How to stay relevant in a changing retail landscape

How does a professional beauty brand get a sense of solidity when influencing factors continue to change so rapidly, from the target market right through to the retail landscape to the competition and the methods of communicating?

Suppliers and salons need to continue to be open-minded, with new technologies and the new opportunities, but stay true to their roots, was the general consensus at Professional Beauty’s third industry round table, focused on retail sales.

Our nine industry supplier and salon owner experts – including Ultraceuticals’ Karen Wilkin-Donachie, OmniDerm’s Sue Dann, Ultraderm’s Pauline Valle, International Beauty Supplies’ James Carroll, Zing Business Coaching’s Jay Chapman, Beauty On Latrobe’s Clare Lamberth, Sharkra Medi Spa’s Tanya Ahmed, Focus On Skin’s Kellie Cohen and Skinsational’s Sarah Austin – agreed nothing was  going to beat the personal touch that was so fundamental to the beauty industry.

Pauline said it was important to stay at the forefront of trends by researching the overseas market, while James said you had to be innovative, without losing sight of your core philosophy.

Clare said it really important for any business to adapt to suit their clientele, while Sarah said you had to make a lasting connection with someone.

Tanya said nothing would ever beat the one-on-one contact with a client, while Sue said it was about getting back to basics.

Jay said it was important to be in tune to what ta client wants, and instead of just delivering a message, listening more by asking better quality questions, and delivering on that.

Read their edited responses below or watch the video for the full discussion.

“We need to stay at the forefront of trends, so we always research the overseas market. We have a look to see what they’re offering to their clients. We go to chemistry symposiums. Our customer is savvy and they want to know what is coming up next. Back in 2015, we saw there was going to be a change in our microbeads in our face polish. They were polyethylene. We jumped ahead of schedule and time and we introduced the wood pulp, which was biodegradable, which was going to be introduced in Australia in 2017. As a company we’re constantly working at making sure we’re up-to-date with trends, and we have to research the global market to do that.  We then can bring it to the salons and they can then bring it to their clients.”

“I can never undersell the importance of the therapist or the manicurist and how much they’re in touch with their client, and what they prescribe or what they say is what their client will listen to. How you do it, you can use whatever means it is that you wish, and you need to be innovative, but don’t ever lose the reason why you came into this industry. That’s one of the great things about the people in the industry, we want to make people feel good, get results and meet their expectations.  We’re very different than some other industries that are just push, push, push, sell, sell, sell. We’re very much about a holistic approach and you’ve always got to stay true to that core belief.”

“As a business it’s an organic thing. It’s constantly changing and evolving. The industry is, our businesses are, and our clientele and their knowledge is as well. It’s really important for any business to adapt to suit their clientele, whether that is brands, treatments, or the combinations of the different services you offer.”

“When it comes down to it, we’re usually working one-on-one and once we make that connection with that person, they are happy and confident in purchasing off you and continuing to come back into the future. “

“Nothing’s really going to beat that personal touch. An online click may be an instant gratification for that second, but they will come to the salon because there will some element that they may or may not be happy with, because they desire the human touch. That is the core of our business. We’re one of the last few industries, we’re so lucky, we get to touch people. You can’t even give a child a hug when they fall over in the playground anymore. We do a lot more than hugging, and we are one of the last true care providers in a non-kind of orthodox sense. It’s important we don’t lose sight of that. At the end of the day, you and your client one-on-one, nothing will ever beat that.”

“I’m big about the therapists having enough confidence because a lot of the staff coming through nowadays are young. If you can empower them to still have the knowledge but also have the confidence to do a consultation, keep that personal contact, that’s what we are all about. This industry is about the touch. It’s important to not forget that. There are a lot of new things that come on the market, but they’re not necessarily better. Sometimes the older stuff, the most down-to-earth stuff is the best. It’s about getting back to basics.”

“It’s about meeting their needs, so the client knows they’re booked in for a certain service, but also exceeding their expectations by putting something on the table they may not have ever thought of. We’re the experts. We take for granted how much we know about the beauty industry. It’s about being in tune to what that client wants, and instead of just delivering our message, listening more by asking better quality questions, and delivering on that.”



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