Tis’ the season

Is your salon ready for Christmas 2021? If not, it will be after this feature which offers expert advice on retailing, gift sets, Christmas temps and lengthening opening hours surrounding the festive period.

With Christmas just around the corner it’s time to get into the groove and accelerate your business strategy in order to take full advantage of one of the busiest times of the year.

Not only are November and December known for being magical months for the hair and beauty industry with consumers keen to ‘wow’ when gifting to friends and relatives, but we also have some making up to do after last year’s monstrosity, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brian ‘Leo’ McCallum is the Owner of ROAR Hair and Beauty and, in his opinion, setting up your festive retailing early is key to making the most of it. By giving your clients enough time to see your offers and consider different gift sets for themselves and their loved ones this increases the chances of purchases and possibly repeat purchases as well: “Communication with your clients about your retail offers can make a world of difference.” Added Brian.

At ROAR, they are doing a Christmas gift raffle to encourage their guests to purchase retail sets. With every purchase they will have the chance to pick out a raffle card which all have different prizes. This ranges from a £5 treatment to a complimentary visit. Brian sees that incentives like this work well to encourage clients to spend and it creates something for them to talk about too: “Word of mouth is one of the best ways to create a buzz around what you’re doing.” He added.

The Christmas period is most likely when your clients will want to explore your retail sets and look at the special offers. However, Simon Hill, Owner of SESH Hairdressing revealed that clients who regularly purchase their haircare products from you would still want to shop for their regular products.

Simon said: “There will still be other clients looking to purchase their wax etc. It’s important to introduce your Christmas gift sets and blend with your core stock. Gift sets offer great value for money and often come with a gift or a tester size of a new product, which is beneficial for your clients. It’s important to communicate with your guests to let them know what’s on offer and what would work best for them.”

In Simon’s expert opinion, in order to make the most of your festive season retailing, your team needs to be fully invested in helping to sell the products and doing their best to share the information with your clients. The sets do offer great value for money so it’s important that your clients are aware of this, as well as any other offers you are running at the same time. Simon recommends putting together bundle deals for different budgets to make the most of retail during November and December.

“Offer an electrical tool with a haircare set for an extravagant gift or a haircare set with a specific hair brush for a smaller gift. Coming up with something a little different can entice your clients to make a purchase. At SESH Hairdressing, we also have a dedicated retail space with a large glass table. The area is inviting for people to browse and isn’t too close to the till that they feel pressured to make a purchased. It’s about creating the best environment for your clients so they feel comfortable and relaxed when browsing your product range.” Simon finished.

During the lead up to Christmas, it is known that people like treating themselves and others (who doesn’t!) so you must ensure you get your products in front of your clients. However, Noel Halligan, co-founder, NOCO Hair wanted to remind us that gift sets are not ornaments, they are there to be sold. He said: “Don’t look upon sales as a bad thing; they benefit the person, it makes them feel good and with added value that’s a great thing.”

Noel revealed that at NOCO Hair they don’t do a lot of discounts when it comes to products because the mark up isn’t there in the first place: “Your sales rep can give you gifts with purchases to help your retail sales. Talk to your sales reps about getting things for free, but don’t worry as remember clients are in the buying mood leading up to Christmas. Recommend products to them, let them see them and smell them and products that are prescriptive will always do well.”

Let’s talk window displays! Some would say they are quite frankly the ‘holy grail’ of the festive period when it comes to retailing, and who doesn’t love putting their creative hat on to really entice those passers-by! An eye-catching display could well be what’s standing between you and a whole new load of clientele.

Robert Kirby, owner of Robert Kirby London sees that the window display is the face of the salon, as it’s the very first impression a client sees. Robert recognises that one of the hardest things to do is to have a salon that is welcoming to everyone; you want to appeal to all.

“We try and make our display brand heavy and we have our own Christmas baubles with our logo on with branded gift boxes that we decorate. Last year we had light up gingerbread houses in our Wimbledon salon and they literally brought people in off the street.” Said Robert.

Robert thinks there are so many opportunities to maximise on sales. One his team have found very successful is introducing a branded gift box service, and if a client buys three products they wrap them in tissue and box them so they can easily be given as a gift. Ticking a gift or person off of your list is extremely rewarding indeed. 

Robert commented: “My biggest problem with Christmas is the amount of gorgeous gifts I receive that I have no use for or don’t get used at all, and everybody loves a hair product for Christmas. In our salon we offer hand-written gift vouchers which can be combined with products and a full gift wrapping service.”

Just touching on post-Christmas, January is usually a tough month so Robert thinks the festive period is a great opportunity to get people back in the salon. At Robert Kirby, they offer a 30% recommend a friend promotion. After the client has visited they then offer the discount back to the client who has recommended them: “We can turn this promotion into a gift voucher and ultimately a very nice Christmas present for the new client. Who doesn’t love the gift of hair, especially this year?” Said Robert.

Many clients will come into the salon for their Christmas hair appointments and will have last minute Christmas gifts they need to buy and by having Christmas gift options in the salon, this is a great way to entice them into buying for their loved ones.

Karen Thomson, Owner of KAM Hair and Body Spa notices from previous experience that having smaller products placed well around the salon, such as at the reception desk, is beneficial to encouraging clients to pick these up for stocking fillers.

Going back to window displays, Karen believes that placement for these are key and that the products are not only eye level, but are showcased in good lighting to entice passers-by to look at the display and want to come in to make a purchase: “Make sure all products have price labels to avoid clients feeling too awkward to come into the salon to ask the cost and to be transparent. Be sure not to make the window display look too cluttered and instead, have things well spaced out with the area looking clean and tidy at all times.” Added Karen.

Salons can make the most of the festive season by bringing into the salon a choice of retail products, however Karen advises on not just hair products, but electricals from brands they work with, and also beauty products and home fragrances. At KAM they work with ghd, whereby they always have a great range of electricals for clients to purchase during the festive season.

With the lead up to December 25th being one of the busiest times of the year for salons across the globe, Christmas temps can be very beneficial to ensure business runs smoothly. One thing to note though is the importance of said temps fitting in with your team dynamic. Karen explained that they must understand how you work in the salon and the way you provide a fantastic customer service to your clients: “Always ensure you recruit the right people for the job, and that they are passionate, motivated and want to deliver a truly incredible customer experience, which is so important during the festive months when you will have more clients coming through the door.”

Chloe Murphy, Owner of Palm Springs Hair and Beauty shared her thoughts on the significance of keeping up to date with current hair and beauty trends this festive season. By doing so you can stock your retail products accordingly: “Most brands offer Christmas gift sets and getting the right ones in based on client demographic and preferences can lead to an abundance of retail sales. It might even be worth sparking up a conversation at an upcoming appointment about the types of products your clients are likely to look for in a gift set.

“I find retailing gift sets at Christmas makes for easier sales. With clients wanting to buy Christmas gifts, lucrative packaging and better offers can entice clients into buying more products than they usually would.” Said Chloe.

As we know, the festive season gives you a chance to really add to the entire salon experience and make your salon a festive destination, where clients can have a pre-Christmas pamper and take care of their holiday shopping too. At Mewies & Co. they stock pre-packed retail sets as well as creating their own festive bundles and boxes, which gives both them and their clients flexibility to create bespoke gifts. The salon also offers a gift wrap service which can all be taken care of whilst the client is in the chair, enjoying their appointment… This will go a long way I’m sure!

We asked Dan Mewies, salon owner at Mewies & Co. and Authentic Beauty Concept New Now Advocate how business owners can know what to look for when retailing gift sets from suppliers over Christmas, e.g. what works best with consumers to which he said: “Analysing previous sales is a great place to start, as you can clearly see what has and has not worked in the past, giving you better understanding and enabling you to make smarter buying choices.”

Dan realises it is also important to understand your clients and what they are likely to be spending their money on, like Chloe said above. It would be pointless to stock premium and expensive gift sets if your clients don’t have the disposable income to buy them.

“There are lots of ways to offer fantastic Christmas gifting and retail at any price point, you just need to ensure you understand your clients first.” Dan concluded.

So, if you haven’t already finalised your window display, now is the time to wrap it up (pardon the pun). We’ve learnt that gift sets will make all the difference to this year’s revenue, but remember to get an idea of what your clients will buy rather than guessing. Good luck and remember… Tis’ the season to be jolly!