In May, Aveda, The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essences, announced the launch of Salon A-Commerce, an innovative new business solution available exclusively to its global network of salons. The new offering is a turn-key online platform that enables salons to increase their profitability by selling products online without any of the time, investment or inventory management traditionally associated with an ecommerce presence.
Aveda Global General Manager Barbara De Laere took some time to dive deeper into how Salon A-Commerce will make it easy for Aveda’s salon partners to service guests both in salons and online and grow their business in the process.
MS: Describe how Salon A-Commerce will work for Aveda’s salon partners.
BDL: Aveda, from its beginnings, has always been very committed to our salon partners and to the salon industry and we will be going forward in the future. We know that consumers are buying retail in different ways, on different platforms, and our salon owners are very busy with their salon business and don’t have the bandwith or the time to jump on an ecommerce solution. We saw it as our responsibility to project our partners into the future, to give them a solution in a box that will help them modernize their business model and profit from their client’s haircare needs
MS: What does it mean to have an ecommerce website in a box?
BDL: It means it’s customizable and salon branded, so the consumer feels they are buying from their salon and their stylists. The backend inventory management is taken care of as well as the credit card processing fees, the handling, chipping, while the salon expresses their own identity on their site. Consumers go to the salon website and they end up on the salon-curated product assortment.
MS: Why is now the right time for this kind of concept?
BDL: When you wash your hair you have a certain amount of product you need in a year and we see that our guests are using much more shampoo and conditioner than they are buying at a salon. It’s not always convenient to stop in when you’re not coming in for an appointment but we want to see that the relationship between the stylist and the client is kept intact and that salons can provide that convenience. It helps salons put that expertise online and make it easy.
MS: Where did you first test Salon A-Commerce?
BDL: We started with five salons across the nation and we chose different profiles of salons and people who were savvy in social and digital. After those initial five, we gave it to 40 to 50 salons between January and March and it has been in development within our salon network. There is a lot of 360 support behind it and based on how salons are playing with it and the questions they are asking, we continue to make additions to content.
MS: Did you have any concerns about how this would be received?
BDL: We had a whole preparation for ‘what if x’ because nothing was set in stone. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We know our salons are quite forward thinking; they are really open minded and wired into their guests and interested in modernizing their business model and adding this strong business driver to their own portfolio. Also, they have been a part of the development of the program—we didn’t just deliver it to them.
Salon A-commerce is absolutely not shifting dollars from the salon business to online. The push on selling is not necessary; the consumer will buy whenever she wants to buy, when it is convenient. The most important part of this is that the stylists does a diagnostic and expert recommendation, which puts the expertise of the stylists at the front while still giving convenience to the consumer. The client wants to hear about the health of their hair—what it’s lacking, what it needs.
MS: Final words?
BDL: There’s a lot of things happening at this moment. We have launched our ‘Know What You’re Made Of’ brand campaign which is a year-long focus and guideline through our communication. This is very dear to my heart because it is based on our insight that when people know their strength and act from their strength they can make a difference. We’re asking people what they are passionate about so they can become aware of it and act from it instead of being hammered down from their weakness.
We’re committed to the industry, we’re committed to driving traffic into the salon and we’re really looking forward to Aveda Congress.