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28 May 2017 | beautystorebusiness.com offerings; they're competing for customer experience—to see who can deliver the experience that keeps beauty customers coming back for more. "Customers have more choice now than ever," says Cos Bar CEO David Olsen. "They are smart, they are savvy and they have high expectations. It's difficult to get a new customer but very easy to lose a customer. So for Cos Bar, having the best-in-class omnichannel experience is critical to our success and is part of our DNA." The beauty retailer has been staying ahead of the curve. It's currently testing out Stella Connect in its stores and is in the process of rolling out RetailNext into its entire fleet. "As we grow, it's important for us to be armed with data to better inform our strategies and decision-making," says Olsen. Cos Bar is also upgrading its mobile checkout and has plans to integrate touchscreens with product recommendations. THE FUTURE Remember the pictures painted for you at the beginning of this article, detailing a beauty store with a welcoming robot and customers who could test products without leaving their home? Well, that's elementary compared to Zich of Interac- tive Design Labs' vision of the future of beauty retailing. Imagine this: As you walk into the store, your phone recog- nizes that you've visited a store that's connected to an app on your smart- phone. The app pushes a notification to the home screen of your phone, letting you know that there's currently a promo- tion on the product you typically buy. You walk through an aisle of haircare products with a touchscreen that's play- ing a loop of a woman's hair and a timer showing the difference in color treatment. As you stop to watch, it says: "Watch it happen to your hair in real time." A small camera on the top of the unit begins to track your motion and applies a color filter to be able to see how your hair could look with the treatment. You can change the colors and shades of your hair. At the bottom right, there's a tab to view a current special that's running. You can't resist trying the product out, so you add it to your basket and head to your original product destination. As you walk toward the point of sale (POS), you notice a small digital display for a new sunscreen that loops through the ways that the product protects your skin. You stop and watch the video and grab a product sample. Minutes later, you're at the register with extra products in hand, checking out on a POS system that is tracking those products for which you'll receive an email two weeks later (from your sign-up at your last visit) reminding you that you might be out of those products and that there's a "bundle discount" waiting for you. If the system detects that the email has not been opened, a text message is sent letting you know that you might be out of those products, and it links you to the nearest store to purchase more. There's your beauty-retailing future. ■ Manyesha Batist is a freelance journalist based in Denver, CO. Stella Connect collects real-time feedback after customer interactions. Visit demertbrands.com or call us at 1.813.903.0434 PERFECTING BEAUTIFUL HAIR