Are You Cashing In On Cupid?

Christmas is over for another year; you’re successfully managing a steady stream of regular appointments through January and you’ve planned for the next 12 months. If you have, then well done! But don’t for one second think it’s time to take your foot off the gas.

The next big event on the horizon for us is St. Valentine’s Day. It creeps up fast at the start of the year and, if you’re not on the ball, the best of the business will pass you by on its way to the florist round the corner. It’s essential to start planning your campaign at least a month in advance – which means Right Now.

It’s absolutely worth the effort. In 2012, Brits spent £880 million on Valentine’s Day. A share of that sounds nice, right? Well that’s nothing. Just three years later, that more than doubled, to a staggering £1.9 billion.

Now have I got your attention?

Get the guy

Promoting your business to be the first place everyone thinks of, especially guys is key to your success. Make yourself highly visible with posters and striking window displays. Produce flyers, loaded with Valentine’s gift ideas and not-so-subtle hints about vouchers, so that your clients can take them home to ‘accidentally’ leave on the coffee table.

Use your social media accounts to full effect, targeting local men through Facebook and Twitter. Give them no excuse to forget about you – your physical marketing needs to be in place by February 1st at the latest.

Your business is in such a strong position to take advantage of the enormous sales opportunity St. Valentine’s Day presents. Think about it: there are all those gorgeously packaged, scented and indulgent products on your shelves. Which of them would go well together as a special, romantic gift set? Perhaps you can repackage luxury products left over from Christmas.

It’s a wrap

Always be sure to attractively gift wrap presents in paper, ribbons and bows to boost their appeal even further. Add a little something extra by including product samples too, wrapping them as part of the set. Gift vouchers may only be flat pieces of paper or plastic but you can still give them added appeal by wrapping them nicely.

In fact, gift wrapping is such a critical part of your sales pitch that you should advertise the service on all your promotional materials. The easier you make it for customers to offer their loved ones something immediately beautiful, the better your chances of wooing them in to buy.

Romance for two

Don’t neglect treatments either. The average man spent nearly £55 for St. Valentine’s Day in 2015. You can tempt them to be that tiny bit more generous if you give them good reason.

What are your bestselling treatments? Make it obvious, even for the uninitiated new visitor. Shout about your wonderful couples’ packages. What could be more romantic than sharing a pampering visit with a partner? Especially if you lure loved-up visitors with a free glass of fizz as part of the package.

While I’ve focused mostly on men as gift givers, remember that they need a treat sometimes too, so do try to think up his and hers ideas and displays. It’s also a terrific way of getting new clients through the door – men’s grooming is officially one of the big boom markets of the decade!

Here’s to your great business this St. Valentine’s!

Susan. x

Are You Maximising Your Retail Space?

Sometimes in our industry it’s easy to be so focused on providing great services that we neglect our product range. As business owners looking to build profitable, long-term relationships with our clients, this is a huge mistake: customers who buy products are twice as likely to stay loyal for 6 or more years.

And despite constant warnings that we’ve shifted to an online economy, research from 2016 shows that 71% of shoppers want to buy a product in a nearby store rather than go online.

That’s your store they’re talking about. So spruce up that retail display. It might feel like a small part of your business, but it has the potential to dramatically increase your revenue without having to find extra clients.

Do your research

If you’re not sure where to start, then take to the internet. Browse pictures of retail displays and pick out ones that look effective, perhaps using a tool like Pinterest to help. Can you replicate their impact?

Spend some time thinking about who you’re selling to. Do you know your customers’ lifestyles and habits inside-out? Are you marketing to the right segment of your clientele?

Once you’ve collected some inspiration, start planning your display. Why not sketch things out so you have a clear goal before putting things in place? Planning anything well is essential to your success.

Use space to your advantage

However big or small your retail area is, try to make it a focal point. When clients are waiting for their appointments and, especially, when they have their credit card in their hand ready to pay, does their eye line fall naturally on your product range?

If it doesn’t, then consider moving things around or simply help shift people’s gaze with a really eye-catching display. Point of purchase displays are responsible for 80% of all impulse buys so get encouraging those impulses!

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – what does it look like to view your product display as a customer? Exactly where are your eyes drawn to? Be certain that your bestselling products are in your prime space, not hidden slightly out of focus with lesser lines in the way.

Really spotlight items that will do best. This could literally mean picking out key products with a real light or perhaps using stand-out, brightly coloured arrows pointing to a star purchase. Use your imagination!

There are lots of ways to show customers a product is popular. For example, if you display a new box of ten identical products, take a couple of them out so it looks like they’re going quickly. Keep everything spotlessly clean and don’t hide your prices – if you do, expect to lose an incredible nine out of every ten possible sales.

Delight the senses

Once a customer is in store, we can learn from various retailer tricks that help convince people to buy. Many of these involve appealing to the senses and that gives our sector a huge advantage because all our products look, feel and smell great.

Ever heard of the rule of three, or the Pyramid Principle? In the rule of three, stores group three items together in a symmetrical layout, because this symmetry helps buyers’ eyes settle in one place. The Pyramid Principle takes a similar concept but places one central item higher, forcing the gaze to start at the top and work its way down.

Unsurprisingly, 85% of shoppers prefer to buy in-store because they can touch and feel products. So don’t be afraid to put products where clients can touch them as this helps to break down the psychological barriers to making a purchase. The same goes for scent – smell is a known “fast track” to the powerful part of the human brain responsible for emotion and memory. For beauty products in particular, making a small selection of testers available is a great idea.

And don’t forget about sound either – 8 out of 10 people buy more when music is playing and the type of music you play can influence both moods and buying habits.

Manage stock wisely

Keep things simple. Offering too wide a variety of products is overwhelming for clients and for staff and often results in a chaotic-looking display. This might mean you need to be honest and cut a few of those lines taking up space. But what can you do with them?

Firstly, do you understand why they’re not selling? It could be that your team simply doesn’t know enough about the product. With a bit more first-hand experience, they might become strong advocates who help make informed buyer choices. 90% of shoppers are likely to make a purchase after assistance from a knowledgeable staff member, so a well-briefed team makes a big difference to your bottom line.

But if you really can’t shift something, why not try bundling two or more products together as a good-value gift set? Or gather up lots of less popular lines, and maybe one or two more popular ones, to create desirable hampers for a prize draw. You could even donate excess profits to a local charity.

Think about turning slower sellers into gifts to go alongside purchases of, say, two other items at a minimum spend. And it’s perfectly OK to move on larger collections of stock by selling them privately, either to other salons or through online marketplaces. But my tip is to always do this in bulk, rather than wasting valuable time listing and posting individual items.

Crucially, once you’ve depleted your stock of items that weren’t selling, don’t buy any more! If any of your clients are particularly disappointed, you can always arrange to get them in by special order.

How did you do?

With a dazzling, multi-sensory display featuring only products that you know sell well, all stocked by knowledgeable staff, you’re well on the way to getting the most out of your retail feature. But now is not the time to sit back and congratulate yourself. It’s critical to keep changing things up as over-familiarity with your range will slowly chip away at your revenue. Plan to freshen up your displays each season and keep trying out new ideas, measuring their effectiveness as you go.

After all, if you don’t evaluate your impact, how will you ever know what works for next time?

Here’s to your great business!

Susan. x