Thinking of devoting more of your marketing budget to influencers than retail training? You might want to think again. Landing International founder Sarah Chung sat down with BeautyMatter founder Kelly Kovack, Cos Bar CEO Oliver Garfield, BeautyStat co-founder Paul Wahlgren, and Rare Beauty Brands CEO Chris Hobson to discuss the critical importance of retail training and what brands can do to ensure their training program leads to meaningful in-store sell-through.
Throughout the hour-long conversation, our experts emphasized that retail beauty advisors represent an essential link to consumers. And yet, as Ms. Kovack put it, “we spend millions of dollars on beauty influencers but forget about the people in stores.” So how should brands shift their thinking? Read on for five must-have learnings from these thought leaders.
Gratis Creates Authentic Enthusiasm For Your Brand
Sending free products to beauty advisors can be a large investment for emerging brands, but our experts agreed that it’s essential. According to our survey of beauty advisors at Ulta and JCPenney, sharing their personal experience with a product is the top way that BAs convince customers to purchase. And yet, most beauty advisors won’t try your product unless they are given it for free.
As Mr. Wahlgren emphasized, gratis is the number one way that you can give beauty advisors confidence to recommend your brand on the sales floor. When they can speak from their authentic experience with a product, beauty advisors are more confident in their pitch–that confidence leads to sales. Mr. Garfield added that customers come into stores “looking for authenticity and a real interaction that feels human to human and doesn’t feel scripted.” But don’t make the mistake of sending samples or travel-sized products. Our experts stressed that full-sized products are the only way to go, noting that brands wouldn’t send samples to influencers so they shouldn’t skimp on packages sent to beauty advisors.
Help Beauty Advisors Cut Through Noise By Keeping It Simple
While today’s beauty consumers are more informed than ever, they are also being constantly bombarded with new brands, products and information on social media. As Mr. Wahlgren highlighted in the webinar, beauty advisors help customers cut through this clutter and make purchasing decisions they can feel confident in. In order to deliver on this essential function, beauty advisors must be able to clearly and succinctly communicate product benefits. Ms. Chung reiterated this learning, citing our survey that showed that training information must be convenient and digestible. As Ms. Chung put it, “the big mistake is going in with a beautiful brand presentation that goes too deep…they need actionable, bite-sized tips.”
Building Relationships Requires Repetition & Persistence
When it comes to building a smart training strategy, Mr. Garfield emphasized the importance of repetition. “No one becomes an expert from doing something the first time,” he said. “You can’t have one first date and that’s it.” Mr. Hobson noted that his brands have seen the benefits of drop-in store visits in addition to more formal training sessions. Sending trainers to drop in on stores results in a huge spike in sales–but drop-ins must be consistent in order for those results to last. But when questioned about the challenge of consistency, our experts agreed it can be tough for emerging brands: sending trainers into stores often enough can be very costly.
The Quality of Your Training Is More Important Than the Quantity
When asked about the question of cost for smaller brands, our experts recognized that quality is much more important than quantity. Mr. Garfield noted that his staff at Co sBar has seen that “the quality of an in-house trainer is often much higher than a freelancer. That comes through.” Our experts admitted that sending higher-quality trainers to fewer stores or focusing on repeat training at high-impact stores may be a smarter strategy for brands that can’t support nationwide sales teams or visits to every single sales door.
Use Technology To Make Smarter Decisions
As Landing celebrates the launch of its new training app, BeautyFluent, our experts noted that technology represents an enormous opportunity for emerging brands to uplevel their training strategy. As a retailer, Mr. Garfield drew parallels to his own adoption of customer service technology, noting that brands have the opportunity to “use your data to make better decisions and smarter choices that will serve the customer better.” Mr. Wahlgren and Mr. Hobson expressed optimism about the role that technology like BeautyFluent will play in the next era of retail training where innovation has been historically low.
Want to learn more from our experts? Click here to watch the full webinar.
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