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Freshen up your shop: How to sell retail products in a salon

March 6, 2024 | Published by Faire

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a hairdresser cuts a client's hair
a hairdresser cuts a client's hair

If you’re a salon owner looking to bolster your sales and diversify your business, starting to sell retail can go a long way. In fact, according to a study by Phorest, 58% of salon clients said they would be interested in buying retail products from the salon they visit most frequently. Even if you have just a small space to display shampoo, conditioner, and a few products, it’s a low-risk way to supplement your profit—and provide serendipitous discovery for valued clients. 

Not sure where to begin? Below we’ll dive into what sorts of products to sell in your salon and how to get the selling part right. From the ideal display placements to a non-pushy way of inspiring your clients to try something new, we’ve got all the best practices you need to propel your salon into the retail space. 

Why you should add retail to your salon business

Adding a retail component to your salon is a natural fit. It’s why bookstores often have a coffee bar and cafés sometimes double as music venues. When a retailer doubles as another business and vice versa, it expands the use of the space and encourages visitors to spend more time there. “Third spaces,” or somewhere to spend time beyond one’s home or office, are in high demand, and business owners are responding. Nearly 25% of retailers who shop on Faire use their brick-and-mortar location as both a retail shop and a community hub.  

What’s more: Offering products at your salon may solve a real need for your clients who want expert, personal recommendations on hair products for their particular hair type and texture. While there are endless product reviews online, sometimes you just need advice from someone who has physically touched and worked with your hair. Providing your expertise and giving clients the results they want will ultimately develop your relationship and build loyalty in the long run. 

Then there’s the ability to diversify your revenue. On average, service sales at salons have a profit margin of 36% to 40%, while retail products are often sold at a profit margin of up to 48%. This can make all the difference to your bottom line, while creating an even better, more joyful experience for your clients. 

What to sell in your salon

As self-care and wellness continue to dominate trend forecasts, a retail space (no matter how compact!) will help you cash in on what your clients are already craving. If you don’t have a large budget for experimentation, start with just a few products, then refine the collection once you see what’s popular. 

Men’s and women’s hair care products: Make sure whatever you’re using in the salon is also available for purchase. If clients like how the products work during their appointments, they may be motivated to buy some to use at home. Beyond shampoo and conditioner, consider stocking masks and deep-conditioning treatments to extend the hair care benefits between appointments too. 

Skincare: You don’t need to be a full-scale spa to have impactful beauty recommendations. Something as simple and affordable as a lip mask is a great idea, especially during the holidays when shoppers need a quick gift.  

Bath and body products: If clients are already looking to upgrade their shower routine with new shampoo and conditioner, suggest a bath bomb, body wash, or aromatherapy to complete the experience. 

Hair tools and accessories: From colorful headbands to brushes and heatless curlers, these items will inspire clients to practice new styling techniques at home. If your salon is popular for blowouts and special occasion updos, you can offer clients a selection of accessories to purchase and wear the day of. 

Spa and spiritual items: If you’re already smudging or burning palo santo in your salon for good vibes, consider selling some so clients can enjoy the benefits at home. Eye pillows, sparkling crystals, and microwavable booties will help clients tap into the latest wellness trends. 

Fragrances: Candles, oils, perfume, and incense all create a calming atmosphere in the salon. If there are any particular ones you’re already using, give clients a chance to replicate the scents at home. 

Best practices for selling like a pro

Since many of your clients buy their hair care at the grocery store or online, your goal is to make your buying experience both convenient and delightful. Here are some ways you can put your best foot forward: 

Consider display: Like any shop or boutique, the more inviting the retail area is, the more likely shoppers will make a purchase. Even if you only have a small space, make sure it’s tidy and organized; ensure clients can reach and examine the products so they can look at the ingredients or smell the scent. If your salon is particularly busy, try to keep the retail area in a quieter spot, where shoppers won’t feel rushed. It’s also a smart idea to keep a few small products by the register as add-ons for clients who don’t have lots of time to browse. 

Make room for storage: Along with stocking your products up front, you’ll want to make sure you have space either behind the register or in a back room to store your inventory. 

Pay attention to quality: Pick products you’re already using in your salon so that clients can purchase what’s being used on their hair by the experts. If you’re stocking other skincare or beauty products, make sure that they’re up to your standards too. You never want clients to walk out with a new purchase only to be disappointed by a product’s quality. 

Educate the staff: Your stylists and front desk managers should be warm and well-versed in your offerings. If clients have questions about any of the products, your employees should always be able to provide a helpful answer. 

Demonstrate proper usage: Along with staff education, stylists should be able to show clients how the products work and explain their benefits. Remember that every client has a different hair texture and style, so be sure to use the right products for clients’ needs. A good rule of thumb is to explain what a product is and why you’re using it when the client is in the styling seat. It’s a little free advertisement while you’re providing your services. 

Offer samples: Sometimes clients aren’t quite ready to purchase a full bottle, and that’s OK. If they’re interested in trying something new and you’re able, put a little bit of the product in a small container so they can try it at home. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and chances are, if they like the product, they’ll buy the full-size item next time. 

Start with a discount: Encourage a first-time retail purchase with a first-time discount. Ten percent might just be enough to inspire someone to buy. You can even create some urgency by offering the discount only for a limited window. 

Try gift sets: Now is your time to really think like a retail store. Whether you’re bundling a shampoo and conditioner or tying three face masks up with a bow, you can customize your very own gift sets for customers to treat themselves (or someone they love). You can also add a salon service gift card to any of the gift sets to encourage clients to come back for another visit. 

Don’t be pushy: Even if you’re excited about your new potential revenue stream, remember that being too pushy about a product can be a real turn-off for even the most loyal clients. In this case, it’s OK to get a no from a client. There’s always next time. 

Final thoughts 

Even by selling a few products in your salon, you’re opening up a whole new avenue for revenue. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at what Faire has to offer. We have specialty products, new formulations, and industry favorites all in one place. Feel free to browse by category, then drill down to brands, values (like organic and women-owned), and even scent. 

Are you a new retailer? Read more about Open with Faire and learn how to apply for up to $20,000, with 60-day payment terms, to stock your new shop.

New to Faire? Sign up to shop, or apply to sell.

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