Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. is an international specialty retailer and distributor of professional beauty supplies. Through its Sally Beauty Supply and Beauty Systems Group (BSG) businesses, the company sells and distributes through 4,500 stores throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe.
Seeking to increase the effectiveness of its field sales staff while helping them present a more professional image, Sally Beauty implemented the MobileIron enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform. Sally Beauty uses MobileIron to let retail and traveling sales staff access product collateral on iPads, recommend and deliver the most helpful apps, empower field sales reps to take orders on iPads, and reduce printing costs.
Freeing sales staff from the dreaded laptop
In the beauty supply business, image may not be everything—but it means a lot. When BSG evaluated the way its laptop-toting direct sales consultants (DSCs) were interacting with clients, the company realized it needed to not only help increase their efficiency, but also enhance the impression they were leaving on salon owners.
“Our DSCs were telling me that by the time they plugged in, booted up, and logged on, they often felt their selling opportunity with a busy salon owner had come and gone,” explains Clay Parker, Mobility Manager, Sally Beauty Holdings. “When we realized that many DSCs actually found it easier to carry around printouts than to pull up brochures on their laptops, we decided it was time to find some way of putting information at their fingertips.”
It wasn’t difficult for Sally Beauty’s IT organization to come up with a viable solution: the iPad. By distributing the device to mobile sales staff as well as in-store employees, the company knew it could boost the effectiveness and image of its customer-facing employees. But first, Sally Beauty needed a way to secure and manage these devices. Parker did his homework before selecting MobileIron.
“I’d heard from my contacts at Gartner that if you try to lock down an iOS device, usability will tank,” says Parker. “MobileIron came with the reputation of respecting the iPad user experience. That means we can let employees use their company-issued devices for business and personal use without letting security get in the way. We also appreciated that we could pay for our MobileIron subscription on our AT&T phone bill. One less thing to think about!”
Security and usability in one platform
In one coordinated rollout, Sally Beauty put secure iPads in the hands of its DSCs. The company is also gradually deploying iPads to its in-store employees to allow them to access a wider range of interactive product information. No matter where employees are, they can simply enter a passcode on their iPad to access resources that make them more effective at selling BSG’s extensive selection of professional lines and proprietary products. Sally Beauty also uses MobileIron to secure a limited number of employee-owned devices on the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms.
“Although our employees mainly deal with beauty product information that’s meant for public consumption, there’s still some data we wouldn’t want to see falling into the wrong hands,” says Parker. “MobileIron is the ideal platform for letting our users do business the way they want while keeping their devices secure. We can even wipe data from a device that’s lost or stolen overseas.”
Powerful apps put sales reps in control
A key plank of Sally Beauty’s mobile strategy is to connect employees with the apps that will keep them productive so that they won’t have to waste hours searching app stores. Using MobileIron Apps@Work, the company has set up a branded app store containing recommended apps for common tasks such as file sharing, bar code scanning, document conversion, video storage, and address lookups. By making frequent use of Box, a secure content sharing platform, Sally Beauty has dramatically streamlined the task of managing and distributing product information from its vendors.
“Box gives us one central location for all of our product content,” Parker explains. “By creating vendor-specific folders and then inviting our vendors to manage their own collateral, we’ve taken the headache out of content management on our end while giving our DSCs the power to find exactly the right materials with a simple search.”
Sally Beauty will also use MobileIron technology to deploy custom-built applications. Its first such app will enable DSCs to take orders from right in a salon. As third-party developers built the app, Parker and his team wondered how they would make it available both on the company’s network and in the field. MobileIron AppConnect solves this challenge.
“We knew we didn’t want to have to go through the hassle of setting up a VPN and educating everyone in how to use it,” says Parker. “With MobileIron AppConnect, we can secure our app using MobileIron technology and then let users hit our servers through a secure tunnel. It’s going to be seamless for them.”
For customers, seeing is believing
As BSG rolls out iPads to its CosmoProf stores, employees can search the same rich product content DSCs are using in the field. How is Sally Beauty Holdings new mobile strategy helping its employees have a greater impact in stores and salons around the world? One retail sales representative reported that after seeing interactive product information on an iPad, her customer not only purchased several items, but also expressed how much she appreciated the “learning environment” the iPad created and the new ideas it gave her for generating business in her salon.
Another retail sales representative recently encountered a customer who was tired of driving 45 minutes to get a particular color line and was looking for a comparable brand she could buy at a nearby shop. The representative used the iPad to show the customer all the benefits of an alternative color line, display a color conversion chart, and show a promotional video. The customer was convinced enough to buy an intro kit from the new color line.
And a DSC recently wrote, “I opened two new accounts today and sold 10 new appliances. Any DSC who doesn’t say the iPad revolutionized their business simply isn't using it!”
“I continue to receive relentlessly positive feedback from the field,” Parker concurs. “Our DSCs say they’re not only making more sales, but also finding that salon owners are taking them a lot more seriously since they’re now doing demos on iPads rather than fumbling with file folders.”
The bottom-line value of going mobile
Having the information they need at their fingertips isn’t just helping Sally Beauty employees look and feel more confident—it’s also boosting the company’s bottom line. By distributing product collateral to 4,000 stores digitally instead of printing and mailing it, Sally Beauty is achieving measurable savings.