Netflix first came onto the scene in 1997, and within a few short years it completely changed the way we rent movies. While there’s much to say about the innovation they pioneered in delivering content, both by mail and by online streaming, there’s even more important aspects of their business model that’ve made them the success they are today. Before you start wondering why I’m writing an article about Netflix for Smart Tan Magazine, let me get to the point — there’s a lot that tanning salons can learn from Netflix.
The Beauty of an EFT
When Netflix first launched, it was pretty similar to the way many salons operated at the time — you’d rent a DVD though a pay-per-rental model and pay 50 cents per DVD. They ran with that model for a couple years before switching to the monthly subscription they offer today. That monthly EFT membership has been crucial to their success, and the same is true for salons today.
Salons that focus on EFT memberships know how effective they are — they keep customers loyal to your salon. EFTs being customers in more often, and therefore, there are more selling opportunities. They take the guess work out of monthly revenue projections, and if they’re done right, they can bring customers into your salon during months they usually wouldn’t come in.
The other benefit to EFT memberships is that it happens automatically. Customers don’t think about it as much, because they aren’t actively making the purchase. I can tell you that I’ve had a Netflix subscription since 2008, and I guarantee there are several months where I didn’t use the service at all, but I still paid for it — that’s a pretty sweet deal for a business.
Everyone’s Netflix account looks different. They have this crazy algorithm that takes movies you’ve watched and rated highly, and they then recommend other movies you’d like. They take your history and viewing preferences into consideration and offer you a completely customized experience.
In a tanning salon, you should be mirroring this strategy. Tanning isn’t a one-size-fits all service more than any other cosmetic business. People are coming in and tanning for different reasons. All customers have a different tanning history — some might be experienced, while others could be tanning for the first time. They al have different skin types and conditions; a tanning bed and lotion that that fit the needs of one customer may not be the perfect fir for another.
Your employees should be looking at every customer individually and creating a customized experience that’s unique to them. Don’t keep that customization a secret — let them know that you’re invested in them and their experience.
In recent years, the number of Netflix Originals has increased like crazy. Not only has it become the destination for the latest movies and television shows, it delivers content that you can only see on Netflix — is your salon the exclusive destination for anything?
I’m not talking about gimmicks or anything like that, but what is differentiating your salon from the others in your area? Figure out what makes your salon unique and gives you an edge over your competition — then own it. Use that to set yourself apart, and offer something your customers can’t get anywhere else.
Netflix is really good about their email communications. Typically, you get one or two emails per month, and the emails you get always focus on a new release. The rest of the email might include releases that are “coming soon” or their “top picks for you,” but the emails always kick off with the excitement of a new product — salons can learn a lot from that model.
Emails to your customers don’t have to be the same specials you’ve done before or a desperate plea to get them in the door. Your emails could be much simpler: announce a new lotion, feature a piece of excellent equipment, but above all, reinforce the value of your salon. Don’t overload your customers with tons of emails every month — use them strategically.
As our market continues to mature, there are many lessons we can learn from other industries who have been where we are. While it seems like it should be a stretch to compare our industry to a company like Netflix, the similarities are eye-opening. It was probably a tough decision for Netflix to switch to a membership model, but if they hadn’t someone else would have.