John Harms on Selling Retail

It’s no secret that selling retail is one of the biggest pain points in our industry. How do you get clients to spend more money at your salon or spa without sounding too salesy? It’s all about strategy, and luckily, there are several things you can implement to keep products moving off your shelves without upsetting your clients. 

Creating a culture around your retail products turns a transaction into an experience. The moment a retail item transforms into more than an additional cost for your client, you increase the opportunity to sell more product. Educating your team on the benefits and features of every product you offer for purchase is the first step to selling more retail. If your team is confident and knowledgeable, clients will be more inclined to trust product recommendations. Once they know the ins and outs of your inventory, your staff should be trained to incorporate retail into each client's visit seamlessly.

Educating your clients about each product starts with the service providers. Train your team to incorporate dialogue while performing the service that talks to the product in use and the benefits. I highly recommend that your service providers write product recommendations directly on the work ticket throughout the service. From there, the service provider can walk the client to the front desk with the work ticket and the front desk professional can grab the recommended retail items without any verbal communication with the service provider. When a salon or spa initiates a culture around retail along with hand-written recommendations, we’ve seen an increase upwards of 25% in retail purchases. Why? The client trusts the service provider and starting the product conversation at the chair makes a big difference.


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To help solidify the sale, take the time to categorize your products based on your services so you can cater to each client’s visit. Have the recommended product sitting on the retail counter waiting for the client upon check out and use the law of averages to your advantage. One suggested product is easy to decline. However, if clients are presented with three options, they are more likely to commit to at least one.

If you find that clients are not committing to a purchase, consider offering samples. Chances are they will be more inclined to buy the product the next time they come in. Try adding a barcode to your samples so you can track through work tickets when a client takes home suggested products.  On the next visit, follow up to see how they liked it. This not only increases the possibility they will buy the product, but strengthens your client relationship.

With the right training and implementation, your retail regimen can be a source of additional revenue for your business. Incorporating your products into your business culture will help you clients feel less like they are being sold to, and more like they are being taken care of by your team.

About: John Harms, Founder & CEO of Millennium Systems International, creator of Millennium Software, has been designing industry leading salon scheduling software and educating the beauty & wellness industry since 1987. Today Millennium is utilized in thousands of businesses in over 42 countries and operating with approximately 200+ employees worldwide.  Millennium currently runs its corporate headquarters out of New Jersey and its international office is based in the U.K.

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