Increase Your Profits With Salon Retail
“Retail never calls in sick,” salon owners used to say. While service dollars fluctuate depending on the salon professional’s skill and availability, retail products build salon income just by sitting on a shelf and looking pretty. Or so we thought.
We know now that stylists and technicians have a quite a bit to do with how much retail walks out the door. Educating clients about products and tools used during the service is typically what drives the sale. Still, looking pretty doesn’t hurt. Marlo Beauty Supply helps stylists and salons hit retail goals by offering them products and displays that get noticed, tempt clients and deliver in performance.
“We make it easy with our low minimums, so salons can restock items as they need them,” says Marc Asher, Marlo Beauty Supply’s director of merchandise. “We’re trying to simplify the process. Salons do not have to invest in a full collection of items, so there’s nothing to lose. They can get in on a trend early, sell it, restock and move on to the next trend. The items are competitively priced and provide extra income, so why not carry retail? Our displays also are so easy to purchase.”
The displays tend to hold small items like lip balm, nail colors, hand lotions, tweezers, eyelashes and face masks, Asher explains. They change seasonally, with Halloween a big draw and the winter holidays as the shining star on the calendar. In December, clients not only are laser-focused on their own beauty but also looking for gifts to purchase. Displays help set the mood. Clients can grab a piece from each display to use as stocking stuffers, hand out as Secret Santa surprises or put together in customized gift bags.
“We give salons enough time to prepare before each season,” Asher notes. “For Holiday, we have a lot of lotions centered around the theme and colors. Body Drench does a Lip Bar collection of four lip balms. China Glaze always creates a holiday collection of nail polishes, and this year’s displays still relate after the holidays for salons to keep it up until the polishes sell out. By early March, salon owners can start thinking about the spring displays, and after that the summer collections will roll out.”
Because Marlo Beauty Supply selects items that are always fashion-forward, trends tend to influence sales. For example, Asher reports that Ardell’s Faux Mink lashes made a strong retail showing throughout 2017.
Tools and Brushes
Tools and brushes can really fly off salon shelves, too, particularly in the second half of the year. “For us, back-to-school is a big time for selling curling irons and blow dryers,” says Jeanne McCarthy-Caparso, owner of Bella Toccare de Spa and Salon in Cleveland, Ohio. “Teens often share these tools with their moms. When they leave for college, they need to pack tools of their own.”
Further driving tool purchases are the mini-lessons Bella Toccare stylists give their clients in how to recreate their look at home. “Our stylists show clients how to use our curling irons and how to do a great blowdry,” McCarthy-Caparso says.
Educating the client provides a similar foundation for retailing at the three Minnesota locations of New Reflections Salon.
“We talk about our tools and brushes with every single client,” says Kati Giles, a stylist and educator at New Reflections, where a customer appreciation sale at holiday time boosts end-of-year sales. “It’s my job as the person who does their hair to educate clients on everything that I’m using, from shampoos and conditioners to styling tools. Otherwise they’ll get their information from a friend, an ad in a magazine or some silly thing on the internet. There’s no secret to selling retail products - if I touch it, I talk about it.”
Brushes are a hot item at Bella Toccare as well. “People are always looking for a good brush for their blowouts,” McCarthy-Caparso observes. “When they see the wide selection we have, they realize that having the right brush makes a difference. The displays make it nice, because they’re organized by size.”
For the smaller items, Asher recommends placement at checkout to take advantage of the impulse-buy nature of the sale. Or, set up a retail focus area with testers.
“Marlo offers a lot of brow products like powders and pencils, which we retail with a tester so clients can try out the different colors,” McCarthy-Caparso says. “We invite people to browse through our retail area. A sign promoting ‘Something New’ or ‘New Launch’ is the first thing they see and changes regularly. Displays are what I like the best in retailing. It’s easy to set them up and draw attention to them.”
Both Aveda Focus Salons, Bella Toccare and New Reflections offer incentives for the professionals on staff to sell retail. New Reflection stylists and estheticians receive monthly bonuses when they average at least $10 retail per hour, while at Bella Toccares a weekly retail commission starts at 5% and builds to 20% - the more retail sold, the higher the commission.
McCarthy-Caparso expects Holiday 2017 through the year 2018 to ring up healthy retail receipts. McCarthy-Caparso says, “I’ve noticed that people are spending money again. It’s a good time to retail in the salon.”