Why You Should Be Selling Retail

Why You Should Be Selling Retail

Retail Detail

Most salons and spas sell hair, skin, even lash, brow, and nail care products to their customers. However, there are a handful of beauty businesses that do not stock any products or participate in retail sales at all. If you are one of the minority in the suds-selling business, here are three reasons why selling retail just makes good sense.

The 3X Phenomenon

If you have a new client and you sell them retail during their first appointment, the numbers will tell you that they are three times more likely to return a second time. Also, if you sell a regular customer retail, regularly, they tend to stay your client three times longer. It took years of observation and number-crunching to realize what was happening, and there naturally was some room for fluctuation, but the numbers and the return rates of clients do not lie.

The reason for this 3X phenomenon is pretty apparent. Clients feel that it is part of your job, more so your obligation to recommend how to keep their hair or skin looking good once they’ve stepped out of your salon or spa. For example, if you give a customer highlights and you don’t educate them about the proper home care, they may use the wrong (likely inexpensive drugstore) products. In such a case it would be your fault should their warm highlights turn brassy. Your clients will never blame themselves for their uninformed product choice, but instead will be mad at you, thinking that you did something wrong with their highlights.

Besides, how are your clients supposed to know what to use if you, the hair expert, fail to tell them? The solution is always to recommend home care products to help protect their investment and encourage the best possible hair health. It should be a consideration no matter what service they get but is an absolute must with any chemical procedure of any kind.

And the third and best reason for selling retail? Well, that should be obvious: you can make money. In fact, a salon or solo artist can make close to three times more than what’s possible on most hair services. The margins on retail are that much higher. So, when it comes to selling retail, it really is a no-brainer. You’ve already created the market for products, why not be the one to sell them? Not only is it the best for your customer and their hair, but it also helps keep your clients happy and coming back for more.

Now that you know the value of selling retail, your next step is to decide what to carry. Unless you are planning on offering only one exclusive line for retail, look into a few brands that take care of all needs for your various clients.

Deciding What to Carry

For hair care, you’ll likely want a color line and the aftercare products that go along with it for back bar. Consider carrying retail sizes of the same brand’s shampoos, conditioners, and treatments. Whether it’s the same brand as your color line or not, make sure to carry an array of cleansing, conditioning, and styling products for each type of hair and/or styling need. If one line can’t meet all requirements, carry two or three. It’s also not uncommon to have a smaller line for scalp care, thinning hair or for other special needs.

Skin care is no different, and each facialist may have their own preferred lines. In this case, you may need to carry at least the basics for one to three brands but be sure you have something for almost every skin type and need. Otherwise, clients will go elsewhere, likely online, to buy. The same thing applies to lash, brow, and nail salons. Carry the basics and grow your inventory as you need it.

When it comes to selling retail, you do need to realize that there is a fair amount of investment upfront. Don’t expect products to fly off of your shelves right away but do stick with it and watch for purchasing trends so you can stay on top of your inventory without over-purchasing. You will find as time goes on that specific products will always do well for you while others seem to remain on the shelves seemingly forever. Be savvy enough to know when to cut back and when to load up, possibly even save some money on others.

Distribution Channels

Although some manufacturers handle their own distribution, most hair, skin, and body care lines are sold to salons and spas through professional distribution. A distributor will typically carry a multitude of lines, usually at different price points or to appeal to different markets. The suggestion is to find a distributor with account representatives, also known as Distributor Salon Consultants or DSCs, in your area that carries most if not all of the lines that you like. Most distributors provide personalized service to their customers and offer, if not facilitate, education through the various brands. It’s crucial to find brands with distribution that support their products and the salons and spa that carry them by offering regular education.


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