By Scott Nichols, salon GM and consultant
The holiday season is upon us, and many salons are gearing up for their promotions and sales. We are entering one the best times of the year with customers wanting to get their holiday tans on. November and December can give customers multiple reason to come in, such as Holiday parties, concerts, get-togethers with friends and family and much more.
During this time of year, we aren’t just competing against the salon down the road but instead we are competing against every retailer that is trying to persuade customers to spend their last few dollars with them. It’s pretty simple – if a customer has only a few dollars left in their pocket, some big department store wants it!
So what do salons do? We try to come up with our own version of Black Friday or last minute Christmas specials. Competing with the large box stores is an extremely hard challenge. They will be on TV, radio, social media, print and probably, during Black Friday, the news will cover a story about two customers fighting over the “hottest” toy this year. So, should we just give up this Holiday season? The answer is no! We just need to be smart about it.
How many salons owners or managers that are reading this right now set long-term goals every year? How many set their goals with the holiday season in mind? My guess is not many. So, when the holiday season comes around, we tend to act like big box stores (without the large marketing budgets) and start to advertise sales that might not make sense any other time of the year.
If you do what is stated above, the holiday season can decrease your chances of meeting your goal. For example, if your goal is to sell “X” amount of EFTs each month at a certain dollar amount, but instead you’re promoting gift certificates, you will miss your mark. Remember, your advertising just doesn’t work on the customers, but it also works on the staff. They start to think all they need to do is sell gift certificates. I encourage you to pay attention to what is being sold each day in your stores. You may find that you are selling more of your promotional items and, in this case, less EFTs.
One way to continue to sell gift certificates and work on your long-term plan is to intertwine them. Most customers that are coming in to your salon during this season will be current customers looking to get a friend or family member a gift certificate for tanning. If we know this to be true, let’s use that to our advantage. Let’s say a customer coming in today only buys sessions but is looking to buy a gift certificate for a friend. Take this opportunity to let the customer know that if they become an EFT member today, they can have an extra discount on their purchase. This is a perfect way to promote your Holiday season but still work on your long-term goals.
As a manager or owner, one of our main priorities of your job needs to ensure you are meeting the goals you have set forth. This holiday season will start earlier than ever (as it continues to do every year) with commercials, department stores putting out specials and probably the start of holiday music. All of these can be a distraction from what you need to accomplish this year. Put those distractions aside, and look at how you can use this time a year to help accelerate our goals.