Come late November, salons are in a frenzy of activity. But if you really want to harness the retail opportunities, you have to start early. By October, you should be prepping promotions and fine-tuning merchandising strategies and decorating ideas.
You’ll want to make sure you’re in full retail mode so you can bank the extra sales dollars to overcome that January slump. Industry statistics say post-Christmas revenues are usually 30 per cent less than those in December. Time to make that cash register chime!
Planning is essential
”Salons have to think of themselves as retail destinations for holiday shopping. You’re actually competing with all the other stores in the mall and in your neighbourhood for that coveted gift dollar,” says Joseph Gossen, education and sales manager for Kevin. Murphy at Quebec distributor Star Bédard.
Mathieu Bouchard, marketing and education manager for Kérastase, recommends rethinking your position in the market. “You have to position your salon as a beauty destination that’s competing with stores like Ogilvy’s—a luxury Montreal retailer—and Holts, particularly if your salon is high end. When you consider the amount of time your client spends in your salon, it can definitely help sales.”
If you really want to entice people to come into your salon for gift shopping, you need to fine-tune your retailing strategy. “All salons should have a retail calendar that covers the entire year,” says Gossen. “And the earlier you start, the better. Plan Christmas promos in October to capitalize on shoppers’ early generosity.” And, in terms of timing, as soon as the Christmas season is over and out, start rolling out your Valentine’s Day promos immediately. Seriously.
“Always have your shelves fully stocked and make sure the products are easy to reach. Nobody’s going to buy a product they can’t access themselves,” warns Gossen. He goes even further by saying that you should maximize all areas of your salon. “Look at your layout and analyze where your clients spend most of their time. You can even promote a hand cream in your bathroom,” he says. And remember retail’s golden rule: eye level is buy level.
In December, make sure you increase your inventory from a 14-day supply to a 21- day supply to guarantee product availability. Remember distributors and sales rep will also be taking time off in December. So make sure you stock up ahead of time!
Spirit of the season
Another way to push sales is through decorations. But remember, it has to reflect your salon’s style and your clientele. “Clean, chic and religiously-neutral is the way to go,” says Gossen.
According to Bouchard, who organized a contest Kerastase ran last year for best salon holiday display, “You need to look at three goals when creating winning holiday merchandising: stimulate sales, recruit new clients and position your salon as an exceptional retail destination.” What’s more, this festive time of the year can also be beneficial for strengthening bonds between staff.
“When creating a holiday display, involve all of your team. The goal is to bring forward a team spirit, which, in turn, will create a positive atmosphere in the salon. And clients are always very receptive to that,” says Bouchard. Result: a winning holiday season for both you and your salon guests!