The great physical retail decline is here! Increasing number of US stores are shutting shops, declaring bankruptcies or pruning their retail footprint. Giants like Toys R US, have decided to shut shop. JC Penny, Sears, and many others have closed 100's of outlets. The US physical retail is suffering from a huge shift to online purchases as well as the fundamental change in consumer purchase behavior. Today millennials, are purchasing experiences over products and using shared economy over ownership.
What does it mean for Salon Industry? Is it a bad or good news for Salons?
This tectonic shift to "Experience Economy" is a great phenomenon for Salons as they are all about experience, which is repeatable, close to necessary needs and neighborhood drove. While salons & spas have benefited from the emergence of Groupon or other gifting style coupons in the new economy, they have not capitalized on this shift yet. The confluence between the new economy & salons is largely limited to some social media coverage, utilizing Groupon to capture the marginal population or drive category penetration. While the opportunity before salons is immense, they lack the technology touch, knowledge base and tools of the emerging technologies to make the transition. They also need necessary capital to redesign themselves and drive a better share of consumer wallet.
The overall phenomenon of transition is too large to happen in a short period of time, but it is very important for Salons to move towards the right direction and start putting the foundation bricks. Few critical areas to build can be improving customer connect using technology, offering customers new product experiences, helping brands convert their products into experiences, utilize/maximize the value of time spent into salon into educating customers and driving new ideas. At the same time, it is very important for brands to understand that Salons can be few places, where brands can turn themselves into experiences, utilize customer time to understand the full story of the brand and engage with customers in more deeper fashion. The challenges before the salons are lack of exposure to technology, limited income to spend on upgrades, competing priorities for upgrades etc. Some areas where they need to begin are -
1. Embrace technology to build communities and connect with customers
2. Change experience in salons to something which can be shared
3. Identify right partners who can educate salons, hair stylists and bring the technology
4. Choose the right product partners who are not push oriented and convert brands/products into experiences
In my journey in Beauty and Salon Industry as Prarvi (www.prarvi.com), I have developed a deep sense of belonging and understanding of this change. I believe that we are sitting on a cusp of experience revolution and we are the only physical location edifice standing in the huge gigantic wave of online and experiential sales deluge. Salon industry can only benefit, not sink in this new wave if they partner rightly.
If you feel the same, do feel free to write me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org