Barrie Stephen, owner of four highly successful salons in the Midlands, knows a thing or two about retail. Take-home sales regularly account for up to 40% of the salon group’s turnover, and at the salon in Ashby, Leicestershire, gross retail profit is up nearly 60% on last year.
Here are Barrie’s top tips on how to get the retail X-factor in your salon:
- Don’t use jargon when communicating about retail to staff or clients. Keep it simple. By demystifying the process you will support the philosophy that you, as the hair professional, are the expert. Teach your team to not judge clients by their retail choices, but equip staff with enough positive information that they can pass on to clients to help them make a good decision.
- I say to our stylists, ‘if we took your products away, what would your blow-dry look like?’ Or to put it another way, if you asked your clients to go home and create the look without the right equipment or wet products, how far would they get? There’s no hard sell, it’s about sharing information between stylist and client.
- Incentivise team members to challenge themselves and achieve better targets. Money talks, and if staff know exactly what they need to achieve and what that will mean for their pay packets, it can work wonders. We also try to include team-building incentives and link them to retail. Recently, I set the Ashby team a target (which they smashed) and their reward was an all-expenses paid team night out.
- Monitor results – information is power. Daily, weekly, monthly (and sometimes hourly) updates of where the team are on the retail journey keep everyone informed. It’s important to make this visual. It should be easy to read at a glance – looking at a table of figures can be daunting so keep it fun and simple.
- Link retailing with great customer service – the ultimate shopping experience. Every detail, from the displays and information available to the delivery of advice given by the team, should reflect your luxury salon branding. However brief their visit, every customer must feel at ease, empowered and truly cared for. The only way to beat the internet is to ensure the shopping experience is so satisfying that reduced prices online aren’t the only consideration. Note down the name of all visitors, even non-hair clients, so you can address them by their name in the future and have a recorded profile for each one.
- Take retail out of the salon with events, pop-up salons and PR activity. It’s a great way to engage with the local community and it also reinforces the message that you are a retail service and that they should come to your salon for professional and expert advice. All out-of-salon activity will help to drive up awareness of your retail. Make the conversation about retail second nature with the team – it’s certainly worked for us.