The global beauty business is worth a massive 532 billion US dollars. Since the beginning of human history, we have modified our appearances using natural or manmade methods and it doesn’t look like we are going to stop finding new ways to make us feel and look our very best. And that means that beauty supply stores will always be popular, but what makes a great beauty supply store? Let’s take a look at the factors that can make all the difference.
A great beauty supply store knows its niche
The beauty industry covers everything from makeup to hair products to skincare, and a great beauty supply store knows exactly which niche it is sitting in. Trying to be all things to all people can be the downfall of a store because it can come across as messy and because there won’t be as much depth or choice in any one particular area. And what this means is that customers who want choice in, for example, hair products, will instead go to a specialized hair beauty store so that they can find the products that they need.
Some beauty niches include:
- hair care and hairstyling
- nail care and styling
- natural beauty
- ethical or vegan beauty
- body care
- beauty tools, devices, and accessories
A beauty supply store doesn’t necessarily have to focus on only one niche but the story has to make sense. For example, focusing on skin and body care that is ethical would work well, but focusing on hair care and fragrance makes less sense to the customer. And it is important for the customer to understand as quickly as possible what the store is targeting because it helps them make a choice about which store to go to and they won’t become confused when walking around the store. A customer who is confused is a customer who is likely to leave fairly quickly.
A great beauty supply store knows its clientele
Just like it is important to understand the niche that a beauty supply store sits in, it is also important to understand the customer that will be shopping there. And beauty customers can be segregated into four main categories:
- Traditional customer – influenced by media but doesn’t invest time in pursuing latest trends.
- New entrant – just starting out with using beauty products. Listens to advice from cosmetic companies but doesn’t have a strong passion for the industry.
- Beauty addicted – reads beauty blogs and watches tutorials. Rushes to buy the latest products even if they don’t necessarily need them.
- Beauty expert – a professional makeup artist. Not influenced by opinions and is often loyal to specific high-end brands.
As you can see, a beauty supply store that is aimed at a beauty-addicted customer is going to look very different from one that is aimed at a beauty expert. So an understanding of the type of customer that will be visiting the store is vital for it to be a success.
These aren’t the only ways to categorize customers, of course. Age can be a big factor because the beauty products that teenagers will be looking for are very different from the products that middle-aged customers will need. Similarly, wealth and other demographics have a big impact on the types of products that customers will be expecting.
A great beauty supply store has a pleasant shopping experience
While online purchasing is becoming ever more popular, the advantage of brick-and-mortar storefronts still remains, and this is mostly because they can offer a valuable shopping experience. From the moment that a customer walks into the store, they are taking in the shopping experience that the store provides. Even if a store has all of the latest beauty products at a reasonable price, a customer is less likely to come back if the shopping experience isn’t up to par.
There are a variety of elements that feed into the shopping experience, and the exact one that works for each store will vary depending on their niche and their target customer, but it can include:
- Cleanliness – the cleanliness of a store is vital for a great customer experience. This means no mess, no clutter, no dust.
- Ambiance – the type of music that is played, and its volume are important for creating a pleasant ambiance. As is the color scheme of the store and the decorations used. Again, this should all be targeted towards the specific niche and customers that the store is aiming for.
- Customer service – customer service really can make or break the shopping experience. Well-trained staff with a decent management system can make a customer’s visit to the store attractive and valuable.
A great beauty supply store gives back to the customer
Every store wants its customers to come back again and again, and there are some simple things that can make that much more likely. Creating brand loyalty, for example, can mean that a customer chooses one particular store over other options. Loyalty or membership cards can help to create brand loyalty, with an option to collect points to get discounts, as can exclusive prices or product releases.
Another way of giving back to customers is to give out coupons or have discounts/sale periods with money off certain products. This is hardly a groundbreaking technique and it is one that is used across every industry but there is a good reason for that – it works. A properly advertised, well thought out sale, can draw a large number of customers to a store and, hopefully, encourage them to come back again.
A great beauty supply store is innovative
One of the hallmarks of the beauty industry, similarly to the fashion industry, is that it is ever-changing. New beauty trends develop all the time, and many of these trends require the use of different products. A great beauty supply store has its finger on the button of the latest beauty trends and is able to curate its stock and the way it is presented in-store to showcase the trend.
For example, the trends predicted by Glamour Magazine for 2021 were:
- “Skinmalism” – using less makeup with more of a focus on skincare
- Claw clips
- 80s makeup – e.g. blue eyeliner and blush draping
- Nail decals
- Eyeliner with a twist
- Protective styles taken up a notch
- Monochrome makeup
- Retro nails
- Curtain bangs
- Red hair
A beauty supply store that isn’t aware of trends might, therefore, not offer enough of a range of skincare products but instead is focusing on heavy makeup. Or they might not have enough eyeliner options or products for protective hairstyles. This can mean that customers who are looking to buy products that are on-trend will be turned away from the store and move onto a different one.
On the other hand, a store that is up to date on beauty trends will already have got their supplies of the products that customers will be looking for and will be displaying them prominently so that customers can find exactly what they’re looking for. Having staff who also have an understanding of the latest beauty trends can also be helpful when giving customers advice.
And, importantly, the trends that were popular in 2021 aren’t going to be the same as those in 2022, 2023, and beyond. So keeping up with the latest trends and modifying the store to reflect that is an ongoing, constant, but important process.
A great beauty supply store takes account of the season
Just as beauty trends can change from year to year, customer’s beauty wants and needs will also change depending on the season. And a beauty supply store needs to reflect this. The most obvious way that the season can affect beauty is with color palettes. For example, reds, oranges, and browns are associated with fall and greens, yellows, and reds with spring. But color palettes aren’t the only way that the season can affect beauty trends.
The holidays can have a big impact on beauty and beauty companies put a lot of time and effort into their seasonal products, and a beauty store should do the same. People will, for example, be shopping for gift sets around Christmastime so there should be plenty of options available. Valentine’s Day gifts are also an important avenue. Then there are New Year’s Eve party essentials, as well as Halloween-inspired products. Whatever the season, a beauty supply store should be ready to provide their customers with the products they will be looking for.
One often overlooked seasonal beauty trend is skincare. People’s skincare needs are very different in the summer compared to the winter. For example, products that focus on combating dry skin are important in the winter, whereas products that focus on sun protection are vital in the summer. Also popular in the summer are tanning and shaving products.
A great beauty supply store has an attractive atmosphere
The way that a beauty supply store looks can be as important as the products that it stocks. Customers eat with their eyes first and a store needs to give off the atmosphere that captures the customers it is trying to attract if it wants them to come in and buy. Most beauty supply stores follow similar aesthetic paths. There is a focus on blacks, whites, and shiny surfaces with neon lights, to give a sense of cleanness, boldness, and exclusivity. There are also sometimes small pops of color, such as reds and neon pinks.
But there is also a practical reason why this decor is so popular. Beauty products tend to be quite small and with colors that really need to catch the eye. If a store’s decor features lots of colors, patterns, and contrast, then it can be hard to pick out the products from the background, so customers won’t be able to see things that they might want as easily.
There has been a shift in this accepted aesthetic in recent years, however. With the rise of natural skincare, beauty stores that focus on this niche tend to feature more natural and warm decor, including wood. This again highlights the importance of a beauty supply store being really clear about its niche. If a customer walks into a store that screams skincare with natural colors and woods, but there is only makeup available, then they will be disappointed.
A great beauty supply store understands its branding
Branding is everything when it comes to marketing and marketing is key when it comes to making a great beauty supply store. Before creating a brand, it is important to think about the elements that have already been covered, such as the beauty niche and the target customer. The brand needs to clearly and deeply represent what the store will be focusing on and the customers that they will be targeting.
A customer will make a decision about what they think of a store before they take a step into the premises, and this is based on the branding. For example, if a wealthy middle-aged woman sees a store’s branding that seems to be aimed at teenagers, she may be unlikely to go into the store. And if the store isn’t actually stocking products for teenagers but is instead stocking products that are targeted towards her, she won’t even be in the store to buy them.
The bottom line
A great beauty supply store is clear about who they are, who they want to attract, and the products that they want to sell. They watch out for and anticipate new trends and make sure that they incorporate them into their store, and they also take into account customer’s differing needs throughout the year. They take care with their branding and with their store design and layout. They reward their customer’s loyalty and they give them something back when they can. The experience of going to a great beauty supply store should be fun, aspirational, and pleasant. A store that ticks all of these boxes will have customers that love them, and who will keep coming back.