The holidays are a big gift to salons who know how to tap into seasonal spending spikes. Long-term retail success is more than just a one-sale or one-day affair. It’s about setting the tone for the entire holiday season and on. Beyond immediate sales, beauty professionals also need to focus on strategies for customer retention, community engagement and digital relevance. It's not just about the transaction, it's about the interaction. So take some notes or screengrabs, and get ready to unlock your best holiday season yet with these proven strategies designed to boost your bottom line and win clients.
HOLIDAY MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS STRATEGY
“Effective holiday marketing is essential for standing out from the competition, driving new and repeat business, and maximizing revenue during this critical sales period,” says Ameet Kallarackal, CEO of Glammatic Beauty Marketing. “The key to standing out lies in unique, seasonal offerings while keeping your brand image consistent by getting creative and focusing on value, experience, and convenience.”
- Create DIY holiday kits, offering kits for different styles like messy braids, top knots, etc.
- Film short holiday tutorials or styling videos using your products and share on social media.
- Raffle off holiday baskets filled with retail products instead of discounting to encourage email signups.
- Offer free Uber/Lyft codes for clients who book holiday party services over a certain amount.
- Set up a holiday-themed photo booth in your salon, sharing the photos of festive hair and makeup looks your team has done on social media. Boost your holiday-themed social media posts.
- Create gift cards with unique holiday designs. Offer bundles like "Buy $100 card, get $25 free".
- Offer free holiday updo trials—they're a great way to upsell actual event bookings.
- Create VIP holiday hours for your best clients only. It makes them feel valued.
- Partner with local businesses and offer packages/discounts when clients use multiple services like a haircut and blowout package with a nearby makeup studio.
- Offer creative bounce-back incentives to entice clients to return post-holiday. Suggested offers from Rene Furterer below show how the incremental revenue generated can translate to major profits.
For Matrix Global Artistic Director Robert Santana (@RSantana1), "One of the strategies I utilize for reinventing marketing campaigns is to create sensorial experiences when guests arrive like a table set up with products they can touch. We also stage it with holiday props and have a room atomizer to awaken sense of smell. The A Curl Can Dream Oil or Food For Soft burning and scent is amazing." Another strategy to consider is to boost community engagement through collaborative events or charity initiatives that drive foot traffic and enhance your brand image, making you a community staple. You can also lean into local business collaboration by partnering with neighboring businesses to offer packages/discounts when clients use multiple services like a haircut and blowout package with a nearby makeup studio.
Redken Business Artist and former co-owner of a salon for over 20 years, Linda Macchi has tons of insight when it comes to marketing and retail strategy. “Retailing in the salon is a huge opportunity, but many times overlooked. Think out of the box,” says Macchi. “New products always spark interest in clients. Bundle retail with services, and ask clients if they need any gift ideas for family and friends.” Strategies like bundling or offering gift cards can encourage repeat business, turning one-time shoppers into loyal customers.
Michael Cole (@michaelcolemillionairestylist), Founder and President of Salon Development Corporation for over twenty years, works with the top two percent of salon owners, advising them on every part of their business strategy. For the holiday season he tells his clients to use each month to build on the next, "October is sweet, November is a little sweeter, and December is even sweeter." And for this to be successful, social media is the key. You've heard of Millennials and Gen Z, but when it comes to owning a business, he says one of the most important client bases to go after is a new generation called Gen C. "The 'C' stands for 'connected' and this generation is not correlated with any age group. These are people of all ages that are completely connected online," Cole explains. "Being a digital dinosaur is no longer an option for businesses."
HOLIDAY RETAIL STRATEGY
Creating a hassle-free shopping experience is key to holiday online retail success. Holiday shopping can be an overwhelming task for clients so here's your chance to be their guiding star, making their experience smoother and more delightful. Product recommendations are the secret sauce for boosting sales and keeping the brands you love top of mind during the holiday shopping frenzy. For example, sending personalized product recommendations to clients after a service in November so they can look their best at home, or suggesting products that complement your client’s recent services or align with their tastes, allows you to offer them a tailored shopping experience that's hard to resist. Be it skincare goodies, hair essentials, or unique gift ideas, a well-timed recommendation can turn their holiday shopping journey into a joy ride.
And being able to offer an online store makes an easy shopping experience that much more achievable. This is where marketing and eCommerce platforms can power up your retail. SalonInteractive, one such platform, provides free online stores for stylists, salons, barbershops, and spas. You simply set up shop and recommend your favorite products, and then your local distributor fulfills the orders client-direct.
If you already have an online store set up, optimize your shop button presence. It's all about strategic placement—consider sprinkling more shop buttons in key spots. They should be easily accessible on your website, shared on your social media channels, even post QR codes around your beauty space for instant access. These handy links make it a walk in the park for shoppers to explore the products you recommend, and click purchase. And these buttons aren't just conversion boosters, they're the architects of an enjoyable client experience. They streamline the shopping process, reducing the chances of frustration and abandoned carts.
In the salon, while you’re setting the mood by playing instrumental holiday music, offering clients mulled cider or flavored coffees and holiday cookies, remember to deck the halls of your salon with decorated retail tables, retail walls and window displays, being intentional about choosing your decorations carefully. A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 rule: 80% of the total display should be product while 20% can be decorating accessories.
Another important consideration is the placement of your retail offerings. Think beyond your main retail area by utilizing the entire salon, taking into consideration these eight key areas of the salon:
- Reception Desk. The client stops here twice during their visit—when they check in and when they check out. Be sure to display small, lower-cost impulse items to encourage a purchase. Impulse buys can be a significant part of sales, and counter displays are one of the best ways to promote them.
- Stylist Station. Your styling station is where the conversation begins. Set out a simple frame featuring your promotion and include a sample of the item if it’s part of a holiday kit.
- Shampoo Area. This is your experience area. Celebrate each guest.
- Color Area. While mixing your color in front of the client, take the opportunity to educate on and merchandise any take-home color-support products.
- Create special displays that are separate from the retail area.
- Retail/Take-Home Area. Mix promotions in with your open stock items so that the customer can also see what the value-add specials are. Merchandise in categories to make it easy for your client to find what they are looking for.
- Appliance/Tools Area. Similar to at-home color-support products, recommend the best products and tools for clients to maintain their service at-home, teaching them how to properly use them.
- Salon Windows. Salon windows are a billboard for your salon. Give them some TLC as in "Think Like a Client." Visually merchandise your windows (and display tables) keeping these tips in mind:
Create a theme. Whether a season or color, a theme helps unify and speak to your target clientele.
Put in a setting. A beach, a bedroom, a picnic, or other setting helps engage the viewers' imagination.
Find one focal piece that pops. probably a higher price point. Typically one item that’s colorful/has a bold pattern or has a higher price point to attract interest.
Use props to elevate products. A few select pieces you buy or make for your window dressing will help draw attention.
Have multiple layers of height. Propped up products make it easier for the customer to discover various items.
Keep your display at eye level for passersby. View your window display at all angles, including from a passing car.
Limit your palette. Too many patterns on a person are distracting, and so are too many colors in your window.
Use at least three colors. While an all-white window might seem chic to you, it won't draw interest like adding a pop of red or black to your window display design.
Light it like it's a chrome bumper on a classic car. Just like the perfect Instagram shot, lighting makes your products pop and draw interest.
Matrix Artist and Hair Biz salon owner (@hair_biz_salon ) Andrew Ryan Walder (@andrewryanwalder) puts all of these tricks into practice, creating a fun and festive holiday window using Matrix Holiday Kits, props sourced from his local crafts store or 3D-printed, and a healthy measure of cheeky creativity. Check it out here:
All good things must come to an end, and as the hustle of the holiday season slows down, hold an "After the Holidays" Sale or break apart prepack items, adding them to your retail area. This is a great way to move through any leftover holiday promotions. The holiday season may get wild, but with these strategies in your arsenal, you'll be well-prepared to ride the wave of the year's busiest shopping period, and set yourself up for success through the coming year.