Drybar CMO Sarah Hoffmann on experiential retail

Go back a decade, and the idea of a salon that only offers blowouts would seem novel. But with more than 100 locations throughout the United States and Canada, Drybar has made it a thriving and successful model for great customer experiences. On this episode of NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast, Sarah Hoffmann, Drybar’s chief marketing officer, talks about how the company creates memorable experiences that go beyond the salons’ walls.

Drybar is known for creating a luxurious experience. Guests are pampered and given personalized service complete with chick flicks and champagne. In addition to salon services, Drybar sells a popular product line through its locations and other retail partners. But the company recognized an opportunity to use digital tactics to complement in-person experiences and create a deeper relationship with customers.

Drybar's Sarah Hoffmann at NRF podcast recording
Sarah Hoffmann recording podcast

“We had created this amazing experience in our stores, and there was a big opportunity to extend that outside the store, and be part of her life … when she wasn't just already booking her blowout,” says Hoffmann. “Just in the last several months, we’ve had a big focus on connecting with her via mobile, and putting the right tools and technology in place to be able to do that.”

Not only does a mobile app make it easy to book appointments; geolocation technology allows Drybar to notify guests of nearby locations when they’re traveling, as well as follow up with product recommendations from their stylists. Hoffmann describes the approach as treating guests like “BFFs.”

The experience of a Drybar appointment is also something fun and exclusive. In recent years, Drybar has partnered with movie studios to offer free screenings of upcoming movies along with a complimentary blowout. Most recently, the company created a free “BarkBar” for pets in conjunction with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.”

The experiences are fun, extremely popular and reflect a smart partnership. The studios “get the audience, they get the feedback, and our customers get something in return,” Hoffmann says. “It’s a win, win.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about how Drybar extends the VIP treatment to its guests both inside and outside the store.

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