Sale away!

Michael and Helena Linsky, co-directors of nail and beauty brand Q61, reveal how to retail effectively to boost your bottom line this Christmas…

Christmas is a notoriously lucrative time of year for salons, with column space filling easily and retail far surpassing the rest of the year. With this in mind it can be all too easy for salons to take their eye off their ball when it comes to effective Christmas retail, believing that it is a guarantee, however for salons to effectively maximise Christmas retail, and to lay the foundations for the quieter months that follow, there are a few key rules that salons should stick to.

Q61, the Yorkshire-based nail and beauty brand with deluxe salons in Leeds and Harrogate, reveals the key to effective Christmas retail, and how salons can successfully boost their bottom line this festive season.

Salons are generally very busy over the festive period, so filling appointment columns needn’t be a focus at this time of year. Instead, during the eight weeks before Christmas, salons should be looking to maximise retail sales, in order to both increase their profits over December and to absorb the post-Christmas dips in retail. In order to truly boost your bottom line over this period, a salon’s focus should also be to focus on boosting retention rates – particularly with regards to new clients accumulated over Christmas – and on raising their retail profile, ahead of the quieter New Year months that will inevitably follow.

Retail purchases made over Christmas are often impulse buys, rather than considered purchases, so a salon’s first step to successful Christmas retail is to ensure their visual merchandising is appealing in order to be effective. At this time of year your clients will be looking to make unique purchases, and will want inspiration for original gift ideas, so make sure you give them this.

Gift packages are a great way to sell multiple items of stock, in the exact ready-made gift format that clients often look for. Create striking merchandising displays in-salon to showcase your retail offerings, being sure to keep your retail stock on-brand. Keep displays fresh – switch up your offers and update your merchandise regularly, with pricing clearly labelled and a range of different price points. Remember at this time of year your clients will be buying what they want, rather than what they need, so make your retail ideas as interesting, appealing and tempting as possible.

Gift vouchers for treatments are a great gift and an excellent way to fill column space in the quieter months of January and February. At Q61 we sell treatment gift vouchers throughout the year, but find that they are particularly in demand at this time of year. Vouchers for beauty, spa and nail treatments are a popular gift because they’re thoughtful and personal, and an investment in self-care, which is an increasingly popular commodity. Market your gift packages uniquely – create treatment packages for individuals that are usually difficult to buy for, such as teen nieces or mother-in-laws – and allow clients to put together their own bespoke combination of treatments. Ideally, you should add a redemption date of the end of January or February, to allow the voucher to be redeemed during your quieter period, and remember this is a great opportunity not only to fill your appointments in the New Year, but to welcome potential new and loyal clients.

Providing clever retail solutions is an easy way to drive up sales and increase your bottom line profit, and at this time of year, when gift-buying can become quite a chore, purchasers welcome the extra help. For example, you could create a line of ‘secret Santa’ gifts, comprising generic, yet appealing stock that can be sold at a low price point. When it comes to displays, you could separate stock into recipients, for example, you could create a display of gift ideas directed towards ‘the man/woman in your life’, or ‘your best friend’. Place a basket of inexpensive stocking fillers on your reception desk and tap into the inevitable sense of urgency that takes hold in December, with countdowns to the last shopping day, to encourage last-minute purchases.

At this time of year, most clients are feeling festive and excitable so encourage these positive vibes. Throughout December, offer all clients a complimentary glass of Prosecco or a festive gingerbread latte, served alongside a fresh mince pie or handful of artisan truffles; encourage your clients to try the latest range of festive nail colours and sparkly shades; decorate the salon festively but tastefully and play Christmas music. These little touches will not only help your clients to feel good, it may well reinforce their subliminal desire to shop for Christmas.

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