have had a few issues, but they always got resolved. The main question is whether it’s worth committing to 3 months or staying a Pro member to save £3.95 on shipping? Are the collections worth it, or are they over priced these days to make up for the 15% discount? I’m going to stick it out until the end of the year at least, but it becomes harder to select items when there are fewer choices on offer.