In the lucrative cosmetics business, it has been documented that many customers first go online to look for products and then travel to the store to find real experts. Nancy Hastings, Vice President for Sales & Education for Tom Ford Beauty, said the company sells double the items per transaction at the beauty counter as it does online.
Bee Shapiro (no relation) recently wrote an article in The New York Times, sub-titled, “with technology and star talent, brick and mortar stores offer perks to compete with online retailers.” Beauty products that enhance always hold great allure for both men and women and many high-end retailers are investing in the customer experience at the store. “Customers, perhaps inspired by how-to videos, now expect better-trained counter staff,” and many companies are complying. Alexandra Papazian, the Senior VP for marketing at YSL Beaute says, “in some ways the lines between the department store beauty shopping and e-commerce are blurring. A customer might notice something on a website first and then go to the store. You need to excel in both areas.”
All retailers should take note. Brick and mortar can still flourish and be profitable but experienced, tenured employees are a must. Communicating with a live chat agent while visiting a website is helpful, but when it comes to selecting products for your skin and face, there is no substitute for the personal touch.
Does this concept only apply to those companies selling pricey cosmetics that have equally pricey profit margins? No, personalized service by an experienced and service-oriented associate helps sales today and tomorrow no matter what the product. Building customer loyalty takes multiple steps. It requires a welcoming attitude, listening to what the customer needs and inviting them to return.
According to the article, customers reported, that, “gentle guidance, more instructive than the old-fashioned hard sell is worth the trip to the store.” If retailers want to survive and be successful it is necessary to make every customer feel that traveling by car, train, bus or subway, taking the time to go to the store, is worth the journey.