This year, and in fact the next five years, will be of great interest in the beauty industry and will open opportunity for the OTC. The narrative in the ethnic category is dynamic and turbulent with a coordinated effort to remove the ethnic aisle from major retail outlets. This will most certainly make the OTC a valuable partner in the distribution chain.
Manufacturers will look to the OTC to place their products. It will be important to look to upcoming seasons/holidays/yearly happenings and community activities to optimize marketing efforts to drive customers to your store.
Take the time to contact a marketing specialist who will develop a strategy for your store.
You will need to prepare for each season, holiday, etc. It is important to get the manufacturers to partner with you to help promote their products. Find out what marketing programs/efforts they offer to their customers.
Connect with Community
Times are changing quickly and differently than in years past where we were able to determine the trajectory. This is a time where we should be thinking of strategic partnerships to expand business and sell more product.
It will be important for OTCs to become a part of the community they sell product in so to create a “genuine” symbiotic relationship. The OTCs need the customers and the customers need the OTCs. That need will be even more so in the next few years if things remain as they are and shelf space in the large retail chains continues to reduce in size.
OTCs should look to give the impression that they care about the customers. There has been a long standing uncomfortable, almost contentious relationship between the OTC customers and the store owners. By finding ways to emerge your stores into the community in which your store resides, you find a way to bridge the gap and work toward earning loyal customers who are glad to shop in a “neighborhood” store.
Focus on the Time of Year
Have promotions in your store for each holiday or event that is important in your community. Look to bring in activities to draw customers to your store and make sure that your staff is welcoming and knowledgeable about your products.
There are some holidays that are very “hair” oriented for African American women. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve; those are big dress up days and hair and nails are big on the list of “things to do to get ready to go.” Next would be special event days, like school picture day, school dances, proms, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Church Anniversary days.
Having a manufacturer come in and demonstrate how to create a select number of hairstyles by providing a hair clinic would be a great way to find out what your customers are interested in. This is something that you might do a couple of weeks before a holiday or special event to help your customers prepare for their big event.
Give Back Through Sales
Many communities have women’s organizations that host events; there are women’s shelters and children’s homes. You can create a program where, when a customer purchases their hair care needs they can choose products that can be purchased for a reduced price that would be donated to a charitable organization in the community. Homeless shelters, domestic violence women’s shelters and children’s homes are always in need of personal hygiene products, especially hair care. Providing a way for people to offer assistance through a purchase is a great way to bring good publicity to your store.
Consider hiring a reputable marketing professional to assist you in developing a plan for each holiday and event. Include social media in your advertising plan. Marketing, public relations and promotions are going to lead the way to prosperity.