With the benchmark of retail success in this industry hovering around an ambitious 30 percent of total receipts, it takes some effort for a salon to fulfill its retail potential. 

When your business carries a personalized brand, all the general guidelines that govern effective retailing still apply, according to Falina Marihart, a retail specialist with EKO Marketing & Design, which works with Aware Personalized Branding to create customized merchandising and marketing materials that support personalized brands specifically for salons and spas. Marihart identifies 10 principles to follow:

Select products that have quality and value.

There's no faking the formula; you clients will purchase only fairly priced products that do a great job. This where a company like Aware Personalized Branding really stands apart from other manufacturers. Aware has the experience and extensive industry involvement to continually provide the most current product innovations in the industry.

Develop a consistent, coherent brand.

Know who you are! Your brand should identify you and communicate your beliefs about providing salon services. "'Hair by Jan' is not a brand," says Marihart.

Create an attractive logo and appealing product packaging.

If you have a clinically driven medispa, make sure the label looks clean and sleek. If you brand skews more homey/comfy, dress your products to deliver that message. Aware Products provides a diversity of packaging and graphics options to mirror any salon brand. 

Invest in professional photography.

Everything you print up, from window banners to newspaper ads, should communicate your commitment to high quality. "You're competing with store brands," Marihart reminds store owners.

Use only professionally designed marketing materials.

Your business cards, salon menus, direct mail pieces and website represent you to the world. Anything short of top-flight fails to convey how highly you regard your clients and how seriously you take your products and your brand.

Optimize the use of in-store space.

"Make sure you have an adequate amount of signage in your salon," cautions Marihart. "Mix it up with posters, banners, framed signs, window art, mirror clings, mural prints, shelf-talkers, and point-of-purchase displays." At the same time, don't overdo it! "Keep it focused, not cluttered," she adds.

Conduct product knowledge training.

"When it comes to moving product, your stylist must use it, believe it and sell it!" Marihart asserts.

Work your client base. 

"Make sure you have the digital means to reach your clientele," recommends Marihart. The ability to track your clients' purchases will bring you to the next level of retail sophistication, enabling you to employe cost-effective, targeted e-blasts, website promotion and direct mail.

Keep your website updated.

Clients have come to rely on the accuracy of online information. Ideas for regular updating include maintaining a "what's new" section, featuring a "special promotions" page, incorporating a blog or designating an announcements box on your homepage.

Reach out.

Charitable and cultural events, school presentations and business partnerships are just some of the ways to become part of the fabric of your neighborhood. 

Marihart advised salon owners to designate a person who's responsible for coordinating the promotional efforts. "Often, that's the manager, but it can be a stylist who enjoys this," she says. "Where salons sometimes go wrong is that they start doing it piece by piece, using different vendors and lacking any big-picture marketing campaign. There can be a fear that a full campaign will cost a lot of money. But crafting a well-thought-out plan will be more effective and save you money in the end."

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