Ask Mickey: How Can We Use Personalization to Build Customer Loyalty?

  (PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO)

(PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO)

 

Introducing our new “Ask Mickey” column, featuring expert insights from Mickey Tortorelli, founder of BeauteSchool Inc. Every two weeks, Mickey will answer a question related to excelling in beauty retail—from training and sales to customer service and beyond.

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Question:

How can we use personalization to build customer loyalty?

 

Mickey says:

Today, personalization is king (or queen)! In fact, many consumers consider it one of the most influential factors in determining value for money. Within the beauty industry, women are increasingly knowledgeable about their skin concerns, for instance, and as a result, they seek out tailored solutions to address their specific needs.

In my recent columns, I’ve talked about how millennials and baby boomers shop for beauty differently, but personalization is vital to both demographics. With that in mind, here are three strategies to help you provide all of your customers—regardless of age—with the personalization they want, so you can build your beauty business:

 

1. Personalize Your Service

Customers don’t want a “one size fits all” solution. Rather, they’re looking for services “just right for them.” An individual approach—in your consultations, product recommendations, sampling, eventing and communication style—is what makes their shopping experience personal and makes them feel special.

Remember, millennials seek to build friendships with their beauty advisors through casual interactions, whereas baby boomers expect a level of professionalism and relatability when speaking with BAs, so keep those differences in mind when personalizing your service.

Small gestures such as using business cards, thank you cards, personalized text messages, and recognizing important milestones (like the first day of a new job) will also make your interactions meaningful and memorable. Client files are the most important tool for keeping track of your customers’ preferences. They are invaluable in helping you build personal relationships.

 

2. Personalize Your Products

Many companies are starting to provide the ability to personalize products because they recognize how important it is to customers. Take Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations, for example: the new service enables consumers to customize and mix their own serum. The best beauty advisors know how to recommend and sell the “right” products and provide value—and that gives customers a sense of personalization. It also shows your authenticity and is vital in building trust.

With millennials, their product preferences are often shaped by beauty influencers (think: YouTube gurus). So get familiar with who’s popular now; stay on top of trends and know how to apply them to fit your Gen Y customer’s specific needs. This way, you can make recommendations on the hottest, newest products that speak to them.

Baby boomers, on the other hand, look to beauty advisors to help them discover the most suitable products for them. So know each brand’s key or Top 5 products and share your experiences using them, so your boomer customer can feel confident in your recommendations.

 

3. Personalize Your Samples

Customers love to try before they buy—especially millennials. Giving away samples is a great way to “plant the seed” for future sales, but you need a good strategy to be successful. A consultation is imperative, to ensure you’re offering the most appropriate samples to each customer. That’s personalization!

Follow up with your customer afterwards to ensure the samples truly met their needs. Doing so opens up the opportunity to invite them back into the store to have another consultation or make a purchase.

Cultivating personalized service begins with understanding who your beauty customer is, and focusing on the tactics above. This creates a shopping experience and personal connection your customers will never forget—one that ensures they’ll keep coming back.

 

Mickey Tortorelli, CTDP, is the CEO and founder of BeauteSchool Inc., Canada’s award-winning beauty training resource for industry professionals.