Since a salon derives a significant portion of its revenue through retail sales, careful consideration must be given to the product lines which are offered for sale to the salon’s clientele. Unfortunately, few salon owners give this matter serious thought- even though it’s a decision which can add thousands of dollars to the salon’s bottom line!
In many privately-owned salons, owners have a habit of choosing products they are familiar with, rather than products that will sell. Granted, it is important to be knowledgeable about the products you are selling, but it infinitely more important to retail products which are designed to meet the wants and needs of the client, rather than the wants and needs of the salon owner.
Here are a few tips that will help you choose the ideal line of retail products for your salon.
- Size up the competition. If your salon is located in the vicinity of Regis-owned salons, you will have a difficult time selling brands like Matrix, Paul Mitchell, Sebastian, Redken, or American Crew. A super-sized corporation like Regis has the means to purchase these products in massive quantities, which means that they can sell them to the consumer at a much lower price than a privately-owned salon. Visit the chain and franchise salons in your area and make a note of which brands are being sold as retail, and then choose a retail line which isn’t likely to be sold at cut-rate prices by your competition.
- Choose a product line which complements your salon’s image. A high-end luxury salon which retails lower-priced professional products like Biolage is like a five-star restaurant which has Chef Boyardee canned pasta on the menu. Clients who frequent luxury salons are looking for luxury products, like Rene Furterer, Davines, or Shu Uemura. Remember: You can’t capture the champagne-sipping market by offering cheap beer.
- Consider a different distributor. If there is only one professional beauty distributor in town, there’s a good chance that your competition is also purchasing their products for the same distributor. This means that several local salons will be selling identical products. As a result, you’ll constantly have your eyes on your competition in order to make sure that you are not being undersold by another salon across town. Do you really want to spend your day worrying if Betty Sue’s House of Hair across town is selling the same products at 10% below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price?
- Offer no more than 3 retail lines, otherwise your retail area will look cluttered. You are running a salon, not a flea market. It’s better to have dozens of bottles of one product than to have a few products from a dozen different manufacturers. When a client sees only one retail line, she will think that you really have faith in the products you are selling. On the other hand, if a client sees products from multiple manufacturers, she is likely to believe that you don’t have any faith in the products you are selling. When it comes to retail, don’t try to be everything to every one- leave that unenviable task to places like SmartStyle or Cost Cutters.
- You can target every demographic with only 3 product lines. Manufacturers spend millions of dollars when it comes to market research, so use this research to your benefit. TIGI products are easy to sell to a younger demographic, while Kenra products are easier to sell to an older demographic. A salon which offers both of these product lines will sell more retail than a salon which only offers one. Likewise, it is often a smart idea to offer three different lines in order to appeal to clients of all income levels. For instance, a salon can offer Bumble and bumble or Davines as a high-end line, Aveda or Alterna as medium-end line, and Rusk or Paul Mitchell as a low-end line. It’s important to give your clients options, but not so many options that they will become overwhelmed.
- Consider Private Label Manufacturing. Private label manufacturers (or PLMs) allow salons to create their own exclusive «brand». Owners can purchase professional-quality products in a variety of formulations, and the PLM will use silkscreen printing to apply your salon’s name or logo onto the bottle. Using a PLM has two distinct benefits- it creates customer loyalty (since a client cannot buy your line of products at a rival salon), and it decreases inventory costs because you do not have to purchase through a distributor (cutting out the «middle man»).
By keeping these six tips in mind, you will be able to choose a retail line which offers exclusivity while still catering to clients of every age group and income level. Happy selling!