There’s a “Wig Road”!
Spacious and Cool, Alabama’s Mammoth Beauty Supply No.3
The BNB coverage team visited the Mammoth Beauty Supply in Montgomery, Alabama, where the third store opened recently.
Alabama has a high proportion of black population and the economy is growing, so it seems like an attractive area to run a beauty supply. However, there are some big beauty chains that have already dominated the market, so opening a store in this area is not an easy task. What is the secret to the mammoth beauty supply that has survived this fierce competition and has increased its stores?
We heard the secret and the truth from president Eddie Cho.
The size of the store, which can be felt from the name ‘Mammoth’; widely designed isles
As soon as we entered the mammoth beauty supply, we felt it was big, wide, and cool. Upon closer inspection, the ceiling was very high and the isle was wide. The high ceiling gives people who enter the room a cool feeling, and the wide isle allows customers to walk freely.
“When I was doing market research in the Alabama area, I decided to go do a larger store. There are many existing chain stores, but the size is small, so there was a limit to the items handled. I wanted to make a difference in that area. After looking for a store size that I wanted for a while, I found this place and signed the contract. To be honest, at first I was worried that I was too hasty in my decision, but as the pandemic started, various things affected as good factors, so I was relieved.”
Basically, the store has a huge area, and President Cho made the interior of Isle spacious too. He explains that there are two reasons.
“The first purpose of the wide isle was for people with disabilities. I haven’t met any here yet, but in store 1 and 2, there were some customers coming in wheelchairs. We designed the isle size so that even guests in a wheelchair can move back and forth comfortably. The second purpose is for the efficiency of movement. Getting items from the storage and placing them is a laborious task that takes a long time for the employees. Product boxes that should be in the storage were brought into the store to increase efficiency. Thanks to this, employees can fill in products that have fallen short right away, and customers can take the products they want.”
Creating a “Wig Road,” a road filled with wigs!
If you go straight to the right from the entrance, you will find an Isle full of wigs. It is the “Wig Road” that Mammoth Beauty is proud of. Both walls of isle are filled with wigs right up to the ceiling. The road feels it will magically seduce customers to buy a wig. Wig mannequins are placed on two floors of the shelves, and at the bottom are the products you can pick up. The products are arranged by color, so it is easy to choose and find.
Most retail stores have wigs in the back. This is for the privacy of the customers when trying on the wigs, and to make the customer move a long distance in the store when buying wigs.
However, Mammoth is the opposite. Since the pandemic, wigs can’t be tried on anyway, so they are placed on the shelf in the front isle with good accessibility. In the back, braids, which are the most popular these days, are on display. Thanks to the structure of this store, it has the professional image of a wig specialty store and at the same time, has taken all the lines of high efficiency. The owner has caught two birds with one stone.
Here, President Eddie Cho’s unique sense of minimal designing came into play.
“If I feel like it’s cluttered, so won’t the customers? If I simplify the store, they will feel like it’s neat and simple too. That’s where I started. I decided after long discussions with a manager who has worked in the beauty industry for a long time. This Wig Isle also emphasizes our store’s unique expertise. It makes customers think, ‘This house is the best for wigs.’ Customers who visit our store can easily find the wig they want and put it in their own cart. In fact, the response from the guests is very good.”
“Customers come to our store for miscellaneous goods.”
If the right section of Mammoth Beauty is loaded with wigs, the left section is loaded with miscellaneous goods. Cho filled an entire wall with shoes, visible right after one enters the store. Under the shoes, clothes, accessories, jewelry, and bags are displayed. The sales strategy of President Eddie Cho is hidden here.
“I really felt that miscellaneous goods are important. The miscellaneous goods themselves don’t make a lot of money, but customers come to the store because of the miscellaneous goods. Customers who come to buy miscellaneous goods buy other items again… This is one factor driving sales. It is said that the general goods market has been going downward due to the internet, but I don’t think so. There are quite a lot of people who like to buy it in person.”
Mammoth Beauty is particularly diverse and unique in its shoe range. It is not an exaggeration to say that they have all the shoes popular among African Americans. There are all kinds of shoes in colors and sizes that black people would prefer, to the extent that one might think this is a shoe store. The expertise of shoes President Cho has, and his efforts to secure the goods, were all used to manage the store.
“I go to the market every week to secure cheap but good-quality products. I go out twice more than other owners. Thanks to that, I sell relatively inexpensive miscellaneous goods that are not in other stores. “Fur sandals” were popular this summer, right? The customer’s response was very good because we have various styles of fur sandals on display. Customers came to buy something else, tried the sandals and fell in love with it, and came again next time because of them.”
Mammoth’s SNS marketing is ‘Facebook Boosting’
Mammoth Beauty, which opened its first store an year ago, has an official Facebook page. It already has 1,000 followers and has become the store’s biggest marketing weapon. New products are promoted, and customers’ honest opinions are reflected in store operations.
“I had some fun with Facebook Boost this year. If you pay some money, Facebook promotes the photos I want to consumers within 15 miles of the neighborhood. I saw this by coincidence and tested this function by promoting wigs, and customers increased. At that time, I was a little surprised by the promotional effect. I’ve been using it often since then.”
The Facebook Boost feature is an advertising method used by quite a few retailers. If you pay a certain fee to Facebook and apply for a feature, you can expose the photos you want to a certain range of consumers even if you don’t have many followers. The advantage is that the method is relatively simple, and the promotion effect is excellent. Eddie Cho said every boost with a mammoth account costs about $300. Depending on the price, you can increase the range and number of impressions.
“You can’t ignore your competing stores, but you shouldn’t care too much either.”
In Alabama’s fierce competition, it would be a lie if there were no sparks flying from competing stores. In fact, the reporters had a hard time visiting Mammoth Beauty. The rival store is located right across the street, making it confusing where the destination is.
President Cho told us that the shop came in shortly after signing the third store contract. President Eddie Cho emphasized the importance of ‘moderation’ in the attitude toward them.
“I’m lying if I say I don’t mind them. They’re right in front of me (laughs). At first, I was really worried about them, but I thought it would be better not to care too much. If I care too much, it becomes impossible to run the store the way I want to run it. They have some advantages; I have other advantages. I have to compete and appeal my own advantages to my customers as much as possible, and I learn a lot in the process.”
President Eddie Cho says he tries to think about the positives in order not to be stressed out.
“If you think about it, it also helps to grow the market ‘pie.’ For example, some of our guest bases come up once on weekends from a distance. I don’t think the reason they come to Montgomery is because of my store only. Some people come and visit our store to buy something over there, and vice versa.”
Hearing the many twists and turns of President Cho’s life, such as having a hard time creating a trade account with a well-known major hair company, BNB thought he was a very progressive person. Cho’s challenge, who runs a store without losing direction amid fierce competition, seems like an endless journey.