How to Boost Retail Sales

Seasonal promotions, first time deals and complimentary sample size products.

These are all methods salon owners should be using to boost their retail sales, according to our thought leaders at Professional Beauty’s latest industry round table.

Our nine industry supplier and salon owner experts – including Ultraceuticals’ Karen Wilkin-Donachie, OmniDerm’s Sue Dann, Ultraderm’s Pauline Valle, International Beauty Supplies’ James Carroll, Zing Business Coaching’s Jay Chapman, Beauty On Latrobe’s Clare Lamberth, Sharkra Medi Spa’s Tanya Ahmed, Focus On Skin’s Kellie Cohen and Skinsational’s Sarah Austin – also discussed the ways in which salon owners could best collaborate with a supplier to optimise these opportunities.

Clare said seasonal promotions offered variety to clients, while Jay said it was important to use sampling.

James said he encouraged staff to use and wear the products, while Karen said she was not big on discounting services, but preferred to put value into a customer’s skincare regime.

Pauline stressed the importance of following up customer samples, while Sarah said clients loved to receive a little gift with purchase.

Read their edited responses below or watch the video for the full discussion.

“Clients look forward to variation in the marketing calendar you’re providing in the salon. Whether it’s a seasonal treatment or a seasonal product change it’s really important in this landscape to keep clients entertained. Seasonal promotions offer that entertainment. Samples are also a unique way to engage the client. It’s like you’re saying, ‘I really do care about you, your skin, and your results. Here, please take this with our compliments to go away and try.’ It creates that salon experience for them at home.”

“It’s your job to make recommendations to your client, and if you want to make it more comfortable for yourself and your team to start that conversation, try sampling. It works. It’s been proven for years, and years, and years, and it’s very underestimated. One common excuse or objection I get is that the company doesn’t make samples, or the sample sizes are expensive to purchase. Make your own and get over the cost because it absolutely works. When you give a client a sample that’s specific to their needs, you engage them and educate them. The chance of them coming back and purchasing that product off you is astronomical. If you’re offering a facial service and the client was to buy one or two products, the client could potentially use 10 products. It’s about giving them a sample of the ones they didn’t necessarily buy that day, or that weren’t in their budget to buy that day. But it has to have a correlation between the service you’re offering and the product that could support that to take home.”

“One of the things that both suppliers and owners can do is encourage our staff to use the products and to wear the products. I can’t stress enough, if you wear your Blinc Mascara, or put the new latest nail polish colour on your fingers, when a client comes into the salon, it’s an effective ice breaker. The client probably will ask you a question about it, but also, as the therapist or staff member, you know it feels like.

“Very targeted sampling can work. What I’ve seen work well for a new guest is having a system of products packaged together with some value. This encourages the therapist to feel confident to recommend a full regime, and also encourages the consumer to invest in a full regime because they’re getting some added value. The system packages are good in the retail area when you have a therapist not recommending, and sometimes a very active guest who’s so interested in a regime, even if they weren’t given a recommendation, they’re looking to buy something to take home and use. Ideally it happens more from the point of view that the therapist is recommending the regime. A very targeted sample works. Just throwing samples in a bag doesn’t work at all. You might as well throw them down the drain. I’m not big on discounting services, however, so I would say put the value in a regime, so that they can get the full experience as well.”

“Samples are very, very important. But when you give that sample, you must follow up and see how they like that sample, or else it will fall to the bottom of their bag, get lost, given away, whatever. Keeping track of that sample, because we supply samples that are expensive from the company’s point of view, but they are an extremely valuable tool to be used within the salon and they do work.”

“Clients love to get a little gift with purchase or a little sample to take home, and then they’re remembering the salon. If they try it and like it, they’re going to go back and support the salon they go to.”

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