Retailing Gets Edgy at Richard Salon
Retailing Gets Edgy at Richard Salon

One thing Amazon knows how to do is sell stuff. Don’t get jealous—get busy borrowing some ideas! That’s what Richard Daly was thinking when he saw how easy it was to shop at a bricks-and-mortar Amazon Fresh grocery store, which opened not far from his Richard Salon in Smithtown, New York.

Inspiration from Multiple Shopping Experiences

“At the Amazon store, every item you put into your cart gets added to your total,” Daly says. “If you change your mind and put the item back, it gets removed.” A series of cameras and sensors integrates with the Amazon app, and the shopper simply bags the groceries and walks out of the store. This technology eliminates the dreaded and time-intensive, if also iconic, grocery line.

Daly knew he couldn’t replicate that seamless process, but maybe he could come close. He also was influenced by Etsy.

“Etsy purchases are impulsive,” Daly explains. “You see it on your phone, double click, and it’s sent to your address.”

He noticed that ever since the pandemic, people had been growing more comfortable scanning QR codes. What if he equipped products with QR codes that took shoppers directly to ApplePay? One click, and the client could just carry the item out of the salon. 

Let’s Make a Deal

That plan gave Daly a way to make the purchase super easy for the guest. But what about the front end of the shopping process? Even with a boost from stylists explaining what they were using on their clients, Daly didn’t want to count on the appeal of rows of SKUs sitting on an ordinary retail shelf.

Instead, he went back to the shampoo area and created a display of high-demand shampoos and conditioners in bundled packaging. And the idea came to life: Grab-n-Go retailing at Richard Salon.

Each bundle was priced to offer a little savings over purchasing the products individually. At holiday time, it was simple to use the bundles prepackaged by the salon’s brands. Since then, Daly has been doing his own bundling with ribbons and other decorations to dress up and prepackage products for an irresistible appeal. The bundles hold either three products or two products plus a brush.

Guests can make the purchase by taking a chosen bundle to checkout, or they can use a self-serve kiosk Daly set up for convenience. But those who choose the most efficient option—purchasing by scanning the QR code attached to the bundle—also receive a complimentary travel-size product as an incentive to start embracing a higher level of technology.

The purchase is achieved through the Square app and integrated with the salon’s DaySmart software, so there’s very little involved for the salon once it’s all set up. For the guest, the single QR code pulls up the preloaded shopping cart. 

“We’re hoping this is a gateway to the future of retailing,” Daly says.

Bonus: Creating Engagement

Fun at work: the Richard Salon team

Fun at work: the Richard Salon team

The QR codes are displayed on flat screen monitors near retail areas as well as across from shampoo sinks, along with product information and self-serving access to retail shopping bags. With kits on full view showing products that match the backbar cleansers and conditioners, the shampoo service provides the perfect time to bring Grab-n-Go to the client’s attention.

“Discussing the bundled deal creates conversation, so it’s kind of fun,” Daly reports. “It creates engagement and gives us the ability to really promote a product by discussing the checkout procedure. We’ve sold a lot of the prebundled kits based on that conversation and the free gift.”

With the chat, verbal cues, impulse incentive, and one-click purchase, the salon has a good chance of closing the sale. Notes Daly, “Most purchasing has been done by clients still sitting in the chair.”

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