4 simple and effective tips for boosting salon retail sales
In 2020, salon owners had to make a lot of adjustments to how they ran their businesses. Most salons in the U.S. closed temporarily early in the year and then had to face new operational realities with COVID-19 protocols when they re-opened. If you’re a salon owner, you may be happy to turn the page on 2020 and embrace a new year with eyes on a closer-to-normal 2021.
At the same time, no one likes to ‘just survive’ in business, and it’s always a good idea to revisit your marketing strategies to help you thrive. As the year gets into its groove, this is a great time to consider an often-overlooked marketing focus – boosting salon retail sales.
Products only make up between 5 and 25 percent of sales for salons, according to SBDC Net’s 2020 Beauty Salon Industry Overview. However, since these items usually have a high- profit margin they are a hidden opportunity to boost revenues, especially during slow periods.
Here are 4 tips to help you increase your salon retail sales.
1. Get the word out
You can’t sell retail in a salon if people don’t know you have them. We suggest you take a three-pronged approach to increase awareness of products. Think in terms of answering three important questions: What? How? When?
(a) Focus on the right items
Not every item is worth your investment, promotional time, and attention. Put your initial capital and energy into the ones most likely to succeed.
Start with the best sellers: It’s always a great idea to start with products you know your customers will love. And if they’re talking about them online or in your store—that’s all the better. These items should get the attention of sales and promotions.
Stay focused, too. Highlight one line or simply a certain product type, like branded shampoos or hair styling products, for example. Promote percentage discounts, “buy-one-get-one-free” (BOGO) opportunities, or simply spotlight a new, improved product type that works.
Bundle up: As with all types of retailers, product bundles are a popular marketing tool for hair salons as well. You can pair up the cut and style experience with a styling or hair care product line promotion, where a customer gets a discount on the service with a product purchase. Or you can stay item-focused and create a scalp-nourishing shampoo/conditioner combo. If your salon goes beyond hair and offers skincare, nail polish, bath salts, and more that leaves you even more room for bundle creativity.
In-store events: Informative, interactive events (with proper social distancing, or even virtually) can be tremendously popular and a great way for customers to see products in action. Collaborate with a vendor to host a beauty workshop, offer free giveaways at the event, and change up your displays so that the products being showcased at the event are more prominent at checkout, and when customers enter the store to inspire impulse buying.
Remember, it’s not just about the products. Make sure the events are filled with new tips, techniques, and strategies your clients can take away with them.
Advertising your events, products and specials can be done in a number of ways. Most salons have embraced social channels as their main way to get the word out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using social and other online advertising resources.
Your website: Start with your website to offer tutorial videos and content surrounding product benefits. Then you can leverage that content to share on social channels and even your client list for a targeted email campaign.
Get involved with your social media activity: Instagram and Facebook are salon advertising hotspots and are far more than just places to post your latest product or event. Paid video and photo advertising will help you get the word out about great retail items, find new followers, and generate more leads. Google PPC ads are another tool, and professional networks and online forums can also help to build word of mouth about your salon, and the products you carry.
Building that online dialogue with customers about retail products you offer could increase online sales while also engaging with your salon brand to increase the potential for an in-person experience.
One interesting statistic for retailers, in general, is that of the 83% of satisfied customers who say they would recommend a product, only 29% actually do. It’s not that they don’t want to recommend it, but rather, they likely just don’t get around to it. Take note of people in your social circles and forums who share your content or sing the praises of products. These people could be influential, and important targets for future campaigns.
(c) Pay attention to timing
Some products are great to emphasize at certain times of the year. Mark your calendar for common and lesser-known holidays and seasonal opportunities.
Holidays: Holidays are a great chance to highlight products. Promote green products around Earth Day. Create light-hearted St. Patrick’s Day promotions. There are Fourth of July blow-outs, Memorial Day-madness sales, Halloween Spook-taculars, Thanksgiving promotions, Christmas offers, and many more promotional opportunities.
Seasons: The late-year holiday push is, of course, the most popular shopping season, but don’t forget to take advantage of spring too. People are cleaning houses and open to trying new things. It’s a great time to host an event. In the summer, hair color-related products, creams, skin moisturizers, and other fun-in-the-sun promotions can bring a revenue boost. And in the fall, as the weather cools, align products and sales with autumn themes.
2. Amp up your displays
Far too often, retail product displays are tucked away in a salon. Instead, make sure your displays stand out in the right place with the right products and signage. Use Instagram, your website, and other social media, to let others see your colorful display case as well.
Placement: Make sure your display is near the entrance or in a can’t-miss location, like next to mirrors, where customers can have a look over products while they wait. Be creative and add in televisions or informational tablets to educate customers who browse.
Think of color: Understanding color psychology can help. Red, for example, entices and encourages buying. Yellow increases excitement, while green and blue are considered soothing colors. Yes, you want to make sure displays go with your overall décor, but colors that stimulate, whether on signage or the products themselves, can stimulate conversations, which is needed to sell more salon retail products.
Experiment with arrangements: The nice thing about many retail items in a salon is that bottles, jars, and tubes can be arranged neatly. Don’t forget to move products regularly to freshen up your retail displays. You can leave a little space around products or elevate some with risers to emphasize them. And remember, the hot sellers should be at eye level.
Signage: Everything from a large front-window banner down to the tiny shelf-talker has a role in navigating the customer through your salon retail selection. Use acrylic sign holders to hold your vibrant red discount and sale signs, or try pedestal signs to point customers to offers. If your displays are commonly overlooked, signs can help.
Go beyond physical displays: While banners in your salon are important to sell your retail products, they’re not enough. Get an edge over your competitors by prompting your customers to buy products while they’re booking a salon service. With a salon booking software like Appointy, you can add products as add-ons to your services and motivate customers to buy products right when they’re booking. For example, you can add hair products with a haircut, face creams with facials, foot creams with pedicures, and more!
3. Leverage stylist-customer interaction
In a customer’s salon experience, there are several steps where a stylist can initiate the retail sales conversation. Here are a few moments in the client journey when your stylists can suggest or introduce products.
Initial consultation: If the customer is changing hair color or style, it’s a great time to suggest styling or hair care products that can help.
Hair wash: Here, your stylist can talk up why he uses certain products to keep hair healthy.
Style: A customer can keep that great look after he or she leaves with the right products. It’s a great time to suggest that pomade, gel, mousse, or other styling items a stylist is now using and the customer is now seeing in action.
Checkout: The checkout is a great time to act on a customer’s curiosity or suggest other products. Some salons like to use a rule of three sales tactic at the counter. With one product on the counter, it’s 50% more likely a retail item will sell, two products increase the likelihood to 75%, and three bumps the likelihood up to 90%. The law of diminishing returns kicks in at four products, though, where the chances drop to 50%.
Remember—to sell more, educate more: It’s important to make sure your stylists are still driven by creating a positive experience for your salon customers. Your stylist can layer in product suggestions but should avoid being too aggressive with the sale.
4. Coach and motivate your team
Education is key to keeping your teams motivated and sharp when it comes to salon retail sales. Team members should also be rewarded with commissions on retail sales. In order to keep the team customer-focused, make sure the commissions are not a high percentage of an employee’s income. Rewards and commissions should enhance and supplement income, not be the sole financial driver for an employee. That said, here are a few ways you can educate your team on salon retail products and keep up the sales momentum.
(a) Meet regularly
If you have a monthly or biweekly all-hands meeting to discuss business and operational subjects, integrate retail product sales education into these gatherings. Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information or too many products. Highlight the benefits of no more than a few products, or touch on opportunities your team may have in everyday interactions with clients to potentially sell items.
(b) Create friendly sales competitions
You can also initiate monthly or quarterly sales competitions. This is also a great way to get people talking about sales strategies, successes, and sharing information. Use these contests as an opportunity to build camaraderie instead of cut-throat competition, and remind employees that everyone wins with a boost in-salon retail sales.
(c) Reward loyalty
Start a loyalty program so customers feel like they’re getting something for free. You can even reward team members for getting people to sign up. Getting someone to share an email or download an app to earn rewards is a safer ask for those who are more reserved about selling. Once they see customers getting excited about products and freebies, they might feel more comfortable selling.
A salon is a business anchored by the stylist-customer relationship. At the end of the day, if salon retail products enhance that relationship, it’s a win-win for the salon business and the employees. Keep this in mind when you educate your teams on salon retail sales opportunities.
If you keep experimenting with new ideas and strategies to boost your salon retail sales, then there is no reason your business shouldn’t shatter that modest 5% to 25% sales figures.
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
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