O2O is not only about bold talks about the merger and acquisition of rival platforms, the fast expansion of markets one after another, but also about takeaway food passed on from deliverymen, a knock at the door by the boss of the snack shop downstairs, the phone call from deliverymen… In TMTpost Photo Gallery 011: An Ordinary Day Of A Chinese Convenience Store, we’ve already attempted to describe the Chinese O2O market by recording a day at a tiny convenience store. In this latest issue, we will continue the effort and record a day of a door-to-door beautician. It is our wish that we could find out how an ordinary beautician can win others’ respect, and what the story of an ordinary beautician can tell us amid the ups and downs in the Chinese O2O industry.
Wang Liyuan, with over 12 years of work experience as a beautician, is the very protagnist in Photo Gallery 018.
BEIJING. It was 09:30 AM, March, 13th, 2016. Ms. Wang took her toolbox and started her one-day work. She planned to do makeup for only four customers that day. “They are all regular customers. Generally, I will have to go out at 07:00 if I have to do makeup for 5 or 6 customers, so today is comparatively easier for me,” she explained.
Ms. Wang was a full-time beautician for Xiaomeidaojia.com, and she worked for customers living less than 8 kilometers away from her. It was already over 10:00 AM, and Ms. Wang was 10-minute earlier before the scheduled time. In the above picture, she was getting prepared for her job. Ms. Wang had known the first customer for over half a year, and got along quite well with her. The started talking about recent job and life the moment they saw each other, just like old friends did.
It was 15:30 PM, and Ms. Wang had already finished doing makeup for her second customer, a pretty young girl. It took her almost three hours to finish at last. When she was young, Ms. Wang used to see many women customers going in and out of a Beauty Salon owned by a relative of her. “Those women customers looked better both mentally and physically after they walked out of the Beauty Salon,” Ms. Wang started to fall in love with doing makeup since then, “They went to do makeup in Beauty Salons because they had higher standards for their appearance. I believed at a very young age that women should be like them and treat themselves well.”
It was 16:04 PM, and Ms. Wang just arrived at the house of her third customer that day. Ms. Wang majored in Economic Management in college, but kept studying doing makeups throughout the college. After graduation, she chose to work in the makeup industry. “My mom was against my choice a great deal at that time, believing that I shouldn’t do this after graduating from college. She even refused to talk with me for a year to punish me,” Ms. Wang recalled. Later on, Ms. her mom gradually changed her mindset, partially because Ms. Wang stuck to the job so much. When she recalled the past 12-year experience as a beautician, the first month she started to study doing makeups must be the hardest time for her. “At that time, my fingers, wrists and arms all swelled up because I’ve got to practice a lot. I couldn’t even use chopsticks, and would feel extremely hurt if I accidentally touched my finger when I woke up,” she recalled.
According to Ms. Wang, there was a obvious change in the attitudes of customers in offline stores and O2O platforms. To be more specific, it could be really hard for the beautician and the customer to talk with each other like friends in Beauty Shops, yet when providing door-to-door services, the beautician seem to be equal to the customers, and the customers seem to trust the beautician better. It’s not merely about paid-services, but also about accompany, and even friendship.
It was 17:46 PM, and Ms. Wang hailed a car to get to the last customer of her that day. Will beauticians get rid of the O2O platform and directly contact with regular customers? Ms. Wang didn’t think so, saying that: “This is the basic work ethic for me after working as a beautician for 12 years. In addition, there is no guarantee that one would earn much more without the O2O platform. Moreover, the rules and regulations tend to be stricter in O2O platforms, so that the interests of beauticians and customers can be better protected, and conflicts tend to be dealt with more appropriately.”
It was 18:02 PM. Ms. Wang had a quick dinner at the residential community of her last customer. She was very busy everyday, and would often miss the lunch. “Some customers are so nice that they would spare time for me to have lunch, or even prepare lunch,” she was very much grateful for their kindness.
For me, Ms. Wang’s job was full of rules and principles, and a beautician could bring something more than physical beauty. “My customers want to not simply services, but also mental communication with them,” she explained, “a professional beautician will bring to the customer not only physical heath and beauty to the customer, but also mental change and beauty.”
It was 21:37 PM. Ms. Wang just finished doing makeup for her last customer that day. After accompanying her for the whole day, I felt that different from the past, Ms. Wang and her customer were mutually needed and respected. This wouldn’t be possible without O2O platforms. I believe that this kind of respect and kindness is the biggest advantage of any O2O platform.
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @fliesslaughterhouse, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.