Why Leveraging Community Involvement Is Essential For Your Store’s Survival
Beauty supply stores have enjoyed customer loyalty over the years by relying on location, inventory, staff involvement and good service. However, a sudden proliferation of stores began to give consumers more choices. As a result: customer loyalty is no longer as strong as it once was. One of the best ways to avoid this decline is to be active in your community and give back.
Corporate community involvement is on the rise, offering a prime opportunity for OTC retailers to support the people who support them. Consumers appreciate the shops that back the development of the community in which it does business. Research has shown that getting involved makes a measurable impact on the community’s perception of the retailer – in store and out-of-store. In fact, studies have shown marked increases of store loyalty, when that business contributes to local civic and school organizations.
Corporate giving is associated with subsequent sales growth, as well. Approximately 59 percent of Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a corporate-nonprofit partnership. A study also found that 56 percent of Americans will travel an extra 10 minutes out of their way to purchase a product that supports a cause they care about and that 71 percent are willing to pay at least $2.28 more for that product.
Over the last few years, consumer awareness has prompted changes in product formulation, with manufacturers omitting ingredients and including others thought to be healthier for the consumer. Gone are the days when the brand name was the only thing shoppers looked for. Now they read labels on the product packaging for ingredients, safety compliance, philanthropy and ethics. Shoppers are becoming increasingly concerned with where their dollars are being spent. Well-known retailers have removed certain brands from their inventories for this very reason. Businesses that fail to follow suit have suffered a decline in patronage and sales.
Retailers are poised to take advantage of an opportunity that does not exist for other businesses because OTC stores have items that are not often found in big box retail. There is already a necessity to visit a beauty supply store. However, in the areas commonly surrounding these shops, community outreach efforts can result in organic recommendations for consumer interest and loyalty. For example in East Orange, New Jersey, one beauty supply had an annual community picnic and customer appreciation event. That kind of involvement has had a positive impact on customer retention and recruitment. Some Atlanta beauty supply stores are so involved in their community that shoppers outside their area will drive the extra miles, passing closer shops, to frequent the more charitable stores.
Survey after survey points to giving back as a leading indicator for customer loyalty. This is why neighborhood schools proudly use their hallways to display the names of corporations and local merchants who contribute time, computers and athletic equipment. Entire wings of hospitals are named after generous benefactors. And colleges and universities showcase the names of their donors all over their campuses so students won’t forget who invested in their education.
Charitable involvement in the community is the next frontier for OTC businesses. Retail owners should recognize this trend and capture customer loyalty. Predictions are that those who do will enjoy higher customer retention than those who don’t.
Meet Will Williams
Will Williams is currently the director of New Product Development and Education at M&M Products Company, a position he has held for Design Essentials, W& W Pharmaceuticals and Paul Mitchell Systems. As an international educator and Toastmaster, Williams draws on experience as both a Master Barber and Master Stylist, who enjoys public speaking; although, he admits to having the occasional butterflies in the stomach whenever he takes the stage. Learn more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meKgIeUaDCA and follow him on Twitter @masterbarberwms