Have you ever experienced the feeling that you’ve run out of the ideas on how to increase your salon’s retail revenues?
Most professional beauty brands and/or distributors suggest that the easiest and fastest way to make money in your salon is through retailing. But most salon owners will agree that achieving great retailing performance is not an easy feat. In reality, it is challenging even for seasoned beauty professionals to convince their costumers to buy retail items.
During my eight years of being the beauty manager of eight salons at one of the largest spa hotel chains in Europe, I was given the responsibility to figure out how we could achieve our retail and profit objectives, month after month, year after year. Initially, I started by analyzing each salon’s revenues, inventory levels, merchandising, clientele, employee capabilities and their attitudes. And guess what I found to be the common element to success, or lack thereof? Regardless of which country the salon was in, the key to retailing excellence was employee motivation.
It is understandable that money is a motivator, so the most common and easiest way to energize your team is by acknowledging their efforts through a variable compensation model, i.e. commissions or bonuses. However, we found that money alone was not the only motivator or enough of a motivator to realize retailing success on an ongoing basis. And in some cases the profit margin on certain retail products did not offer enough room for us to give the employees a meaningful piece of the action. Inconsistent results plagued us until we realized that employee motivation was a complex issue and one that required multiple and varied rewards.
Let me tell you one of the creative initiatives we undertook to realize more consistent and focused behaviour across our large, multinational team.
We encouraged our key brand partners to provide our staff with rewards, namely free product as a result of achieving sales targets of the supplier’s specific products. This supplier reward system worked out really well and didn’t cost us a dime. In addition, the employees got practical product knowledge, introductions to new products as soon as they were available and, more importantly, they gained personal experience with the products which made them all better retailers. We got more than we bargained for!
I am sure there are tons of different ways to reward your employees for retailing successfully. Creativity and customizing a model for your specific business is key. If your experience is like ours was, simply having wonderful products available on your shelves is not enough to light up your revenues. If your employees are not focused on retailing or don’t feel confident enough to do so, both the product potential and the potential of your staff are lost. Involving our supplier network was one tactic that enabled us to more effectively align our team with our corporate goals, as well as create energy around the brands we were suggesting to our clients.
An industry pioneer was once quoted as saying, ’People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps, and keeps motivated.’ Mary Kay Ash