Thursday, December 18, 2014

A New Approach to Retail Sales

How consumers buy is evolving. We all swim in a sea of TV, billboards, websites, email, social medial and beyond. Selling more retail is a goal for many of us in the new year however, it's increasingly difficult because of all the various ways customers can purchase products.  We need to ask the questions how are these channels influencing buying behavior and how we can use them to our benefit.  Take time now to reimage the retail portion of your business to reap the rewards.

Clients are consistently visiting your location. Create a captivating window display.  Make it unique and unexpected. Attention spans are short, you need to drive their eyes to your amazing retail products.  Take this theme and weave it through you retail displays and check out areas. Change your theme every four weeks. The goal is for a client see something new every time they visit. You retail areas need to incorporate other proven sales techniques such as sampling, promotions, and your staff encouraging retail sales.

Don’t think web sales work in the beauty biz? Think again. There are billions of dollars of beauty products purchased online through big box retailers or boutique brands.  Consumers love the convenience of buying online. Add an ecommerce portion on your website.  Offer your retail products and gift cards. Create online-only specials, volume based pricing, discounts for signing up for your newsletter, even allow in-store pick up at their next appointment.    

Use your Facebook and Twitter as a retail selling tool. Create social media-only specials. Clients need to be a follower in order to access the promo. You can drive people to buy instantly on your website or advertise an in-store special. Creativity counts so stand out from the crowd!

Our phone dependency is not ending any time soon.  Use this tool to your advantage by creating a mobile friendly website and text message your clients. There are vendors that offer these services at fairly inexpensive prices and offer trial periods. Text special offers, coupon codes, or link to a picture posted on your facebook. Tie all your channels together by sending a text that links to your selling website that features a a picture of the amazing new window display made with your best selling shampoo that is now on sale!

Doing what you have always done will get you the same results. Challenge yourself to reimage your retail selling process.  It’s a New Year, create New Sales!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips to Save your Holiday Sales

Black Friday is the official starting point for the holiday selling.  Is your business prepared to maximize your seasonal sales?  If you are having an OMG moment, take a deep breath.  You can still salvage your holiday sales with these tips below. 

Promotional Offers
Target a  few promotions you want to run for the season.  Popular offers are Buy One Get One Free, Free Gift with Purchase, or a dollar or percent off the purchase.  Also successful in the holiday season is the idea of give and get.  If you purchase a $100 gift card, get a $10 gift card for yourself. Determine what works best for your clients and run with it.

Advertise and Promote
Now that you know what you want to promote, you need to create awareness.  Send an email campaign to your clients.  Post your offers on your website and social media efforts.  Create in-store signage in your windows, check-out areas, even at service stations.  Have staff talking up your efforts to create excitement and drive response.

Gift Solutions
Create a gift solution center in your retail area. Set up retail products shelves and a circular table or two.  Add in signage and shelf talkers such as “Gift Solution Center" and "Perfect Presents for the babysitter, teachers, or your neighbors!”. Stock your shelves with group product sets in various price points.  Add products to cello bags, vinyl bags or reusable totes. These ready-to-give gifts are an easy choice for last minute shoppers.  Include stocking stuff items such as small cosmetics, nail polishes, or fashion jewelry. Be sure you have plenty gift cards on hand. This is the #1 retail gift of the season.  Include gift card packaging to create the one-stop-shop gift.  The key to success is presenting your business as the solution for the gift giving challenge.  By offering a variety of gift options that come ready to give, you will drive more sales your way verses the competition. 

You and your team can do this.  Take and evening this week and hammer out the details.  Divide up the work.  There are only 4 weeks left to ring up those seasonal sales.  Make the most of them and start your holiday promotions today!  

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Secrets to Gift Card Selling Success

Did you know that 80% of consumers will purchase gift cards this holiday season?  Your business needs a piece of that pie.  Here are the reasons gift cards are a smart choice and the secrets on creating a successful gift card program!

Why Gift Cards?

  • They are the #1 retail item that is purchased during the holidays. 
  • It is easy for the gift giver because it is no-brainer purchase and they know their recipient will get the exact gift they want.
  • Cards increase your revenue with two-thirds of gift card redeemers spending over the amount of the gift card value. 
  • Experience stronger margins with 31% of gift card recipients more likely to buy at full prices when using their gift card. 
  • Over 1 billion in gift cards go un-redeemed.  That is pure profit for your business. 
  • Santa hangs around a bit longer with many of those gift cards being redeemed in well into January. With them spending more than the card is worth and buying at full retail, you are increasing your revenue and margin.
 Tips for Successful Gift Card Programs

  • Monitor gift card inventory.  You don’t want to run out of cards during those last minute sales opportunities. 
  • Become the gifting resource by supplying the coordinating gift card packaging with holders, boxes, or elegant purse bags. Click here for a wide selection of gift card packaging options.
  • Create an in-store merchandising area by your check out and retail display areas.  Have signage showcasing your cards as the perfect gift solution. 
  • Sell your gift cards on your website and promote via your various social media channels. 
  • Offer gift with purchase.  If a client purchases a specific dollar amount, throw in a free gift of trial samples or a spa robe. Offer tiered gifting levels providing larger gifts at higher price point gift card sales.   
  • Get your staff involved in promoting gift cards with their clients.  Make sure all staff is train on how to sell and load value to cards.    
Don't let these seasonal sales pass you by.  Be prepared with a rock solid gift card program and ring up a very happy holiday! 

*Stats provided from National Retail Federation Gift Spending Survey Dec 2013.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Be a Holiday Prepper

The leaves are changing and pumpkin-flavored everything has hit the market.  Fall has arrived. As we start pulling out our sweaters it is time to think – holiday! It might feel early but now is the time to prepare for your best holiday sales ever!  

Check your List Twice
Review your client contact list.  Verify you have correct info for mailing addresses and emails. This is easily completed by your staff at check out by confirming their data in your system. Accurate info will ensure your marketing efforts reach your clients.

Select The Perfect Gift Ideas
Determine the retail product lines you are carrying for the season. Review your sales from fourth quarter last year. See what worked and what didn't work. Plan your inventory accordingly factoring for some growth. Think about adding holiday-inspired products or limited edition items.  Don’t forget to plan your packaging.  Order holiday bags personalized with your logo. This provides a professional look and advertises your business.  Gift cards are your #1 retail item of the season so stock up.  Make gift giving easy. Be prepared with coordinating packaging such as card holders and boxes.  Creating an easy one step gift solution rings up more sales.

Shout it from the Rooftops
Plan your promotions, emails, website updates, ads, mailings, and social media announcements.  Create a calendar of who is doing what when.  Doing this now avoids the stress of throwing the details together during the hustle bustle of the season.  As the holiday approaches, tastefully decorate your location. Create a gift solution center in your retail area.  Stock it with your retail lines, group product sets, and gift cards. Create price points for various gift giving needs. Your staff should promote your gift solutions as they work with clients. Launch your ad campaigns and mailings through out the season. Get the word out that you are a gift solution destination.

Planning early is the best way to ensure a successful holiday season.  Tackle your holiday prep now and reap the rewards!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 5 Customer Loyalty Tips

They say obtaining new customers is always more expensive then keeping the ones you already have.  Invest in building the loyalty of your current customers.

1.  Communication

Keep in touch with your customers.  You need to send communications to be top of mind. Send emails, use direct mail, put in a phone call, or post on your digital channels. This doesn’t always need to be advertising or promotions. Share good news about charity events or provide useful tips. Become a resource that your customers come to for your great info, your fun personality, or unique offers.

2.  Incentives

Create a reason for customers to come back with a frequent buyer program. Typical programs offer a free service, free gift, or generous discount after a certain number of visits or purchases. You can even create VIP levels based on annual spend and reward each level with special prices or frequent discounts. The bigger savings at the higher spend levels. Determine what program is meaningful for your clients and then reference tip #1 and communicate your program!

3.  Anticipate Needs

The key to great service is trying to meet a need before they even know they need it.  Look at your business through your customer’s eyes.  Run through a typical client interaction with your business. From the time the client enters the location until they leave, strive to create an effortless yet memorable experience. Create that perfect experience every time.

4.  Staff Training

Educated staff drive that seamless experience. Invest in continuing education, product training, and customer service policies. Your staff will easily address customer questions or concerns by knowing their craft, products and procedures inside and out. Empower employees to do what it takes to make customers happy.

5.  Reframe

No matter what you do, not all customers will be happy campers.  Allowing customers to vent while you respectfully listen is a good first step. Words such as, “I’m so sorry you feel that way” or “Thank you for sharing this” can go a long way to defusing the situation. Generally customers want to feel heard and respected.  Reframing any negative into a positive learning experience is a good approach.

Customer loyalty secures your business and builds your brand.  Take the time to grow your loyalty efforts and reap the rewards!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Mid Year Check-In

Can you believe the year is more than half way gone?  Time flies when we are having fun! As the slower season is upon us, it is a great time to evaluate how you are tracking towards goals and plot strategies for remainder of the year.  

Make time to evaluate where you are landing on sales, profit, customers, bookings, services and product movement targets. Review results with your staff. Put all your marketing efforts under the microscope. Determine what is working and what isn’t. Gain feedback for changes to either get back on track or accelerate results.

Create the Road Map
Now that you know where you are, you can create your plan for the remainder of the year.  Determine if product and service revisions are needed. Look at your marketing budget for reallocation or enhancement. Plan your promotional strategy. Promotions can be the key to successful sales. This slower season is the perfect time to create your strategy before the busy season rush.

Promotional Strategies
There are a million promotional ideas. Determine the ones that best fit your business and customer base.  Mark up a calendar with to-do’s such as ordering literature, posting on social media, buying packaging and tracking results.  All your efforts will flow much smoother with a plan.  Get your creative juices flowing with these promotion ideas.

-          Back to School
-          School Events and Dances (Homecoming)
-          Fall Fest
-          Breast Cancer Awareness Month
-          Trick-or-Treat
-          Holiday Season 

If you aren’t tracking where you want to be, there is still time to make your goals a reality. If you are above and beyond your targets, way to go – but don’t let off the gas.  Keep pushing to have the best year yet.  A little planning goes a long way to creating success!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Charity Event Ideas

Cause-related event participation is a worthwhile effort.  Your staff and clients will feel good to help others. It can also drum up excellent PR and create good will towards your business.  Here are some event ideas and how-to-steps to get you on your way.
Host a Cut-a-thon
This is a well known and successful event.  Donate your time and skills and charge a flat fee for a haircut.  All proceeds will go to the cause you select.  To maximize time and the number of cuts given, create requirements for just hair cuts only. Partner with other local businesses such a coffee shop or pizza place to offer food and drinks.  This drives even more participation and promotion.

Pedi for Non Profits
If your location offers pedicures, sell tickets for a flat fee – let’s say $25. Each ticket is good for a pedicure for the cause and proceeds will go to the cause noted. Host a event for the summer called “be sandal ready and help a cause”.  Keep a running tally of how much you have raised and how many pedicures you give. Post this tally in the store and on your digital marketing avenues. It is will be motivating for both you and clients to see the tally grow.

VIP Auction
Hold a special evening event at your location.  You can charge a minimal ticket fee with all proceeds going to the cause. Offer appetizers and light drinks.  Provide free services such as hand massages and give out goodie bags of trial samples.  At the event auction off gift baskets or service packages.  You can partner other local businesses for donations as well.

Community Participation
With the summer season here, there are many charity walks and community events going on.  Align your business with one that is close to your heart.  Raise donations at your location. Give out trial samples or awareness bands for each donation. Have donors sign a pledge for the cause and hang them around the store. If you are doing a walk, order matching shirts or hats. Encourage clients to do the walks with you. This builds loyalty with your best customers.

Easy How-To-Steps to create a charity event.

  • Decided the event – Pick from above or create your own.
  • Plan the Details – Determine who is doing what and when everything is happening.
  • Communicate – Get the word out via emails, fliers, ads, and social media.
  • Confirm Participation – Check in with those that want to participate and verify they are on board and doing their part.
  • Show Time –  The day of the event get up early and have a good breakfast. Remember the motivation is the cause and make this event great!
  • Share - Take pictures at the event. Tally your donations and participants.  Share this on your digital sites. Craft a press release and send it to your local news outlets.  Good deeds deserved to be shared. Inspire others to support a cause!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Male Market

Father’s Day is just around the corner.  Its time to start promoting your goods and services catered to the male market.  Beyond this celebration, the male demographic is a huge opportunity to grow your business.  According to, the men grooming market is likely to hit $84 billion dollars this year. Yes, that is billion with a “b”!  Here are tips to reach the male audience and get a piece of the market share.

Products and Services
The industry is booming with male focused grooming products. Select one or two lines that fit your target client.  Now that you have the right products, you need to create the services to meet the male clients need. Men liked to be pampered but with a masculine feel. Think shorter treatment times and result orientated services. Offer men’s cuts, color, manicures, body services and more. Add a special section to your existing menu or create a new male focused menu. Guys feel more confident choosing the right service in this format.

The Look
Walk your location and review your marketing materials through the eyes of your male client.  Are you swimming in a sea of pink that might make some men run the other way?  Take on a more masculine or unisex look if you are marketing to both audiences. You could also offer a male focused treatment area.  Don’t forget your retail packaging.  Offer retail bags in black, gold, or silver bags which a guy would be proud to carry out of the location.

It’s Raining Men
Now you have the products, services and look – how do you get the men to join the party? Your female clientele can be the answer. Offer package deals with wives or girlfriends --- think couples spa days for a romantic gift, Father's Day specials, or Men Only Holiday Deals. The next step is to advertise where your target customer is at. Think of local sporting events in the programs, on the radio, at gyms, restaurants, or community events. Once you get the men in the doors, encourage them to come back with loyalty programs, rebooking special offers, and free samples.

From Dad’s to Grads, now is the time to start growing your male clientele. Once the men take advantage of these celebration offers, secure them as regular customers by offering quality products, adding value to their experience, and making them look fabulous! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Consider a Private Label Line

Diversion of professional retail products is a challenge for many beauty businesses.  Everyone from the big box retailers to the ecommerce sites are selling the same products you are and likely for less. More often clients are purchasing from these other sources. What is your business going to do to compete? It might be time to consider your own private label line.

Why a Private Label Line
The benefits for creating your own private label line are to increase your retail sale profits and build your brand.  The cost per private label product will be cheaper than any manufactured name brand.  Additionally if you use your line within your services, you will likely reduce costs and drive up service profitability too.  Aside from the profits, there is more prestige and pride in building your brand verses promoting the other guys.             

Where to start
Define what products you want to private label. Look at what sells the most, has the most client requests, and that is used most often in your services. What minimum orders would you be most comfortable carrying. Think of this in terms of product cost, inventory carrying cost, and your storage ability.  Have this ballpark data in mind as you start researching vendors.

How to Source your Manufacturer
There are a host of providers from hair products, skin care, and cosmetics. Look to your industry association groups and trade publications for the top performers. Remember that your private label manufacturing company is truly a business partner. Going with the cheapest player or fastest turn around time isn’t always the right choice. Fully vet your provider by requesting test products and referrals from other customers. Most providers showcase their quality control, research and development, and offer in house art services to make your brand look fabulous. Leading providers offer marketing material support and in-house training for your team.

How to Launch your new Line
Utilize the services of your manufacturer for selling support materials such as product brochures, product images for digital marketing, and direct mail efforts.  Reach out to your staff for feedback on the best promotions and marketing methods. Host an exclusive VIP event and provide a sneak peek to your best clients with a saving discount. Drive interest on your social media sites and in-store with signage and a sample testing area. 

Remember just because your name is on the product doesn’t mean it will go flying off the shelves. You need products you believe in, the right marketing plan, and vendor support to make your private label line a winner! 
Have a private label story to share? Please a comment below or share on our Facebook page. Lets pool resources and grow sales together!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Your 6 Week Mother’s Day Sales Plan

Mother’s Day is a spring celebration that can jump start your annual sales.  Now is the time to create your selling strategy to take advantage of this opportunity.

Gift cards, luxurious body services and professional product sets make Moms feel pampered. Determine what products and services your business wants to offer. Get items on order and service menus prepared. 

The right packaging will help you sell more. Create ready-to-go retail product gift sets with vinyl or cello bags.  Include the gift card packaging to create that instant gift your clients will love to give to mom.

Just because you built it, doesn’t mean they will come.  Clients need to be aware of your offers via
postcards, emails, social media, and word of mouth advertising. Talk your business up as “the” Mother’s Day gifting resource.

We make it easy to ring up more sales with a promotional calendar to maximize your Mother’s Day sales.  Download your own FREE 6 Week Promotional Calendar – Click here!

Preparation is the key to success. A bit of forethought and a plan will have you loving your Mother’s Day sales this year!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bags can Build Your Brand

What would you say to seeing your business name walking around town wherever your client goes?  I'm not talking about a super bowl marketing antic with people tattooing their foreheads.  It is much easier than that. Your retail packaging is a walking billboard as soon as a guest leaves your doors.  Many of your customers are self-described bag ladies. They hold on to bags and use them to take their lunch to work or as reusable shopping bags. Think of all that repeat exposure to your brand.

Here's how to build your brand with bag power!

Packaging needs to follow function. What products are you putting in the bag - small, heavy, short, tall? Once you determine the items you are packaging, then you can zero in on the bag type you need.  Durable with strong handles for heavy items might lead you to a non woven poly bag or for a light weight cosmetic or jewelry item an appropriate option would be small gift bag.

The type of bag you use reflects your brand. To illustrate this think about the thin plastic bag you get at corner store. It says - fast and cost effective. Now envision that high-end department store who wraps your purchase in printed tissue and places it in a glossy, rope handle paper shopping bag. It says - rich luxury.  Where on the spectrum does your brand fall? Paper generally is a higher quality feel verses plastic. Also consider your brand message. Is your business more eco-minded and wants to present an earth friendly appeal? Define the message you want to send and the style will flow.

Color has long been attributed with meanings and emotions.  Red is energy and passion, blue is calming, green is soothing, and purple royal. You likely reviewed color meaning when determining your business logo.  Keep that consistent message going in your packaging.  We don't envision Coke as lavender, we know it is red. Reinforcing your brand colors will build stronger brand awareness.

This critical step is often forgotten. Not only does adding your logo to your packaging look professional, but it is a walking billboard for your business once the customer leaves your store. There are a variety of imprint styles from screen printed, ink prints, hot stamp, heat transfer, and 4 color process.  Each offers different look from subtle to vibrant high detail. The right imprint type will depend on the bag you chose and the art you want to place on the bag.

Bags are far more than a supply item. Bags are a marketing investment for your image and building your brand.  Costs are a consideration. Higher-end materials and printing processes are more expensive. Remind yourself what your business brand stands for and how will that factor into your packaging.  There are many ways to be cost-effective and still reflect your brand message.  Don't forget that as a rule higher volume purchases bring the price per bag down.

Need assistance finding the right bag for you? Our friendly experts will walk you through this process and find the bag perfect for your business. Make your business look fabulous and grow your brand today!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Retail Trends for the New Year

Somewhere after the new year's eve party, packaging up the holiday decorations, and the polar vortex - 2014 is here! With the new year comes new trends which can use to your advantage. 

Go Digital or Go Home
You need to have a digital presence.  The increase use of web, mobile, and social media will continue to set growth records.  Research mobile marketing and explore text messaging sales alerts. If you are a service provider, try mobile and online appointment booking. Showcase your products, styles, and customers on pinterest and facebook to drive brand engagement. Have a defined plan for each of these marketing channels to maximize your reach.

Market Diversity
The world is a melting pot. Catering products and services to diverse types of people will allow you to reach more potential customers.  Typically retail has been very female focused.  Big trends continue to be expanding and/or creating boutique marketing towards men and children.  This can been seen in examples such as the growth of men and kid focuses spas.  Expand the view of your target customer to ring up more sales.

Certify your Go Green Efforts
Being earth friendly is a continuous theme, but this year consumers don't want to hear empty claims. They expect organic and green labeled products to be certified by reputable sources. Verify with your suppliers any eco-minded claims.  If vendors can't back up their claims, move your business elsewhere. You need to be authentic.

Time Value Service and Products
Time is the most valuable currency. Creating products and services that save customers time will be everywhere. Some examples are offering the 15 minute power massage or retail stores allowing pre-orders online with customer pick up. Think of ways to save customers time and they will pay for the luxury.

Product Diversion
Ecommerce sites and big box retailers are increasing product diversion and pushing down prices. This will continue to accelerate with the advances of digital marketing and social sharing. You can combat this by offering boutique products, meaning products only carried at limited locations, or investing in your own private label lines. Other suggestions are offering discounts for pre-orders, continued repeat purchases, or on products when pre-booked with a service. 

Knowing the trends is half the battle, but the other half is creating marketing plans from this knowledge. With a little creativity and forethought, you can maximize these trends and improve your business!

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