It’s 2021, the customer has become the brand advocate, who has become the client, who has become the professional, who has become the brand ambassador. The cycle of consumerism has changed vastly in the digital age, and consumers are no longer satisfied with being fed sub-par products at marked up prices. They want professional-quality products and expertise beyond what is already consumable via platforms like Instagram and TikTok. But they also want it all at affordable prices.
Today’s consumer is smart, agile, and aware of his or her options in the marketplace. Adopting a business model that blurs the lines between consumer retail and the wholesale market – which was once reserved for the upper-echelon of professionals in their area of service – is a model that will be seen more and more in the coming years, and it’s not just the consumer who is benefiting.
Many Australian businesses have had to pivot throughout the pandemic, and in turn the consumer meets wholesale model has skyrocketed in the last 18 months. This is a model that AMR Hair & Beauty has been working off for 11 years. When hair salons and beauticians were closed, the consumer retail channel was a lifeline. But it’s also a long-term business strategy designed to build loyalty, trust and synergies between the two audiences.
At the heart of this business model lies the intersection of two loyal customer bases. After all, will the customer still see their hairdresser if they’re able to get salon quality products at home? The trick is to empower the consumer to understand their own wants and needs – when they need help from a professional, what they can do themselves. Our role in the market is not to eliminate the hairdresser or beautician, but to give the consumer more options, and have their service provider be their guide.
An excellent example of this is international social media sensation Brad Mondo. Through entertaining videos, he comments on his followers’ advanced hair colouring attempts. Brad lets non-professionals in on some of the secret tricks of the trade – instructing them to apply dye to their roots last – while spotlighting when to seek professional help. In a similar sense, AMR Hair & Beauty treats its trade audience as influencers by offering professional training, and letting them showcase new products and methods to consumers.
AMR’s original customer base was, and still is, salon hair and beauty professionals. But by building strong relationships with its trade audience, the retailer has also opened the door to a new audience of consumers. Consumers who can access professional-quality products at a great price to use at home, whilst having access to professional advice and services when needed. This is a recipe for trust and loyalty.
The pandemic has been the proof in the pudding for the consumer x wholesale business model, with at-home salon quality hair and beauty products being more in need than ever before. With the opening of three beauty superstores in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, AMR has created another touchpoint to interact with both a trade and consumer audience. Consumers get to touch and feel the products before they take them home and get a better understanding of whether they can attempt the treatment themselves or if they should seek professional help.
Blurring the lines between wholesale and consumer retail might seem like a risky business model, where one audience can cannibalise on the other, but AMR Hair & Beauty is proof that businesses have everything to gain. By treating your trade audience as trusted experts and influencers, and empowering your consumer audience to use professional-quality products at great prices, your business will win everyone’s loyalty. It’s a so-called, win-win situation.
Ammar Issa is founder and CEO of AMR Hair & Beauty.