How annoyed are guests when stylists try to discuss retail?
The answer might surprise you! In the October 2012 issue of In Style, 66 percent of readers who responded to a survey said they weren’t annoyed. Only 34 percent said they were. Translation: At least two-thirds of customers want to be informed about retail and given options.
Price is not the problem when you participate in a value discussion with customers. Focus on who your target customer is – don’t assume! Ask them about their needs.
Customers make purchases based on emotional reasons, so use key words and phrases that trigger this process: 'life-changing,' 'American ingenuity,' 'you deserve, superior technology,' 'designed for professional use,' 'long-lasting results,' 'user-friendly.' Provide value information on professional retail lines vs. drug store discounts. Be authentic, keep it simple.
At our salon, we’ve increased retail sales by staying true to some key points:
The first-floor retail space in Akari is located in the lobby of a former historic bank building. In addition to hair, nail, makeup and skin-care products, the store sells clothing and accessories, including bags hand-stitched in Maine. Display your commitment to the brands you represent. Start by making your display and counters attractive and keeping them clean; give them the prominence they deserve in your front area. Change and refresh displays frequently. Keep displays well-lighted and make sure you back bar represents all of your retail brands.
Ask reps and vendors for their advice on displays. Use props, stands, posters, banners, flat-screen TVs and match your display to the lines. Keep shelves accessible and provide customers easy access. Make sure displays don’t detract from the product.
Provide brand stories on display counters. Tell clients what your favorites are and why. Place product education and price information on shelves next to the brands. Promote weekly and seasonal products with small displays near your cash register.
Create a yearlong promotion calendar. Work with the seasons, celebrations – be consistent and stay committed. Make sure your entire team is fully committed, educated and confident.
Create a rewards program. Offer samples with a purchase and points for each dollar spent at your establishment to create loyalty to you and the brands.
Promote new brands. Celebrate being the first to introduce a new brand to your market – don’t worry about your local competition.
Work with your staff. Break your team into small groups and ask them about their favorite product, how they came to use it, how often they sell it and the results they’ve seen. Have the team exercise and perceive how a customer sees, feels, hears, smells – notice their first impressions. Perform role-playing exercises.
Stock the back bar. Remove all back bar products from service providers’ stations and have them clearly display only products they’ll use during the service. Ask them to explain to clients why and when to use them.
In short, treat and value your retail just as you would other aspects of your business and profession: Show you care and your team will engage. Make their sales targets achievable and keep the process fun and simple.
Share responsibility in the same way you share success: Be real, original and authentic. Empower, encourage and commit.
If you are truly dedicated to success and acquire the correct tools for your journey, no one will get in your way.
Allan Labos has more than 30 years of beauty and style experience across the country and in Europe. He began his career under the tutelage of Vidal Sassoon in London and opened and managed Sassoon salons and schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. For the past 25 years he has owned and operated Akari, a 20,000-square-foot business in Portland, Maine. Akari offers hair, nail and spa services and also includes a boutique, fitness center and medical spa.