Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Make a "Retail" Resolution!

As the new year approaches it's the perfect time to take a look at what is working, what isn't, and how you can improve. Many people are planning to launch into weight-loss goals, more quality family time, or stress-reduction resolutions. Why not make a resolution to improve the health of your business? For many professional beauty business there is an untapped profit potential hidden in their retail product lines. Here are my "3 Easy P's" to examine your retail and make your own retail profitability resolution!

Product Lines
The first step is to take a hard look at what is sitting on your shelves. Are your products still working for your clients? Could you be hanging on to a brand or product type that isn't what your target audience truly wants or are you carrying too many lines? This isn't as daunting as one may think. Simplifying look at your sales data by brand and by sku. This will help you narrow your focus. Also look at your customer base and outline what products you are selling to what type of client. Do you service a younger audience who wants more styling products and accessories or is it a mature men's line that you really need? Ask for your staffs' feedback on what is moving, what should be nixed, and what you are missing. Drilling down to a few key lines can do your business wonders. Your distributor rep can be a great source of information. They can work with you to find the right product mix and appropriate inventory levels. It might also be time to look at a private label line. No diversion concerns here since clients can only get the products from you. There are a variety of trusted private label providers that offer quality professional products. Definitely worth exploring your options.

Once you know the products you are carrying, you need to focus on positioning the products correctly with your staff and customers. Your team needs continual product training. Many distributors will hold free product trainings and some have online options. The more your staff knows and loves the products, the more they sell. More commission for them and more profit for the biz - a true win-win! Create fun competitive contests on who can sell the most. Remember what gets measures gets focused on, so put the carrot where you want the action! For the client perspective, you can incorporate the "prescription pad" approach providing a written recommendation of the products used during their service. Position your professional products as their insurance policy for how clients are going to keep looking and feeling great to maximize the value out of what they spent with you today. (Learn more about this approach by clicking here.)

Creating excitement and client engagement will sell more. Simplifying putting products on the shelves and expecting the sales to roll in is not going to cut it. You don't have to be a discount center to get sales, but these days everyone is looking for more value. Clients want to be sure they are getting the most for every hard earn dollar - so show them you are worth it. You are in the business of selling image, health, and wellness. Look the part by creating professional retail displays which are updated every 4-6 weeks. Keep it fresh and new to excite loyal clients. Create a try-me area that invites customers to smell and engage with the products. Decrease the customer's risk level and give away free trial sizes to make them fall in love with the products before they buy. Promotional discount deals such as Buy 1 Get 1 Free or 1/2 off definitely will drive up sales but factor in the margin hit. Other promotional interest drivers that don't need to be a "sale" can be tying retail sales to a cause related effort. January is Heart Health Awareness Month. Promote that X% of all retail product sales will go to the American Heart Association in January. People are more likely to spend when they know they are helping a worthy cause. Broadcast the results with a hearty thank you at the end of the month and get more people engaged next round.

The bottom line, if you want to sell more retail you need to make it a focus. Create excitement over the products, engage your clients, and provide the "why buy from me" answer and you will be ringing the sales all new year long! 

Do you have another "Easy P" or additional idea to sell more retail? Please share below. Happy Selling!

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