There's no doubt about it, retail sales in the salon in recent years have changed. Even five years ago, if you wanted a high end shampoo and conditioner, you had to get it from your stylist. There was no other way.
Now department stores, big beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta are all selling our favorite products. How are we supposed to compete? There is a way and successful stylists are still generating thousands of dollars in retail sales each month.
If you can't beat them, you have to join them. The only way to get your clients to purchase from you instead of from these big box stores is by beating them at their own game. Think about it, why do consumers prefer Ulta or Sephora over you? It's generally because of price, special offers, membership programs and convenience. For the most part, you can beat them in all of those areas, so let's just do it.
I know some of us are saying, "Well, my retail sales are in the tanks, and there's nothing I can do about it." I know tons of really successful stylists who still attribute retail sales to 10% of their bottom line each and every year, and there's no reason why you can't be one of them too.
I want to talk about four reasons why your current retail sales strategy might just suck.
#1- You're talking the client out of the sale. Have you ever said something like, "You don't need any shampoo or conditioner today, right?" or "You're all set for now, right?" or "I think you bought shampoo and conditioner last time. You're good".
Statements like that tell our clients, "Don't buy anything. Put your wallet away. I don't want your money. Don't make a purchase today." When we put those kind of negative ideas in our clients' heads, of course they are not going to purchase, and maybe your client wanted to try something new today, but you just sabotaged the sale. You want to always give your client the opportunity to buy. You never know when they are in the mood.
#2-You don't mention retail sales until the very end. Have you ever been shopping in Bath & Body Works and you go to check out at the end and they say, "And do you want to buy a lotion today? It's buy one get one free." That is an impulse buy type of sales offer and it works statistically 1% of the time. So when you throw in retail as an afterthought, at the very end of the visit, 99% of your clientele will not make a purchase from that. As a consumer, I never say "yes" to a last minute sales pitch. If that is your entire retail sales strategy, that sucks.
#3-You've convinced yourself that you just have that clientele that doesn't happen to want to buy retail. Wrong. There is no way. Every man, woman and child I know buys hair care products, shampoo, conditioner and usually a styling aid too. If they are not buying it from you, they are buying it from somebody else.
Do a lot of people use major retailers now like Ulta and Sephora? Of course they do. Why do they choose to shop there? Because they want discounts and rewards points. So why aren't you offering discounts and rewards points in the salon? It's much more convenient for your client to not have to make an additional stop and get their product from you. Believe it or not, they do want to support your business. So if you are convincing yourself that your clients don't want retail, you are just wrong.
#4-You tell yourself, "Well, sometimes I forget. 50% of the time I talk about retail and then half the time I just forget." No way. That just means you are not organized and you don't have a sales strategy. The most successful stylists I know follow basically the same blueprint every time they do a client. The consultation starts the same, retail comes up at the same points, the close of visit goes the same each and every time. Sounds boring? Maybe. But it provides consistency and it's created a business platform for them with longevity and room to grow. That's what I want for you.
So if you feel like your current retails sales strategy sucks, honestly, most of these bad habits come from fear. Get over the fear. Know that your clients want to buy retail from you. They want to support you. Sell that retail, make that extra 10% and happy business building!