Did you know that retail is an important source of revenue that can boost your hair care business’s bottom line and can contribute up to 50 percent of revenue? Margins are higher for retail products than they are for salon services, making retail low hanging fruit, especially during slow periods.
As we have seen in the past few years, salons shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, and in some states, multiple times. As salons have opened back up, many salon owners and independent stylists are looking to increase their retail sales to make up for lost revenue. Sounds easier said than done, you may think, but it really is! Here’s the thing—manufacturers create products. A product is just a product until a professional endorses, recommends, and uses it. Guys, we are the magic ingredient! We make products professional.
Think about it this way: People come to a hair salon or barber shop and see their stylist or barber because, well, they want their hair cut and colored, their beard trimmed or shaved, or a wax service. They come to us because we specialize in a niche service they cannot do at home. They trust us to perform a service, and they trust our opinions when it comes to products. It’s the same concept as when we go to the doctor. We see them because we either need treatment, a check-up, or medication because we cannot diagnose and treat ourselves. The client is coming to us (check-up) and taking home product (medication).
A few ways we can increase our bottom line is start with education. You need to know what products you are using, why you are using them, and who they are for. Most importantly, you need to believe those products and the results they can achieve. This also means educating the client. If you recommend a product, the client needs to know how to use it and why it is important for them. A doctor will not recommend the wrong prescription for us, just as we wouldn’t recommend the wrong hair care products for our clients. If you are adding products to the ticket that the client isn’t going to use or need, you risk losing a client or having them leave unhappy with something they wasted their money on.
Be smart about the finite interaction time you have with your clients. This process starts when your client walks in the door. It’s also a part of their overall experience in the salon and with you. For example, during the consultation, if the client is changing their hair color or style, this is an ideal opportunity to suggest a new styling product or color care products to extend their satisfaction with their new style or color. At the shampoo bowl, stylists can introduce hair care products that keep hair and scalp healthy. The end of a cut is a great time to suggest how the client can maintain their look by suggesting pomade, gel, mousse, or other styling items. Finally, at the checkout counter, a simple statement like, “Which one of the products will you be taking home today? I recommend the shampoo, conditioner, and pomade we used today to help you achieve the same look we created today at home.” Remember the “rule of three.” Mentioning a product at least three times during the service and then recommending three products for them to take home. When three products are recommended, the client will be more inclined to buy at least one if not all the products you have suggested.
Engage your salon receptionist. Our receptionists are just as important in making professional products magical as we are. They are there to help sell the product and to validate the education we gave our clients. They will help recommend and reiterate the importance of the product.
Create product displays that will grab their attention. Let’s be honest, how many of our retail products end up collecting dust? They never get rearranged or placed just right to make it appealing to the client. Placing products in locations where clients’ eyes naturally focus, such as near the entrance, next to your station or mirror, or in the waiting area will give ample opportunity for clients to see the product multiple times. A bonus is to have a sample station in the waiting area. Highlight new products or a product of the month for a client to touch, smell, and feel. Keep the displays fresh. Yes, this means taking the time to rearrange and move the products around monthly.
Still don’t think it’s the licensed hair professional who makes the product professional and magical? Think about how miffed you get when you see a product you considered professional end up on a grocery store shelf. We scrutinize the packaging to convince ourselves, “No, no, that’s not really what I use in my salon! That one must be counterfeit, old, compromised ….” Many times, the “professional” products on box-store shelves aren’t even cheaper than what we’re selling them for in the salon. They aren’t even necessarily more convenient for our clients, because our clients are coming into the salon and could easily buy them while they’re there. The real reason we get so worked up is because we feel betrayed by manufacturers who promised exclusivity. Like it or not, you are working as a sales rep to the public for whatever product line you’re selling in your salon. We get angry because it is personally insulting when we see the products we’ve infused value into with our professional recommendations sitting two shelves above a generic soap. Does this sound familiar? It is you, the professional, who makes a product professional.
You are the magic ingredient to a professional product. Your clients come to you for recommendations as part of their service. Don’t drop the ball by shying away from recommending a product for fear of being “salesy.” The box stores down the street won’t shy away from selling your client something. You are doing them a service to share your professional knowledge and ensure they get a product that will actually benefit them. Be the magical ingredient!
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