How to Improve Retail Product Sales

If you have your own salon business and don't appreciate your suppliers drawing YOUR clients away from you to sell to them directly, you'd be correct to be concerned. They say they're "helping" you to serve your clients, but ultimately, YOUR customer is now on THEIR mailing list and may be exposed to competitor advertising and other services and products that undermines or even hijacks your client relationship. We have a solution - KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS, DON'T MAKE IT EASY FOR ANYONE TO CAPTURE THEM FROM YOU! By controlling where-how-and in what context product offerings are made via your operators and yourself, you keep your hand on the reins.  First, the stats about retail products: 

According to American Salon(c), in an August, 2015 article, retail sales are very important and are typically not more than 10% of sales, but could easily by 20% of sales, if certain practices were followed.  Here's their author's take on it...

"Retail as a percentage of total sales is a dismal 10 percent. That means this industry has not figured out how to encourage the staff to sell or suggest retail. We are working on ways to encourage retail sales in a “fun” social way. There are salon owners I’ve met who realize the importance of retail sales and the way it helps increase bottom line profitability. Many prioritize assignments of new client walk-in appointments based on stylist retail average ticket the month prior. So it you want walk-ins and the best chance of filling your book with clients—you need to consistently sell retail.

"More on Retail: Retail average units per guest are 1.5 units. This means that on average, salons are selling about one-and-a-half products on each client ticket. As a goal, know that there are salons that regularly hit 3.0 units per guest. Nationally, only one in five clients buys retail. By having a focused retail culture and the systems and training needed to maximize sales, many salons get that up to three out of five clients buying retail."

So, no matter your opinion, the stats make improvements a consideration, if not just for the boost in sales, but also for getting more repeat traffic back in the shop. Repeat customers that visit the shop to pick up more retail product are more likely to be loyal, book more services, refer you to others and see you as a supplier as well as a service.  

In an effort to make it attractive for both your customers to purchase and your shop to be better prepared to sell we have a variety of methods that will work for you.

Example Method #1 (For Smaller/Non-Retail, Off-Line Sales)

What it Looks Like - A basic list of products you offer, with professional photos - very important, on a page on your app/website (cross-linked) that you can manage easily without having to program or which can be affordably managed by someone in your organization or your software provider (LocalMobilSalon). The method includes a "product" icon and link on your app/website that is linked directly to a page with the products in drop down lists with notes fields for your customers to fill in as they wish.  

How it Works - There should also be a link/form for contacting you as well as a "click to call during open hours" button. An order goes directly by email to you, your front desk, and/or another chosen party that reviews the email order, who then assembles the products and bags them and contacts the client back to let them know the items are "ready at the desk" and the cost of the items. If the items are out of stock, they are ordered or some other method used to notify the client so the client doesn't make a wasted trip. No client is going to appreciate having their time wasted, and this process eliminates that possibility, prepares the client for being in closer contact with you and, when inventory is not yet present, allows a fast return email to the client, branding you as a service provider in an entire new way.

Features - By building this (customizable) example as described there is no need to set up an ecommerce payment processor, payment portal or worry about shipping, because the goal is too simply notify the client their products are in stock and ready for them. There is no cost for managing the process if you handle it, since we include this catalog/page option in our default program, that also includes sub-categories.

Benefits - This method socializes the clients to encourage them to be in an ongoing dialogue with you and allows you to help them manage even when they are between bookings. It eliminates the need for the client to order online and personalizes the product shopping experience to your salon.  Management is simple and, once set up, needs to be edited only as often as you choose. This method works well and is optimized for viewing on EVERY device and desktop.

Example Method #2 (For Larger Operations)

What it Looks Like - It's called Online Ordering, similar to other platforms that are called ecommerce programs and, in this view, how it appears on a desktop PC. It is designed to allow clients to search for products on their desktop and is optimized to be also be just as simple to use and view on a phone or tablet. This option allows clients to "check" their selections with a box, determine where they are to be delivered locally, has layout options and, like Method #1, does NOT require programming to manage. These systems are free standing, bank encrypted for security (so they are a separate website) but are embedded within your normal website, app or even within your Facebook page. This method is used for everything from pizza to jewelry, and includes customizable delivery distance limits by miles or zip code, minimum orders for delivery, options for delivery charges and pre-payment via an ecommerce payment portal. Also included is a cash option, PayPal, etc. 

How it Works - You purchase the software-as-a-monthly-service (about $90 per month), set up your categories, optional parameters for each product, include notes and an image for each product, bundle products as necessary and customize the platform with built-in advertising sliders, social media links and more. Sales come in a variety (or all of these) methods, whichever you elect to use, by email (free), by text/sms (slight charge), or by an eprinter with the order and details printed to a specific printer/tablet all with a back up automated phone call notifying you of an order.  

Features - You fill the order for delivery (or mail if you choose) and payment is either collected in advance by card, PayPal, etc., or by Cash, depending upon your choice. You have a separate, affordable, efficient and proven non-programming e-commerce platform and can grow your retail business beyond your client list.

Benefits - Now you are an e-store, with the ability to grow your product sales anywhere and everywhere geographically that you choose. You can sell any product, collect monies online with an affordable processing rate (less than 3%) or by cash. Your Facebook page can become an e-catalog and your customers can easily share your product offerings with one another.