For salons to remain competitive in the new retail reality, they need to use their local distributors in their efforts to thrive.
“A generational shift is happening, so the way distributors are selling is more consumer-like,” says Dave Anttila,
director of business development at iBeAuthentic.
As a digital solutions company for the beauty industry, iBeAuthentic, along with its partner distributors and brands, has seen increased sales, efficiency and online authority in direct correlation to their customers’ adoption of e-commerce.
In 2018, sales growth in e-commerce grew 1.7 times faster than the rate of growth among all distributor sales, according to B2BecNews. “With our customers, we see online B2B sales growing at more than 25% annually vs. 3% offline,” Anttila adds.
Adopting an e-commerce website will be crucial to increasing revenue, bring in customers and retain a loyal client base. To be competitive, salons need a well-maintained catalog of products that customers can browse 24/7 to pick the products that work best for them.
However, tackling this on your own can be costly. Many owners have invested time, money and energy into piecemeal solutions with no long-term strategy, which may result in setbacks, stagnated growth or cost enough to put them out of business. Salons that partner with their distributors gain efficiency, relevancy and a vital stake in the future of the beauty industry, as e-commerce must be an essential part of a salon’s yearly business plan in the next five years to remain viable.
Engaging in the digital retail conversation is one way to take advantage of a distributor’s resources. Mimicking a distributor’s promotional focuses, frequency of communication, and the hierarchy of products in salon marketing and communication is a great place to begin.
Finding content for email and social media campaigns is easy, as distributors are most familiar with the manufacturer’s resources to assist in selling. Distributors have the images, videos, and branding needed to launch a product, service or promotion.
IBeAuthentic’s primary efforts are to support distributors in their digital initiatives to help salons and stylists. This support comes in the form of offering online ordering and sharing best practices for driving digital sales, including integration to the accounting and inventory management systems, and promoting online selling and purchasing.
Integrations aren’t an exciting topic for most distributors or salons. However, functional site integration and user experience are critical to the online shopping experience because they determine sales success. Setup represents 75% of iBe’s initial work with getting a distributor selling online to salons and stylists. Functional site integration must include:
• The ability to register quickly and easily.
• A way to find and compare relevant products.
• A smooth and intuitive checkout process with a variety of payment method types and immediate shipping confirmation.
• An incorporation of beauty industry business rules, including diversion, discounts and territory limitations.
Salons should look at distributors that can make their ability to sell online as turnkey as possible. Distributors already selling online are a great place to start because they better understand the process and can help maximize sales. Working with a company such as SalonInteractive will help salons make connections with distributors and get an e-commerce website up faster. They offer a low-cost entry into selling online that will increase revenue and improve the customer experience.
After the integration of an online store, the majority of an ongoing effort with SalonInteractive will include bolstering a salon’s online presence and driving sales through content management and marketing tools.
Leveraging promotions and new products through website banners, email campaigns, social media and other channels creates a media mix that is expected by consumers in the new retail reality to gain their business. IBe assists in extending the distributor B2B environment to B2C and mining the salon client base.
“With our distributorships and brands, we find that as the salespeople get engaged with their company’s increased digital efforts, they are better able to verbalize those promotions, new products, and opportunities with their salon clients,” Anttila says.
The same can be said once a salon partners with SalonInteractive. Owners and employees will communicate sales and benefits more naturally, owning their client conversations to gain and retain business.
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