Beauty Store Business

DEC 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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16 December 2018 | reminding them about the wonders and discovery that lie within. This, too, is a strength o smaller beauty retailers. Customers go onto knowing what they're looking or; but they visit smaller retailers anticipating an encounter with something new. COMPETE ON THIS Beauty retailers can take their customer service and customer experience levels to superior heights with the ollowing ocal points. Uniqueness: "Everything starts with product. The small retailer has to ocus on the uniqueness o their product (revealing a knowledge o their local customers) and engage their customers through the experience they oer," Patel says. "Stock products that are unique and hard to ind online. Give them a reason or either coming into the store or visiting the site." Also, make some oerings available in-store only. Next, hone in on brand personality. Your most loyal customer doesn't enter your store just to pick up his or her avorite product. There are characteristics and qualities about your store that make customers choose it over the host o other stores that sell their avorite products. Don't orget to dierentiate your customer service and customer experiences. Figure out the unique perks your store can deliver. Can it deliver purchases to local VIP customers? Should it partner with local businesses or unique customer experiences? Can it strengthen a customer relationship by not only making the merchandise easily returnable, but ollowing it up with a personal note and doggy treat or his or her urry riend? Personalization: Amazon has in excess o 300 million active users worldwide–and it digs into data to give them what they want. "It is not a surprise anymore that Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc., know everything about their cus- tomer base. Je Bezos is known or collecting everything about his Amazon shoppers," says Brian Farn, marketing manager at IdealSpot, which helps brick-and-mortar retailers select a location based on market and customer insights, including spending trends, product demand, demographics and psychographics. Farn has worked at Amazon, as well as Google and Microsot. "These large corporations collect everything rom your spending patterns to your interests, what you've searched online, how many people are in your amily, etc." Yet, a smaller retailer is also primely positioned to collect customer data through more intimate, amiliar and personal interactions with customers. One o the ways smaller retailers can use customer data to personalize customer experiences and grow their customer base is through content marketing. More than 21 percent o consumers research beauty care and/or cosmetics beore buying them in-store, according to the Ecommerce Foundation. Through articles, emails, social media and other content, beauty retailers can proactively answer consumer questions, and speak directly into their purchasing decisions, their lives and their commonalities with the brand. Farn cautions retailers not to shy away rom data gathering. There are not only a host o services, such as IdealSpot, that can accomplish it or them, but simple keyword searches through platorms, such as Google Trends, can also help. Experience: ForeSee ound that when a customer's journey begins in-store, it also ends in-store 89 percent o the time. Smaller retailers have the ability to give customers the experiences they're looking or. They can provide a local experience, a community-oriented experience or a more intimate, interactive or unique experience. They can build a retail sta that is superiorly knowledgeable in their niche or that has keen insight into what their customer base wants. They can engage them online and then ollow up with them in-store. "With Amazon growing so large, there is a real opportunity or small retailers to get personal, get local and dierentiate rom such a behemoth," Patel says. "There is also a reaction to the scale o Amazon rom a consumer level, where a number o people want to shop local, shop in unique stores that have character, where they are known as individuals." BE SHREWD AND LEVERAGE THE BEHEMOTH With the ease with which anyone can sell products on Amazon, beauty retailers have ound themselves competing against its sellers' rock-bottom prices. But price should not be a competitive actor or small retailers. As Farn puts it, that's a battle that smaller retailers will never win. But retailers can be strategic in their brand partnerships to ensure air and equal pricing. "There will always be third-party sellers who will advertise deep discounts or reasons no one can explain. In short, there is no magic bullet; just a commitment rom both sides to do your best to minimize the bad actors," says Clay Campbell, co-owner o Innovative Beauty Products, which brings niche, proessional beauty oerings to the market. He says that policing pricing issues is both diicult and time consuming, especially as most third-party sellers oer little inormation into their businesses. But he adds that there's a greater chance o success when manuacturers and retailers work together to monitor Amazon daily or predatory pricing. Billy Vito La Venia, managing partner o proessional beauty company Mavala Switzerland and owner o BLSD Distributors, says that beauty retailers need to ocus their attention on brands that have taken online brand degradation seriously and have developed sustainable strategies to combat it. "Manuacturers can now protect their brands," La Venia says. "Retailers should leverage their buying power with the manuacturer to address their concerns," including the manuacturer's ecommerce pricing policy and how they manage it throughout the line o distribution. But they shouldn't stop there: "Retailers should be using Amazon as a research tool by taking a cross section o brand SKUs to see what support the manuacturer is eectively or ineectively bringing to its online presence, including but not limited to a uniorm online brand presenta- tion, product descriptions and eective management o MSRP," he says. And don't let the competition blind you to the opportu- nities that exist or retailers within Amazon. "The biggest casualty o the Amazon revolution has been the larger chain retailers, which has actually created an opportunity or smaller retailers i they learn rom and leverage Amazon as a platorm," says Patel. He explains that smaller retailers should think o Amazon as a platorm that can be leveraged to sell their oerings, the way Wilshire Beauty has, through which they can access millions o shoppers. "This may be a truly eicient way to sell to a new customer," he concludes. Beauty retailers who creatively navigate the opportu- nities Amazon presents and leverage their small business strengths just may be the ones to disrupt the giant's burgeoning beauty presence. ■ Manyesha Batist is a reelance editor and journalist based in Denver, CO. "Retailers should be using Amazon as a research tool ... to see what support the manuacturer is eectively or ineectively bringing to its online presence." —Billy Vito La Venia, managing partner, Mavala Switzerland

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