With many suites and studios coming out of months of shutdown, and growing numbers having to close again, ensuring the economic survival of your beauty business is no doubt top of mind. One of the ways in which many are trying to mitigate losses and stay afloat is through retail. But what does retail in a suite look like in this new normal? And what new strategies can you put into practice to increase your retail? Pravana Artistic Regional Educator & Mentor Tim “Bo” Mack (@timboplease), Mizani Artist Tatiana Ramos (@t_wildflower), Salon Republic Founder and CEO Eric Taylor (@loveerictaylor) and Salons by JC CEO Steve Griffey share their expert advice.
Source: Courtesy of Tim “Bo” Mack
What does retail in a suite look like in this new normal as compared to pre-COVID?
Tim “Bo” Mack: Retail in a suite definitely looks different in this new normal. Due to space limitations, we used to operate under the mentality that we should be a more service-driven business rather than a retail-driven one. Because of this, retail sales took a lower priority position in our businesses for us to put more time into our services. With COVID-19, many states have chosen to modify the salon experience by limiting service times, number of guests in our studios, and increasing safety and sanitation measures. These measures have also cut into our service times making it challenging to see a large number of guests. To supplement that extra income, we have found that we need to focus more energy and time on increasing retail which is something that has always been there.
Source: Courtesy of Eric Taylor
What new strategies are recommended for generating additional revenue, selling, inventory, display, pricing, etc.?
Eric Taylor: Set up pre-payment on services. A lot of your clients love you, they want to support you and they’re willing to pre-pay you and give you a big upfront amount to work off over the next 12 months or so. An easy way to do this is through digital gift cards. You can also create and sell color kits especially for your gray coverage clients. Consider virtual consultations as well to help your clients with at-home learning on how to do their hair by themselves as many are willing to pay for this service so you should be charging for this. Also, create retail or hair treatments kits for sale. A lot of your clients are willing to buy these from you. You can also join an affiliate program. A lot of the big manufacturers and product brands have created an affiliate program. You sign up for the program, then send the link to your clients through which they can purchase products and you’ll earn a percentage from those transactions.
Any insights or data or insights to share from your suite and/or suite network on how to navigate retail in this current climate?
Steve Griffey: We definitely recommend incentivizing purchase frequency, working your average ticket with service and product sales, and focusing on moving product in and out of your suite. We have several upcoming podcasts and webinars featuring different suite owners, like House of Blondes, talking about business best practices.
Source: Courtesy of Tatiana Ramos
Is there a way for suite owners to future-proof their retailing or business in case of another shutdown situation?
Tatiana Ramos: The one thing I would suggest to suite owners that really helped me during this time is to save at least 30-40% of your weekly revenue. Also, charging accordingly is key. A lot of stylists are probably discounting their services upon opening and that is the biggest mistake. Now is when you should be changing your menu, increasing pricing, and adding a PPE service fee. Hairstylists are recession-proof but not pandemic-proof.