Meeting shoppers where they are: What I learned at Women in Retail and Total Retail Virtual Exchange

Genesis M Longo

By Génesis Longo

0 min read

Retail Ecommerce Lets Get Personal Bag Woman

On April 29, 2021, I attended the Women in Retail and Total Retail Virtual Exchange. In case you missed it, here are my key takeaways.

Sally Beauty Supply: Pivoting to meet shopper needs.

The company that started in the sixties, known as Sally Beauty Supply, now has more than 3,300 locations. They’ve had to change with the times, but no year accelerated change like 2020. 

Beauty as a form of self-care.

At the start of the pandemic, Sally Beauty pivoted to meet customers where they were. They recognized that beauty is a form of self-care, and in 2020, feeling good was more important than ever

Sally Beauty saw a rise in product demand for nail and hair care. Their shoppers wanted manicures and hair-coloring at home without giving up the quality and creativity they got in salons, so Sally Beauty pivoted to deliver the products and virtual services they needed. Their community platform was key to provide DIY tutorials for shoppers at home. They equipped shoppers with virtual hair-color try-on features on their app. 

Providing choice and comfort for shoppers.

Central to their strategy is customer-centricity.

“We were able to stand up BOPIS very quickly. Our customers could pick things up really quickly. We had deliveries ready within 2 hours of placing their order,” said Maryann Herskowitz, group vice president, merchandising, Sally Beauty Holdings. 

Sally made a way for shoppers to get what they needed, when they needed it, regardless of what was going on with their state restrictions. 

Savage X Fenty: From D2C to omnichannel. 

Every consumer journey is evolving. And according to Christiane Pendarvis, co-president and chief merchandising and design officer at Savage X Fenty, “the future looks savage.”

“This past year has pushed all of us to think creatively about what we are doing,” said Pendarvis.

Embracing an omnichannel strategy.

People want to shop online and in stores. They want quick delivery and returns, and to see the intimate apparel in person, touch the fabric, try it on, etc. 

That’s why Savage X Fenty is moving into brick-and-mortar. This digitally native brand has brick-and-mortar as their next step in adopting an omnichannel approach

“It’s all about servicing the customer whenever and wherever they want,” concluded Pendarvis.

Purple: Wholesale and omnichannel retail strategies.

Purple, at its core, is a new manufacturer of mattresses. Purple launched their brand built around exciting technology: elastic polymers of their own creation.

Adopting a wholesale strategy.

Joe Megibow, CEO of Purple, shared that pre-COVID, 85% of all mattresses were sold through brick and mortar. Shoppers want to touch, feel, and lay on a mattress—it’s not an easy product to take in and out of homes.

Purple saw opening hundreds of more stores as financially risky, so they turned to a wholesale strategy instead. Wholesale presented a novel opportunity to get into thousands of homes, with beds on display where consumers were shopping. 

The overall impact of the pandemic on Purple’s business was positive.

Though a lot of wholesale business disappeared overnight, the pandemic presented a tremendous opportunity for Purple. Before COVID-19, they had built the infrastructure that allowed them to double online traffic and capitalize on new trends. 

As the pandemic moved shoppers online, Purple was ready to go. In a matter of weeks, they refreshed their website, photography, and started hiring the 800 people that joined their team during the pandemic. 

Keeping momentum through an omnichannel approach.

According to Megibow, Purple will keep the momentum going by focusing on building manufacturing capacity, investing in their digital presence, and honing in on omnichannel. 

Purple plans on continuing to develop their omnichannel strategy, with brick-and-mortar stores approaching 35 by the end of the year. Purple also plans on creating their own showroom experience that really brings their brand to life.

Meeting customers where they are. 

Sally Beauty, Savage X Fenty, and Purple all want to be where their customers are. 

A great example of this is Tuft & Needle. The company went from a digitally native, direct-to-consumer business model to an omnichannel approach. 

Watch their story here.

Cx Never Sleeps 2020 Lessons Learned With Tuft Needle


CX never sleeps: 2020 lessons learned with Tuft & Needle


Genesis M Longo

Génesis Longo

Génesis Miranda Longo is the head of industry marketing for retail and consumer goods. A Mexican immigrant and Cornell University grad, Génesis has spent most of her life in food, grocery, and CPG. In recent years, she has worked as a social media creator for well-known brands. Apart from work, Génesis loves cooking spicy food with her husband, increasing diversity in tech and higher education, and spending way too much on her dog, Sunny.