A hit sitcom in the 1970s, Sanford and Son depicts the escapades of Fred Sanford and his adult son Lamont. In the opening credits, a sign above the Sanford’s work and home depicts a crucial aspect of the sitcom’s setting. It says: “Sanford and Son Salvage, We Buy and Sell Junk.”
While the characters of this NBC show were not ashamed of their allegiance to the junk business, it is not a status beauty supplies would readily aspire to. Yet, if your store is attempting to offer product that is one-size-fits-all, you may have more in common with the show’s characters than you would care to admit.
“Offering a little bit of product to cater to every conceivable customer is referred to in the industry as the Sanford and Son approach. It never looks good. It’s congested and cluttered. It says ‘low class’ and it is rarely appropriate,” says Giovanni Yarabek, retail-marketing expert and owner of Punch! Agency located in Tampa, Florida. Yarabek adds that this approach might work in only two situations: extremely remote areas where there is only one beauty supply for many miles or in very low-income areas where price is the only deciding factor for purchase.
Since most beauty store owners do not fit the above criteria, product selection must be strategic. There is an art form to choosing product that will profitably move out the door and satisfy the needs of the consumer walking in.
“When you are selling beauty products, you need to ask yourself, what you are really selling? You are probably not selling the cheapest price. You are likely selling the concepts of looking better and/or feeling better. This is what should be conveyed in your inventory,” says Yarabek.
There are many benefits to mastering the art of product selection. Among them, says Yarabek, is the likelihood of increasing sales and receiving a higher return on investment. This is the logical outcome of giving customers what they want and tailoring the shopping experience in such a way that purchase is easy and enjoyable.
To discover the winning mix of inventory, Yarabek argues that store owners must first understand area demographics and alter the store’s persona accordingly. Whether an owner is considering a property or has already invested in property and has established a store, he suggests several trips to the parking area for a demographic tutorial. In a strip mall, this can be done by staking out the adjacent lot; but it is also a necessary exercise for stand-alone shops whose owners can find clues by observing the cars parked on the street or in the parking area of nearby establishments.
[Image: thinkstock.com/iStockphoto collection]