Bart Foreman, president of Group 3 Marketing
Bart Foreman, president of Group 3 Marketing

There has been much chatter on some of the various electronic media including the SALON TODAY LinkedIn site about slow days. Everyone has the perfect solution, ranging from new product introductions to better stylist training, yet we don’t see these ideas as addressing the issue of slow days. In fact, many of these schemes do little to address the problem and actually cause salon owners to lose sight of the problem.

Slow days, those dead and dreary days when chairs and cash registers are empty, have nothing to do with the quality of your services. They have everything to do with your marketing.

Traditionally, salons have used their midweek slow times to have men’s or senior specials, usually focused on discounts. These discounts have some impact but are getting old and outdated. And clearly, if so many salons are complaining about slow days, the discount model is not the perfect solutions and a new marketing model is needed.

The strategy is two-fold:

FIRST, use this time to bring in NEW CLIENTS to your salon to try your services

SECOND, move a group of current weekend clients that may not be the most profitable to slower days, opening up more high traffic times for additional clients who may be blocked out of appointment times.

Here are some ideas:

Open Up Your Book: Expand what you are doing for current slow day clients like seniors and men. Rather than one day for seniors, why not expand this to three mornings from opening to 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. Many seniors are on fixed incomes and tend to have fixed schedules so give them some flexibility.

Calling All Men: Promote your services to men on slow days. My local salon puts out a sign Mondays through Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. offering men’s haircuts for $20 and funnels these clients to the newer stylists to keep them busy. The owner says men are more loyal and like the extra attention they get on the weekdays.

Experiment with Bundling: After 2:00 p.m., create incentives to pick up some female clients who may be more price-sensitive and try to bundle a service and product together. Rather than discount a haircut by $3 or $5, offer a free bottle of shampoo that may have about the same cost base as your discount. You maintain the same profit margin and increase the value of the experience because the guest walks out with a free bottle of shampoo – a more highly perceived “deal.”

Enrich the Experience: Promote the idea that your weekday services are more relaxed and make them even more enticing by including some simple add-ons to enrich the experience – a hot towel, a neck massage, or for a guy, perhaps a free brow wax. One salon owner says that once a male guest has a brow wax, he’s yours for life.

Make slow days a thing of the past. You’ll increase your revenues, get your younger, newer team members more engaged (and keep them busier) and maybe even open up some prime-time chairs for new guests.


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