One of the topics I get asked about more often is how to successfully sell retail in the salon.
While many stylists today have convinced themselves that Ulta and Amazon have destroyed their business, some stylists still attribute 20% or more of their annual revenue to retail sales. The income potential is still there, you’ve just got to set yourself up for success.
Just this week I received these questions:
"How many product lines should you carry as a suite renter?"
"People just don't seem to believe what I say about diverted products, and now on top of it, the new Ulta in town is killing our retail business! We are a Redken Elite salon, so we are kind of stuck with a saturated market. Any suggestions on how to beat the conglomerate?"
I’ll be real and say that I have a very specific and strong opinion on what it takes to be successful in retail sales which I cover in Thrivers Society, but there is more than one way to achieve retail success so let's tackle some of the big hurdles:
HOW MANY LINES SHOULD I CARRY:
The rule of thumb will always be less is more. Think about it...would you rather buy from somebody who swears that they carry 10 shampoos that are all amazing or somebody who say that they’ve tried many brands and only carry two options because they truly believe there is nothing better? The stylist who has gone all in on two shampoos within a singular brand will win every time because it shows a true passion and belief in something incredible instead of carrying a plethora of options in hopes of making a sale.
If you’re a studio suite owner, I strongly suggest carrying just one line and a range of 8-15 products within that line. I gave this advice to a studio suite stylist last year and her retail sales doubled, almost tripled within the first 6 months because she narrowed her focus. Just saying.
If you are a salon owner, I can make an argument for carrying a lower end and a higher end line if you have stylists offering services at a range of prices, but never ever offer more than 2 lines. As soon as you go past the rule of 2, the remainder of your lines will struggle and you’ll tie up too much money in the inventory sitting on your shelf.
HOW DO I BEAT THE BIG COMPETITORS LIKE ULTA OR AMAZON:
There are three reasons why a consumer shops at these stores; discounts, rewards and convenience. Soooo, that means all we have to do is play their game and offer the same three things. We can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them so by introducing well structured rewards programs, monthly promotions and a convenient system to be sure they never run out of product, you can easily combat the big chain stores. If you need ideas, be sure to use the search bar in this blog to search “retail” or “rewards” for specific strategies.
Never underestimate the fact that your clients do you love you so if you can meet them halfway by offering them what they’re looking for, they’ll choose you over the big box store every single time.
SHOULD I OFFER DISCOUNTS OR SAMPLES TO STIMULATE SALES:
Abso-freaking-lutely! I always say “let’s give them something to talk about” and by offering promotions and samples you can’t help but create talking points. Wouldn’t it be great if you could say to every guest this month “I don’t know if you’ve heard that all of our shampoo’s are 15% off, it’s a great time to grab a bottle even if you still have some at home”. Easy, quick and takes care of both the pricing and convenience factors that we know our guests value so highly. Imagine that you’ve talked about a killer thermal protectant only for the guest to say “no I think I’m okay with what I have at home”. Instead of responding with “okay let me know if that changes” you can say “I tell you what, I’m sending you home with a sample because I know this will change your life. I’m going to follow up with you next week and if you’re loving it, I’ll set it aside for you for your next visit and offer 10% off your first bottle”. So simple and the guest feels so well cared for.
I always love to give you some real numbers so let’s wrap it up with the real talk. If you are a salon or suite owner selling your own retail with a 100% markup (meaning you charge double what you pay to bring it in), if you sell just $25 in retail each day, working 4 days per week, you’d profit an extra $2,400 this year. If you’re an employee or a renter making a 10% commission on retail sales, you’d make an extra $480. Either way, that’s some real money and I’d take it!
We also can’t forget that retail=retention and there is nothing more precious in our business than a well retained clientele.
Happy retail sales my loves!