From the perspective of sales associates,
Store Improvement Project for Beauty Supply
Many beauty supplies that enjoyed the Covid-19-induced sales boost are now facing the economic downturn, leading to many businesses being listed for sale. A female business owner in her late 50s who recently sold a store in Dallas says, “I’m so fortunate that the Pandemic boost helped me retire earlier than I expected. I look forward to enjoying the rest of my life without worrying about business.” On the other hand, many sales associates are looking for an opportunity to start their own business after years of sales experience in the industry. The demand and supply is increasing simultaneously. A business owner who worked as a sales associate for more than ten years at a hair company in the East says, “I’ve been working as a sales associate for more than ten years and gained some insight to beauty supply business, and the increasing number of business listed for sale gave me an opportunity to buy a business that I had my eyes on for many years at a good price.”
Then, what makes a business a good business to buy? In this article, we will be discussing the perspective of sales associates rather than business experts. Let’s hear out what beauty sales associates say about what makes a good business, what you should consider before buying one, and how to run a successful business after the purchase.
If you’re a potential buyer for a business, what makes a good business? Of course, you would first think of the location, but retail business at a great location is typically expensive. If you want the maximum output from your limited budget, you should consider the following.
First, the location is always the key for a business. Small towns have a better shot at stable flux of income than urban areas, and suburban areas are good afterthoughts. You can sum up in the following order: small town -> suburbs -> urban area. You should also consider the regional characteristics and your own needs such as educational opportunities for your children. However, beauty sales associates say the beauty supplies in the countryside are where the large orders come from. The fluctuation of sales revenue is less severe in small towns, and the lesser competition is also the upside for the businesses. A female beauty supply business owner in Mississippi says, “we are in the countryside of Mississippi, so even during the pandemic we did not experience much revenue drop thanks to the constant demand from the local residents.”
Second, parking lots for a business is a big consideration. You will unlikely find a big parking lot in downtown New York or Chicago, but unless you have a lot of foot traffic, you will be wanting a large parking space for the business. If you don’t have enough parking space, even sales associates hesitate to make a visit.
Third, if you are acquiring a pre-existing business, you want to minimize the period the business remains closed. Unless you will be needing major interior work, your best bet is having no store closure at all. Once your business stays closed for a while, customers would consider it closed for good. There is a story of a business owner in the South who sold a business only after a year from the grand opening. The business experienced delay in interior construction work for obtaining permits and due to shortage in construction material, so the business stayed closed for four months after the transfer of ownership. By the time of grand opening, the regular customers already moved on. For a year, the business struggled, and it was sold for $50,000 after totaling $300,000 investment. Ironically, the new owner from Africa only changed the store signage and started to see the increase of revenue immediately. Mr. Herko from Ethiopia says, “the business looked pretty slow in the beginning, but I thought I could manage for a couple of months because I bought it for a bargain. After about three months, the word of mouth and being the second location for my business together generated synergy, resulting in increase of revenue for the business fortunately.”
As discussed so far, you want to find a store located in the suburbs rather than urban centers and with a large parking lot. Also, minimizing the downtime for the business is the key in acquiring an existing business. The above three advices are based on the perspective of sales associates, so experts in other areas such as real estate agents and business consultants may disagree.
How about running a business afterwards? How can you make a business successful?
One of the characteristics that sales associates agree with a successful business is organization. The better it is organized, the more it makes sales. It is rare, according to sales associates, that a beauty supply with a clean floor and well-organized merchandise is not doing well. Customers will find what they are looking for easily at well-organized stores and have a better shopping experience after all. In contrast, if merchandise is not sufficiently organized, in addition to the store aesthetics, you may make losses in redundant orders. A small business owner in Oklahoma says, “for a clean store, we do cleaning every morning and night, and shipments of goods are unpacked and organized on shelves as soon as possible. Thanks to this effort, the revenue is increasing gradually.”
Secondly, dim interior lighting is a common feature of unsuccessful business. Who would shop for a long time at a dim lighted store? If your business is slow, you should first invest in lighting fixtures. The relationship between lighting and consumer buying behavior are widely studied. Most of the studies focus on the impact of lighting on consumer perception of merchandise and consumer’s interest in order to improve purchase desire with lighting. Also important is the type of lighting for the overall store atmosphere. You can find more information about lighting in the 2021 March issue of BNB Magazine, “Lighting Ideas to Boost Your Sales”.
Lastly, beauty supply business with background music has a tendency to have better performance. When you hear music as soon as you enter a store, it feels more vibrant and energetic. Retail background music is one of the most studied topics in consumer research. Based on a research based on the background music of grocery stores, the average purchase amount at a store with background music, in the amount of $37.70, was higher than without music, $23.90. Commercial music at lower volume made the biggest impact on increase in purchase amount to $48.80, which is almost double of the amount without music, and the next was a slightly louder upbeat music, $41.10. The average stay duration of customers at a store was longer with music, about 26 minutes longer. The commercial music at low volume was also the most effective in making customers stay longer at the store. In sum, you should achieve the best outcome with commercial music at appropriate volume. Also, studies suggest when you have a lot of customers, it is better to have upbeat music while more quiet music should be played when the store is less crowded. However, if you use wrong music not in with the products, service and the store, you might experience side effects. Sometimes, a business owner may choose the music based on their personal preference, even so far as religious music, and it can actually deter some customers from shopping at the store.
In this article, we shared the thoughts of beauty sales associates with extensive industry-specific experience in the field. While it is important to find a successful business to purchase as discussed above, it is even more important for business owners to have persistence and will for achieving a success for the store. Having a clean, well-organized, and bright retail floor with harmonious music will definitely help increase revenue for your business. Wonderful your life!