Forecast to Thrive, p. 2

No. 1

Act Fast

News of a big-box store opening in a small store’s sales territory can make even the most courageous small retailer cringe. Yet there are specific advantages a small beauty retailer provides that will never be duplicated by a retail giant.

“The biggest advantage is that we can navigate quickly on things. If there is a new product, idea or initiative, we can make it happen quickly. We don’t have a political chain of commands to go through,” says Costello.

Ricky’s NYC has a reputation for providing hip, sometimes hard-to-find items, says Costello. When a hot new product becomes available, “We can bring it in [within] a matter of weeks or even days. If there is suddenly a big demand for a product, it doesn’t have to go through eight levels of management before it gets into the stores.”

Schaar calls this phenomena “retail rhythms,” and his chain of stores has mastered the art of reacting quickly and implementing a strategy to sell to the latest fads. Retail rhythms can be something as simple as strategically placing designer umbrellas on a rainy day, and as sophisticated as bringing in products based on new celebrity trends or providing do-it-yourself kits in response to the rough economy. “We can launch online keyword ads or in-store merchandising end caps to harness sales trends faster than the big-box stores. Less meetings and approval requirements equal faster retail responses,” comments Schaar.