Carol’s Daughter – Declining Sales & The Inevitability of the Digital Pivot

Photo of a Carol's Daughter retail store

In a recent interview with MadameNoire, Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, discussed the business realities of the digital shift in consumer behavior:

We were seeing a decline in our [brick-and-mortar] stores for the past four years….

During that time, Price and her team tried to turn around the decline by redesigning merchandise packaging, experimenting with different store layouts, adding beauty salons to some stores, etc.

But in the end, none of those traditional methods moved the needle toward profitability for the stores as a whole.

And Price, who started the company in her kitchen back in 1993 (before Google and Amazon even existed), found herself having to come to terms with an inevitable realization:

People shop very differently today. Last holiday season, [foot] traffic was down significantly, but Internet sales were up just in general in retail and that was the same thing for us.

We had our best holiday season ever on the Internet, but in our stores the absolute worst holiday season we’ve ever seen.

Four months later, in April 2014, Price shuttered 5 of the company’s 7 retail locations.

Closing down one store, let alone five, and laying off 29 dedicated employees would be tough for any entrepreneur. And Price was no less immune to the feelings of guilt and failure.

But she knew it was necessary for the solvency and growth of her company in the digital age we now live – and shop – in.

Embracing the Inevitable

It will be interesting to see how the accelerated rate at which more and more consumers are making their purchases online will continue to affect B2C industries across the spectrum.

And how nimbly companies will pivot in response to this rapidly evolving shift.

Screenshot of Best Buy's site unavailable page. Reads: "We're sorry. is currently unavailable. Check back soon."Best Buy & The Black Friday Blackout
Team Best Buy was ill prepared for the inevitable surge in mobile traffic during the biggest cyber shopping weekend of the year.

Nowadays, the battle for market share is being fought in the digital arena and the companies that are proactive and innovative when it comes to eCommerce and digital marketing will be the ones that rise to the top.

And they will be the ones that are ahead of the curve when the next wave of digital evolution hits.

More Pivots on the Horizon

Price’s renewed focus on the brand’s digital strategy will not be the last digital pivot she’ll need to make. There will be many more to come.

I just hope that being under the bureaucracy of a multinational corporation like L’Oréal, which acquired Carol’s Daughter in October, won’t handcuff Price and her team from being more nimble and quick in the future.

And that she will continue to heed her own advice to those who have or will soon find themselves facing the digital inevitable:

Move and focus on what’s making money and try to close and secure what isn’t. We can’t keep something open that’s not working.

Wise words to live by.