For SalonCentric, a subsidiary of L’Oreal, the business of distributing salon professional products to beauty professionals is deeply rooted in personal connections. Across much of the Midwest, sales representatives for State|RDA, SalonCentric’s subdistribution channel, go out on the road to meet with stylists to fill orders and provide information on new products and continuing education opportunities.
There are over 90 individually owned retail State|RDA stores, with sales reps putting in hundreds of miles of travel to serve as a vital lifeline to their customers. But many of those reps were still running their business off of paper binders. SalonCentric’s two-person digital team aimed to build a new omnichannel strategy that could serve all their State|RDA stores and strengthen personal relationships with customers.
SalonCentric teamed up with Rightpoint to tackle the challenges necessary to meet that goal. The local knowledge and deep customer relationships that make State|RDA successful also made the job of building out a B2B e-commerce platform more complex. Each individual store has its own inventory and a defined territory, and each would need its own storefront. Sales reps and customers would need to have different account permissions, and the platform would need to calculate buyer- and product-specific tax rates. And many customer salons were in rural areas with unreliable internet access.
But the move to a digital platform was a must — not just to improve the day-to-day customer experience, but to establish SalonCentric and State|RDA as modern partners for the digital age.