For the Customer or the Cash?

Ok, so by now you’ve heard that Urban Decay have withdrawn their recent plans to sell in China, which would have meant that they would legally have had to start testing on animals, if you don’t know the full story, you can read all about it on British Beauty Blogger.

Basically, they announced they would sell in China and then today, changed their mind and released a statement about their change of heart, which can also be read on BBB via the above link. I’ve been watching lots of happy tweets on Twitter, stating things along the lines of ‘look how powerful customers are’ and ‘ we changed their minds’ I thought this was very sweet, but Liloo (@tsunimee) suggested I write a post explaining some of the deeper issues that are more likely the reason why the decision was made.

The Money

From working in the industry, I can tell you that big decisions like this one are very rarely changed because of customers. I know it sounds very pessimistic and sceptical, but realistically, big businesses and the big wigs at the heads of businesses don’t care about how we feel or our ethics or efforts to change things, 99% of the time it is about money.

So, although it is great that Urban Decay have chosen not to sell in China, which would have seriously compromised their cruelty free principles, the more likely scenario is that they changed their mind because of money not customer influence. It could be that their backing from a retailer in China fell through, meaning that the project couldn’t be progressed. Or, it could be another case of money.

It’s like when a product is discontinued, the brand knows it has fans and it is often sad when a line or product has to be discontinued, but when a item isn’t making money or doesn’t have the backing of a retailer it can’t be manufactured anymore (in some cases). Simple as.

The Publicity

The other thing that could be a option, it would be a strange one, but possible, is that all of this was merely  publicity stunt. Remember, bad publicity is still publicity. I think this option is highly unlikely, but I just wanted to put it to you guys to think outside of the box. In business, things aren’t how they appear at face value.

Think of how many people have been talking about Urban Decay now, when previously it was all about the beige of the Naked palettes. Maybe, they have something up their sleeves to revive interest after this and all of it was just a bit of theatre to get attention before a big launch or rebrand? Who knows?!

This is all just my speculation with a different angle on the story, I hope it will make you think outside of the box and to help you consider the business aspects of decision in any industry.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and would be happy to answer your questions if I can.

Comment below, share if you like and tweet me @JayneJRead

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7 thoughts on “For the Customer or the Cash?

  1. omg. you could be right. all this could have been a all stunt thing. i never thought of that!
    ‘It’s like when a product is discontinued, the brand knows it has fans and it is often sad when a line or product has to be discontinued, but when a item isn’t making money or doesn’t have the backing of a retailer it can’t be manufactured anymore. Simple as’. <– eye opener for me, i think i needed to hear it. and then a brand could suddenly revive it and then the people could all rush to the shop again.
    my question: if urban decay wanted us to believe that it was not about the money, when they backed out of china, why didn't they say 'we listened to you and couldn't upset you' or something like that. i would have respected them more if it had been a little friendlier. i guess it needs to stay businesslike but still. meh, i don't know xx

    1. This is where I am miffed Liloo, that would have been the perfect little PR stunt for them, a great story. So this is why I’m a bit suspicious of their reasoning. Although, people seem to be believing that they’ve changed their mind because of customers, so maybe that is working like that anyway. I’m all a bit confused with the situation, seems odd.

      With the retailer backing, it’s super interesting, you wouldn’t believe how many products that you and I would honestly LOVE to own and are genuinely AMAZING that never make it to market because they can’t find financial backing from a retailer. Very interesting.

  2. By financial backing I think you mean that a retailer is prepared to stock the product because they’ll make a justifiable amount of money from it? Products don’t have financial backing from retailers unless they’re owned by the retailers, i.e. Boots No 7.

    I’m a bit confused by the whole UD thing as I don’t think they’ve been motivated by people complaining (they’d make an oodle of cash and bigwigs don’t often have morals when it comes to making money,) so I think this could be more of a retail opportunity falling through or logistical issues. I’d bet money on basically anything other than caring about what their existing customers think, lets put it that way!

    1. Yes! That is what I mean, I have changed the wording. Thank you Hayley.

  3. I completely agree, it still smells of money – They would of lost more profit losing loyal customers than what they would of gained from investing into China trying to get new customers. Easy as.
    I like the angle that it was just for show and to get the name talked about, however I’ve lost all respect doing it the way they did, there is better ways to get publicity x

  4. Very disappointed by this move, the list of cruelty free brands grow ever smaller:)

    1. Thanks for the comment lovely, did you read my post about cruelty free? I feel that your statement about the list growing shorter is inaccurate. It’s actually illegal to test on animals in the EU, so in actual fact the list is getting longer. A brand doesn’t NEED to be on a the BUAV list to be classed as cruelty free, did you know brands have to pay for that badge? ALOT of money too.

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