Olivia Jenkins is a business advisor e-commerce consultant who specialises in female lead businesses across the beauty, fashion and lifestyle sectors. If lockdowns taught Australian salons anything, it’s that a healthy e-commerce presence can protect your business during times of strife. Ahead of the holiday season rush, we spoke to Olivia about why salons need to build their online presence with e-commerce, and how they can make the most of the channel.
Firstly, how important is it for salon businesses to connect with their clients via e-commerce?
It’s critical salon businesses connect with clients via eCommerce. The lockdowns have re-shaped how salons are interacting with clients during these periods and driven owners to explore eCommerce.
With restrictions, coupled with revenue losses from closure periods, it’s more important than ever to create another revenue stream.
Although most salons have now reopened, not every client is ready to come back for treatments. By creating an online store, you’re still able to reach clients not able to visit and encourage online aftercare purchases in between appointments.
Clients are now shopping online more than ever before, so why not be a trusted destination for them for purchases? Most are happy to support locals.
If a salon doesn’t have an e-commerce business yet, how should they go about launching one?
- Build a website to sell your products. Firstly, the easiest and best platform to explore is Shopify. Shopify is incredibly user friendly and most salon owners can build their first website completely independently OR with a small investment from a trusted website developer. It also has fantastic integration options and an in-built POS system which can power in-salon purchases.
- Setup email marketing automations to capture more sales. Explore an email marketing platform like Klaviyo to setup automations for your customers such as abandoned carts to capture anyone who’s not checked out when starting an order, customer thank you emails and win-back campaigns to re-engage customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while.
- Invest a small budget towards Facebook ads. This will supercharge reach in the local area. This can be relatively low cost, especially if you are only advertising in your locally and will allow you to target customers who were recently on the website or those who abandoned carts.
- Be active on social media. Engaging with salon clients is a really important part of the process and helps to bridge the gap between social media and your website. The goal is to entice customers who are visiting you on social media, to end up on the website to purchase. Always stay active on social media promoting your products and services.
- Let your salon personality shine. You don’t have to be constantly “selling” to your customers. Aim to connect and let your brand personality shine through. I encourage clients to have conversations online with customers the same way they would be having them in-salon. Use the same language and tone of voice through all your communications including emails, social captions etc.
For businesses with an e-commerce site, what are some key steps they should be taking to prepare for the holiday rush?
Start working on your holiday campaigns early to capture early shoppers for Christmas. Run a competition in-salon and through social media to capture as many email addresses as possible ahead of bigger sales.
That way, when Black Friday on November 26 comes around – you have a healthy database to launch your offers to. Activate holidays campaigns across as many touchpoints as possible and use the same creative for consistent delivery.
Use email marketing, SMS, Instagram feed post, Instagram story, Facebook post and in-salon signage to deliver offers and note which platforms were successful.
Review your website for improvement. Look at store hierarchy, what you’re featuring where on the site, image clarity, checking product descriptions to make sure they are enticing and always test the checkout process.
Australian businesses emerging from a lockdown are experiencing challenges with supply and demand. How should businesses avoid overpromising and under-delivering?
The best advice is to avoid doing pre-orders for stock that may arrive late or potentially not at all! I’ve seen this go wrong for many brands due to issues outside of their control.
Be organised and order stock early from suppliers you know sell well during the festive season. Get them out in-salon early and display well with clear pricing and the values of each.
From an online perspective, be active on social media by promoting offers you have in store and letting customers know there is limited stock available. This creates urgency and scarcity for customers to take action quickly.
Schedule time during the week, perhaps before or after the salon closes to pack orders from that day or the night before and get to the post office regularly. Providing you do your best to dispatch orders quickly, it is up to the freight carriers to deliver from there.
Brands also find success in providing customers with tracking numbers so they are able to track the delivery from dispatch to delivery.
Another safety net is advertising on your website that freight carriers are overwhelmed due to increased demand and there may be delays. This is entirely separate to dispatch delays so keep stock on hand under control AND dispatching orders within 24 hours of receiving orders.
Do you have any other tips you think would be relevant to Australian salon businesses?
Document, don’t create! Many salons struggle with digital marketing and being active online. Don’t overcomplicate things and feel like you’re stuck in the never-ending pursuit of more content. Document your days in the salon, share things with your customers and don’t worry about things being perfect!
Done is always better than perfect and will help your clients to have a more seamless experience between in-salon and online.
Want to get in touch with Olivia? You can reach her at Olivia Jenkins Consulting.
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