Sounds crazy I know…but have you thought about going to the mall with no intention of buying anything, just to see where the shopping experience takes you? And afterwards going back to the salon to talk about it? This is the question and advice I give salon owners when coaching them on building a better retail business. Somehow we tend to forget that we are all shoppers and have been well trained by the retail stores on how to buy things. So let me take you on a journey to the mall.
Most malls have multiple entrances which suck you in you through one of many department stores before actually getting inside the mall. These businesses are mall ‘anchors’ which benefit greatly from filtering people through their stores before disgorging them into the belly of the mall. Department store planning experts have figured out that women are their target customer and as such it will come as no surprise that it’s the clothing or shoe section that grabs you as you enter. Normal level headed people like you and I abandon the purpose and planning which drove us to the mall and get overwhelmed by “oooh-oooh, shiny” moments and that’s where it all begins!
Take a stroll through the mall, just to take notes on retail displays and strategy.
Every entrance out the department store takes you by the escalator (more distractions) and through the maze of makeup and fragrance counters. Along the way, banners and multiple ‘TODAY ONLY’ only sale signs leap from the walkways to tempt you. Eventually, with a gasp of relief, you make it through and into the rest of the mall. You are not alone by the way, just look at the faces of other shoppers. They LOVE IT!
OK, so now we are in the shopping zone, go back to the salon to continue the experiment. WOW, what happened? Where are all the banners, the lights, the dazzle? It’s not there! If we look at most salon retail efforts through the eyes of a trained shopper, this is what they might see and think. What are all those funny looking bottles and tubes of ‘stuff’ with brand names I’ve never heard before? What is it all supposed to do and why are they shoved so tightly together on those shelves? I know they are not all the same, but they look so similar it’s hard to tell them apart. I wonder if I can take a closer look. No, it doesn’t look like it’s for sale, it must be a storage shelf or something: Oh well, let’s move on, there is nothing interesting here.
I think you get the message…If we stop for a minute and think it through from the perspective of our clients, we recognize just how much we are sabotaging our retailing efforts by forgetting that consumers want to be romanced and dazzled by our product displays. Or maybe we as an industry are stuck with the notion that we are ‘professional’ and like doctors don’t want to invite interest in products for home use without a recommendation first. Well, it was that way once, but the facts are that most clients leave the salon without a recommendation and therefore salons are losing thousands of dollars in sales. The choice is clear going forward, salons have to break out the banners and signs and start dazzling clients in whole new retail ways…More to come!