April 2009

Retail Matters

Retail Matters | by Gordon Miller


Learn Retailing from Your Peers

Surveys show time and time again that professional networking is one of the most valued forms of education.

To that end, this article is a collection of thoughts of a group of fellow professionals who are actively networking on NCA’s Facebook Discussion Forum “Retail Matters.”

These are real comments from real professionals with a passion for retail and what it means for the clients, careers and livelihoods. The question we asked was:

To those doing more than 20 percent of your total revenue in retail, what is one thing you know for sure about retailing that can make a difference to others?

Kristi: The key word is CONFIDENCE. You have to show confidence or clients will back away. And yes, you will have those who simply will not buy salon product, but don’t let those people discourage you.

Jacquelyn: With new guests, I always let them know during the consultation I will be recommending products for maintenance. I look for things missing in their current regimen and suggest a product to fill it. If money is an issue I suggest they replace one product at a time.

Donna: It’s all about educating clients and telling your story effectively. If you can show clients the benefits behind a product or treatment that addresses their specific needs and show results, you will increase your retail profits.

Jody: Find a line and company that represents who you are and what your business stands for; learn everything about their products so you can without a doubt prescribe effectively what your guest need. Stand behind your recommendation and make sure the product company stands behind you with education.

Marci: Rotate promotions on a six to eight week basis, and create opportunity for shopping by recommending products for the people around them.

Francie: Make the connection between retail and services. We have a sign that says, “All of our services are guaranteed when the professional products we recommend are used!” It’s that simple! Happy retailing!

Rowena: Stick to features and benefits. All guests need to know is “what is it, how do I use it, and why is it good for me.” Know your lines... read the back of bottles daily. If you have down time, educate yourself instead of warming that oh so comfortable chair in the backroom.

Carla: Take care of male clients and they will be repeat customers for life. Most want to know what they should use for home maintenance and how to use it. They will often purchase two or three of the same product, -- and even stop in between appointments to pick up what they need.

Kristi: Make a serious commitment to retail by trying new products constantly, reviewing what is and is not selling and most of all keeping your retail fresh by providing choices for the clients and keeping shelves stocked and clean.

Sara: Don’t “push” people. Make suggestions based on each clients needs, and if they respond, get more in depth – but if they seem completely uninterested or annoyed, move on as some people are just completely uninterested in buying professional products. Don’t let that get you down. Focus on clients who are interested.

Marci: Don’t wait to talk about product until the end of the service. Communicate before hitting the shampoo bowl about what products will be used during the service and involve them throughout. Show them, tell them, and include them in the experience. And remember, clients WANT PRODUCT. They love them as much as we do – so how do keep forgetting that?

Daniela: Know your stuff! Know what’s in your products, what they can and cannot do. Know why what you recommend is better than Olay or Pantene -- and be specific. The client can read the back of the bottle just as well as you can so you need to provide more information. You will succeed at retailing when YOU are the expert.

When it comes to being the expert in retailing, no one knows it better than those doing it successfully every day in tens of thousands of salons across America.

Remember during these tough economic times, clients will be thinking twice before spending. Savvy retailers will be honing their technical, business and communication skills, increasing their product knowledge, and working harder than ever to insure they deliver amazing service supported by quality products for home care to help make those services last – and keep those clients coming back.

To get in on the conversations on NCA’s Facebook Discussion Board, go to facebook.com and request an invitation to join the National Cosmetology Association group.

Gordon Miller is Executive Director of the National Cosmetology Association (NCA), For information on NCA’s Association’s member benefits and programs, go to www.ncacares.org or call 312-527-6765. For information on NCA’s SalonLife show, August 2-3rd in Chicago, go to www.salon-life.com or call 888-254-9810.