The Big Debate: Do Loyalty Cards Work in a Hair Salon?
One salon owner and one director share their views on whether loyalty cards are beneficial for their hair salon businesses.
For loyalty cards
Benjamin Shipman, director, The Hair Movement
“Everybody wants to feel their loyalty is noticed, appreciated and rewarded. The loyalty scheme run by my salon The Hair Movement is multifaceted. There is the traditional point system where guests can claim free services or products. We also use the loyalty scheme to invite guests to additional experiences, like our VIP Coffee Mornings, which are designed to give our guests hair tips whilst further cementing the relationship between our salon-tribe and loyal guests.
For the rewards, guests can choose between a gift product, a complimentary service and for some they can even have an amount taken off their bill. Our staff have a very good commission structure, and by having a wide range of reward options, it works well for both our tribe and guests alike.
I believe having a physical or digital scheme in place is half the win. We provide our guests with branded loyalty key cards. This subliminally ensures that our brand is visible in their daily lives. We also have an app where guests can check their points, book their appointments and look at their purchase history.
Like all aspects of marketing, a loyalty scheme takes real thought and structure. One of the major marketing benefits of a loyalty scheme is that it gives us a genuine reason to communicate with guests between visits. They have signed up to be part of a salon community. These schemes don’t work when they are unstructured, half-hearted and not actually benefitting the guests. There must be a strategic win-win in place for it to have a real impact.”
Against loyalty cards
Kerry Mathers, owner, KJM Salons
“We feel that loyalty cards aren’t for us. We work tirelessly to ensure the service and KJM salon experience is so good that it breeds loyalty with our clients. Our client retention is 89%, so we don’t feel the need to discount our services at this time.
The demographic in our area is high income households who demand excellent service and attention to detail so they are not enticed by long term loyalty/discount schemes.
My staff retention is very high and I feel the continuity and consistency in the team is the best way of keeping loyal clients. I am not convinced that discounting prices and services is enough to keep a client coming back time and again. I think once a client has received a discount for a while they come to expect it and then we’re faced with the dilemma that we can never withdraw it (if the business needed to). I feel it’s a possible downward spiral if not managed well. With loyalty cards I don’t feel the pressure is on the client to spend more money; however I think it does put pressure on the salon and the team who may feel undervalued.
We promote our ‘recommend a friend’ scheme and offer a family/friends group discount. These schemes encourage clients to be our biggest fans and do some marketing for us. Personal recommendations, especially on social media, work well for us and make our clients feel part of the salon family.
The task of keeping clients loyal to the salon is complex and forever evolving, as demands and expectations change, we must listen to our clients and give them what they need.”
This article first appeared in the October issue of Hairdressers Journal.