Management Practices

Back-to-school Retailing

Telma Guzman | July 10, 2011 | 12:31 PM

As the summer wraps up, you’ll soon notice that your August appointments aren’t all booked up. The phones have even stopped ringing, and you find yourself spending more time chatting with your stylists during work hours. Fortunately, you’re not the only one facing slow business because it’s that time of the year again – it’s back-to-school time!

Before some of your clients head back to school, you need to help them get ready for their first day. We spoke to Mary Swank, co-owner of Simply Swank in Hudson, Ohio, about how you can boost your business before classes begin.

Back to school products. As college students go back to school, take the time to educate them during their last few appointments about the products they’ll need while they’re away. Swank says that ‘chemically-dependent teens’ will understand the benefits of stocking up on products like shampoo and conditioner to maintain their hair color. That’s why this year Simply Swank has a buy 2 get 1 free special on liters of shampoo and conditioner. Last year, she says she offered a special that included a shower basket with the purchase of a 3-liter bottle. “It’s nice because it’s something they need to use in the dorm,” Swank says.

Marketing to teens. Swanks says that marketing to females is not as hard as marketing to males. “College girls really want to stock up, so it’s not problem to market to them,” she says. To inform her female clients about products, she says that each of her six styling stations has a flier that explains the benefits of different products.

Marketing to male clients, however, is a challenge, Swank says. The key to working with teen males is to be discreet. “You can’t be too loud or too in-your-face,” she says, adding that she’s met young men who are too shy to ask about services like hair color. In addition, she says that the packaging of men’s products is important to sales. “It’s hard to sell products with feminine packaging for teen men,” Swank says, “If the product has [a picture of] young guys with trendy haircuts then it’s easier to market.”

Service Specials. Swank says she continues to promote pedicures even as the numbers decline with the end of summer. Some of the most popular services for teens include highlights and brow arches. “Tweeners really want a brow arch,” she says, “It does an instant change of face.”

Educating clients. Informing teens about why they need to rebook and how often they should come in is the key to a client’s loyalty. Teen females will often book several appointments for upcoming events like homecoming, Sadie Hawkins dance and school pictures. Swank says that this often leads to booking appointments up to Christmas!

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