Sally Beauty Holdings this week announced the appointment of Carrie McDermott as president of its Sally Beauty operations in the U.S. and Canada, effective Aug. 29, according to a company press release.
McDermott spent nine years in roles of increasing responsibility with DSW Inc., where she most recently served as chief operating officer, overseeing brand positioning, media and creative efforts, and customer loyalty touch points, the company said.
Before that, as executive vice president of sales and operations, she was responsible for driving DSW’s omnichannel initiative, launching ship-from-store operations and opening 200 stores. She has also had leadership roles at family-owned specialty retail business Cooper’s Inc., The Gap and Barnes & Noble.
Sally Beauty is poised to make good on some recent efforts to boost its traffic and sales, with third quarter results showing some emerging strength thanks to cost-cutting efforts, a new loyalty program, renewed marketing efforts, merchandising improvements and a pilot in Dallas working with Amazon’s Prime Now program.
Beauty, a category long resistant to e-commerce, has seen a shift in attitudes, driven by demographics and influence via social media, according to a survey from A.T. Kearney of 800 women who have shopped for beauty products online at least once in the past 12 months. In 2015, the industry that built its historic success on providing consumers with the in-store opportunity to touch, smell and sample products saw $6.2 billion, or almost 8% of its sales take place online — a full 1% more than in 2013.
The company is boosting its efforts online, testing new programs aimed at raising awareness of Sally's brand and reaching a new customer base, including that Amazon Prime Now pilot. "There has historically been very little overlap between Amazon Prime Now's and Sally's existing customer bases, and we hope to attract new customers with this model," CEO Chris Brickman told analysts, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. "While the program is still undergoing testing, we plan to work with Amazon to introduce Prime Now to other metropolitan cities, if it proves effective."
Executives also told analysts that social media is now a key part of its marketing efforts, which include events with blogger in major cities to influence the influencers. "[W]e are leveraging the power of DIY social media beauty influencers to share Sally's value proposition and create a low-cost customer acquisition strategy," Brickman said.
GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders deemed the retailer’s progress so far "modest," but said that the company is heading in the right direction.
"[T]he key challenge for Sally is to drive footfall to its stores and traffic to its website to strengthen sales," he said in an email to Retail Dive. "While customer footfall has improved since the early part of the year, we believe there is still more work to do — especially in an environment where drug stores and players like Target are improving their beauty offerings, and where digital is playing more of a role than it once did. It is also the case that some of Sally's stores are in locations which have been on the sharp end of customer traffic erosion, something that is hard to reverse."
Brickman said he believes that the addition of McDermott to the team will be an asset in its ongoing efforts. "Carrie is a high-performance executive with significant retail experience," he said in a statement. "Carrie’s keen understanding of customer engagement and proven track record of building and driving sales in a demanding retail environment will help accelerate our progress in becoming the leading provider of salon-quality products in the retail sector."