Beauty Store Business

OCT 2018

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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beautystorebusiness.com | October 2018 57 Poor editing of vendor displays is also an issue within beauty stores, according to Christopher Studach, creative director for King Retail Solutions, an award-winning retail store design firm that employs value engineering as part of the design process. "I see a lot of horribly mismatched vendor supply table tents. There's just a lot of competing garbage out there from vendors. You've got to think through what's useful and what's not," he says. This involves determining whether a vendor display actually adds value to the store environ- ment. If it doesn't complement your store's characteristics or design–or if it adds clutter–skip it. Professionals also lament that beauty retailers create cheap displays that highlight sales, discounts and inexpensive mer- chandise. Bob Phibbs, CEO of The Retail Doctor and author of The Retail Doctor's Guide to Growing Your Business, says that offering a display featuring "buy one, get one free" items or the like is not merchan- dising. Merchandising involves putting your best on display, particularly the more expensive products. Retailers should high- light what they want customers to buy. According to Ellen L. Friedman, executive vice president of RPG, which specializes in creating innovative retail environments, "We are creating a whole lifestyle around some brands, including manufacturing displays and fixtures. Smaller stores could have an opportunity to really become a lifeline for people. They come into the store and get a curated brand selection. They learn what's new. They have an experience. In this way, the store is building a sense of community, offering expertise and services." But as it is, many beauty stores have yet to realize that overflowing shelves, counters and displays don't provoke the wonder or curiosity that prompt customers to stop and explore. Retailers often settle for replacement sales rather than discovery sales, Phibbs says. The difference between the two can determine whether a store stagnates or soars. With replacement sales, the retailer replenishes products the customer is already using. Discovery sales, on the other hand, cut down on selection and curate merchandise to tell a story, Phibbs explains. This is part of creating a store experience: storytelling through curated product displays, along with the store environment and other experiential elements, in a way that gives customers opportunities to relax, browse and, subsequently, buy things they weren't looking for. "The whole point of great merchandis- ing is to cut down the shopper's choices so they don't feel like shopping is work," Phibbs says. Retailers should also keep in mind that when they compete on price, they're competing with online stores, which are far more convenient for shoppers. The brick-and-mortar advantage is giving customers an experience that supersedes convenience. Otherwise, "they're just settling for crumbs, when they could have the whole feast," Phibbs says. WORKING WITH THE PROS Well-designed store environments tell a story, educate customers and produce captivating store experiences–ultimately facilitating sales. To reach these goals, business owners turn to retail design and merchandising firms. They audit stores, research effective techniques and test theories and best practices. Their assis- tance comes with an investment of both time and money, but their objectivity and expertise can provide dividends for years to come. Design and merchandising professionals come to the table with the questions and fine details that help retailers flesh out their dream store environments. But it's also incumbent upon retailers to bring their intimate understanding of their brand, mission and vision as well as other inside knowledge. A retailer should gather some information in advance to help jump-start the journey. Be prepared to outline details such as your customer profile, your inventory levels, which products are selling well, which products need to sell better, your store's architectural elements, your operational expectations, your organizational systems and ways you have integrated your online store with your brick-and-mortar. You should also put some thought into the story you want your overall store to tell and how you want to communicate it to customers. "We're constantly doing research. We keep in touch with everything that's happening in the marketplace globally. And yet, stores have to make decisions," Friedman says. For instance, should design be about the store itself, as with Bob Phibbs CEO of The Retail Doctor Ellen L. Friedman Executive vice president of RPG Meg Lefeld Global project manager for ZenGenius Inc. Christopher Studach Creative director for King Retail Solutions "The whole point of great merchandising is to cut down the shopper's choices so they don't feel like shopping is work." —Bob Phibbs, CEO, The Retail Doctor Sleek and stylish, an organized and minimal display is eye-catching to consumers, like this one from Surratt Beauty.

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