Over 90% of all hair products bought in the UK are bought over the counter on the high street, with Tesco recently being voted “Best haircare retailer” in the “Hair magazine awards 2007” meaning most salons are losing out on a MASSIVE amount of extra revenue. In other countries like Australia, for example, the vast majority of hair products are actually bought in-salon due to stylist and client education and stylists being seen as the hair care experts that they are. In the UK, however, while a client will trust you with their cut and colour, their preferred expert in home care products is still the high street retailer and chemist. This is like hiring a personal trainer to help you lose weight and then ignoring the nutritional advice they give and simply buying what you deem “healthy” from the supermarket.
So why is this? The 2 most common reasons given for not trying to retail are:
1: We’re hairdressers, not sales people.
2: My clients don’t want to feel pressured.
These are not reasons, they’re excuses and here’s why:
1: You ARE sales people. Every day you sell your skills and knowledge to your clients and prospective clients and this is why they trust you, because you know what you’re doing. YOU are the trained expert and part of your job is to know what the client should be using on their hair.
2: If it’s done properly, it’s not hard sell it’s heart sell. If you think your client should have a few inches cut off and some highlights put in, would you say to them “I want to chop a couple of inches off and give you some highlights”? No, it’s too abrupt and would probably scare your client away. But if you said, “I really think that we should take a little length around here, bring it in around your face, which would really compliment your face shape, and add a few highlights to give your overall colour some definition”. Don’t you think that sounds much more appealing? Give your client a reason for wanting what you suggest and they will want it. The same rule applies to retail products. Listed below are 7 steps than any salon can take to see positive change in their retail sales and an increase in extra revenue.
So here are the seven steps to salon retail heaven:
STEP 1: PRODUCT CHOICE. Find a range of products that YOU believe in. It’s very easy to choose a range that most salons in your area have, under the assumption that if everyone has it it must be good. If you don’t like the look,smell and feel of the products you provide, it will be very difficult to promote them to your clients. It’s essential that you choose products that you truly believe are the best for your clients and, if you plan to provide more than one brand, suit all pockets. Some clients won’t buy high priced products yet some clients won’t buy lower priced products because they see them as “cheap”. Strange, but true.
STEP 2: LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Where you locate your retail products within the salon is essential and can make all the difference. Ideally, they should be at the front of the salon, near the reception and, if possible, on the right hand side. People are naturally inclined to go to the right. If you are limited for space, consider using your window area for retail with labels clearly visible from outside. You can also use point of sale material and special promotions to draw people through your door. This can actually work in your favour as people can clearly see which products you stock and may simply come in to purchase their favourite products.
STEP 3: RELAXED, RESTOCKED, REFRESHED. Many salons have good products on shelves behind the till or locked in glass cabinets. To a client, this says “DO NOT TOUCH”. So what do Tesco do that works so well? Simple. Their retail area is very inviting, clean, with well lit shelves, fully stocked, clearly labelled, with plenty of information and trained advisors at hand to answer any questions and make recommendations. It’s essential that clients can pick up, read and smell your products. Stock should also be moved around every 4 weeks or so to keep the area fresh and draw clients eyes to different products.
STEP 4: LET’S TALK. Imagine watching Gordon Ramsay on TV and, for once, he’s not shouting. In fact, he doesn’t say a word. He prepares his ingredients, mixes them together, cooks, stirs, flips and seasons, until the dish is complete and he presents it to the camera. It looks delicious. But what is it? How did he do it? What did he use and why? How much? For how long? Gordon tells us what he’s cooking, what he’s using, what it does, how much he’s using and how he’s using it and he does this for one simple reason. When Gordon Ramsay cooks, YOU WANT TO COOK. It’s how he sells his books. NO TALK, NO SALE. As you cut and colour your clients hair, you explain what you’re doing and why and so it should be with product use. Every member of staff should be explaining what they’re using, what it does, how much they’re using and how they’re using it. Give your clients the recipe and they will want to cook it themselves at home.
STEP 5: MAKE RETAIL FUN. When I was a child, my Mum made a game of everything. Tidying my room was a game, washing up was a game, mowing the lawn was a game. These where all things I knew I had to do to get my pocket money but my Mum was smart. By making a game of something, even the most mundane tasks aren’t that bad. Every so often, have a retail promotion for a limited period and run a staff game along side it. Take a grid of numbers from 1 to 50, like the game battleships, and every time a staff member retails a product they write their name on a number. Put 5 prizes of different value in 5 envelopes each with a number on it and keep these in your safe. When the grid is full or the promotion has ended, hand out the envelopes to those who’s name is on the corresponding number.
STEP 6: MAKE TRAINING FUN. Retail training doesn’t have to be a drag that no one looks forward to. Play “Who am I?” with retail products. Get 2 teams and as people think they know the product you’re describing, they have to run and get it. The winning team gets some chocolates for each correct answer. Play “Pass the parcel” with a product. When the parcel’s unwrapped, the person has to describe the product and sell it to the team as if they were on a shopping channel. They then get to keep the product or swap it for one they would use at home. Also,make sure your staff are using the products you retail. Don’t just give them a 10% discount on products, give them a monthly allowance. It amazes me the number of staff who still use high street products. If you work for Ford you drive a Ford, if you work for Levi you wear Levi jeans, if you’re a hairdresser YOU DO NOT USE HIGH STREET BRAND PRODUCTS!
STEP 7: MAKE BUYING FUN. Take full advantage of any supplier promotions to boost your retail sales. Clients are more likely to buy if the perceived value of what’s on offer is high. Offer your clients a money back guarantee that they won’t find on the high street. Encourage your clients to get rid of their old products they don’t use any more by offering them a 25% discount on all retail products when they bring in their old products. Constantly think of ways to give your clients the WOW factor! B.O.G.O.F’s, products presented in gift wrapped boxes etc are great ways of boosting retail sales and will encourage your clients to buy more often.
By utilising these 7 steps, any salon can see a noticeable growth in retail sales and, therefore, a growth in extra revenue and should also notice a positive change in the way retailing is perceived by their staff.