Karie Bennett, stylist, writer and owner of Atelier SalonSpa and Atelier Studio in San Jose, California
Karie Bennett, stylist, writer and owner of Atelier SalonSpa and Atelier Studio in San Jose, California

Skincare retail sales can really boost your bottom line, but it's area where many salons struggle—even those who excel at retail on the salon side. For this Owner's Forum, I was prompted by a question I received by Don Weisse, who works in national salon development for Aveda. I decided to dig a little deeper into how consumers buy skincare products and exactly what can trigger a purchase:


Dear Karie, 

Why don't salons sell more skincare products? Are salon guests buying skincare retail at the salon? Why don't salons take advantage of the selling opportunity with their guests to sell more skincare? Do you really need a spa or esthetician to sell skincare?

—Don Weisse


Excellent questions, Don. I did a little research on where customers buy skincare products and found some answers. The primary purchase points seem to be department or drug stores, the dermatologist, or from an esthetician at a salon or spa.


What sells skincare is finding a need and filling it, belief in a product, and having a compelling testimonial:


Be a role model.

Salons should be sure their employees have the opportunity to purchase the product at a significant discount so they are using it and can talk about it from their own experience. Would you buy skin care from someone with broken-out skin? Or have a hair service from someone with over-processed, dull hair? You'll need to be an ambassador, a role model for the product you're recommending.

Demonstrate benefits, then sample.

Create a way to demonstrate the product's benefit, like a hand facial, and consider a special offer on the travel-sizes of your skincare, so once the customer has purchased the full sizes, the product can easily be traveled with, encouraging longer-term use.


Make the recommendation.

Home care and maintenance are important to every industry. How will your luxury car run if you fill it with unleaded instead of premium gasoline? Having a dental cleaning every 6 months is great, but what if you didn't brush your teeth daily between dentist visits? If your doctor told you to take a medication to keep your cholesterol down, would you even dream of ignoring his advice? Why then, would we go to the esthetician, tell her that we don't like the clogged pores or fine lines we have, have an effective service, and then ignore her advice to use an exfoliating cleanser or a night cream that targets fine lines and wrinkles once we go home? If we don't get the recommendation, we wouldn't know what to use at home.


Believe in the products.

And what would compel a customer to heed our recommendations? Confidence and a strong belief in the product is key. Salesmanship is important as far as knowing how to talk about the product, but salesmanship without belief doesn't make the impact.


If we don't do our jobs as beauty professionals and recommend home care, the beautiful glowing skin and vibrant, shiny hair that we just created will fade, and the compliments and recommendations from the customer's friends will fade with it.


So the recommendation is also important to keep your client base strong and growing. Now it's not just about the customer's success, it's about our success too!


Recommending home care isn't a separate event. It's a part of the service we offer. And ending the service without it is like shortchanging the customer. She paid for a professional service, which includes how to take care of the hair or skin at home. Isn't it the least we can do to give her our recommendation?

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