SINGAPORE – Many startups have found their footing in Southeast Asia when it comes to disrupting the wellness industry, by using tech-enabled platforms to entice customers.
That is especially so in the Asian beauty industry in the past few years, as we’ve seen rapid growth and the proliferation of beauty startup apps and e-commerce platforms that are connecting customers to beauty and health service providers with attractive price points.
In the past, we’ve seen beauty platforms like Vanitee, Fave, and Vaniday enter and exit Asia, only to relaunch in selected markets. Take, for example, beauty-booking app Vaniday that had raised seven-figure funding in euros, only to make headlines upon the closure of its global operations in Australia, Russia, Brazil, Italy, and the UAE. According to Vulcanpost, Vaniday recently relaunched in Singapore after it was bought over by Ruth Teo, formerly the Vice President of Business Development for a US gaming and cybersecurity company, together with a passive investor.
Another beauty e-commerce platform is hoping to fill this void in the market. Singapore’s latest on-demand booking portal Tropika Club, which launched in July this year, is looking to capture a share of the beauty market, by creating a “win-win situation for both customers and merchants,” Louis Lye, founder of Tropika Club, told Yahoo Lifestyle SEA in an interview.
Lye said that currently, Tropika Club is funded by a few like-minded individuals, without any investment from any firm.
Since its launch, the platform has listed over 3,500 listings of beauty, wellness, and fitness offerings for both women and men, and has partnered with some of Singapore’s biggest players including the Mary Chia Group, Avone Beauty, and many more.
Some of Tropika Club’s features include a Map View function that can help a customer find all relevant services around him or her, and matching off-peak discounts with customer demand.
Lye said these options are to help match demand with supply and optimise supply with available demand, especially when the platform has many merchants with empty slots to fill during these trying times, and are willing to offer a discount to attract customers.
Merchants who are onboarded do not pay any fee to be listed on the platform. Tropika Club only deducts a booking fee (based on a flat fee or percentage of commission) when there is a successful booking made by a customer on the platform.
Reviews of Tropika Club partners
Since Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening allows for personal health and wellness services to resume, I booked two beauty salons found on Tropika Club’s platform, which are within walking distance of my office.
First up, after months of not taking care of my not-so-pearly whites, I signed up for your regular teeth whitening service at Wellaholic, which is located at 210A Telok Ayer Street. The map service on the platform shows it is just a 3-minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Brilliant!
The customer care team, from the receptionist to the care personnel, were delighted to see me at the front desk and greeted me promptly with a temperature check and SafeEntry login. I enquired about the salon’s safety and sanitary efforts, and I was assured the mouthguard was sanitised and I was given a new toothbrush to brush my teeth with.
The care assistant kept on her face mask throughout the non-invasive dental treatment and asked me regularly if I was comfortable or not.
As teeth whitening is a simple method of lightning your teeth, the degree of whitening may vary from person to person and with the type of bleaching process chosen. I was advised to return in a week’s time from the first appointment if I would like to continue with the service. All in all, I was able to go in and out of the beauty salon under 40 minutes.
The second beauty appointment I had signed up for was at Impression, a face and body care wellness centre at City Hall, which has been operating for over 26 years now. I opted for a body massage since I’ve been suffering from lower back and shoulder pains ever since I’ve been working from home on the couch.
I spoke to one of their beauty personnel at the centre who shared that clients have been cautious of returning and continuing with their beauty package treatments. Despite taking mindful measures, Impression has seen 60% of returning clients since they’ve opened.
As a female masseur led me to my room, I noticed the area was kept clean and maintained well. In the room, disposable massage sheets lined the bed and the face area. As a requirement, I donned my face mask at all times, and so did the masseur.
During the treatment, my masseur noticed muscle knots in my shoulder area, and she proceeded to knead them away with a pain level I would describe as 10 and beyond. The tense muscle fibers were caused by poor posture and overusing my muscles, she added. She also used hot stones to loosen my stiff muscles and promote blood flow, which promotes healing.
Boy, I felt like I had a change of a new body after the one-hour treatment!
Both of the beauty centres that I had stepped into are keeping their best in maintaining hygiene, not just for their staff but for their customers. Temperature checks are in place, walk-ins are strictly prohibited and customers must make appointments to reduce the chances of transmission. The protocols for daily cleaning, sterilisation of tools, and equipments especially after each customer, are deployed to ensure the service experience is safe and welcoming.
Although times may be challenging as we move into the ‘new normal’, it will remain this way until a vaccine has been introduced.
For more information about Tropika Club, click here.
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