Christmas is the peak services and retail period of the year and preparation must start now. There is lots of work to do if you want to get the best results for your salon at Christmas.
First and foremost is to do some business planning – the key issue is timing. The date for Christmas does not change and by December 24th your Christmas business is done, so plan backwards and consider the following:
- What are the peak number of clients, retail orders and vouchers that you can handle each day?
- Do you have adequate staff in place and fully trained?
- How much retail stock will you need on hand?
- Have you ordered novelty items?
- What about pre-Christmas events promotions and sales?
- Do you have Christmas gift cards, gift wrapping materials and space?
- What is your plan to maximise gift voucher sales and to ensure vouchers are redeemed in January and February?
There are two guarantees: Christmas will happen, it is the dominant retail period, and people will still spend on gifts for the holiday season, so be ready to maximise all opportunities. Spending a little time developing your strategy can deliver better sales results.
Over the last few years, Christmas online shopping has become a trend, so it is a good idea to review your overall e-commerce strategy and to look at how you can develop a more successful online Christmas retail business.
Buying online for Christmas starts as early as September, but the real peak starts from mid-November. This year we will expect to see a busy and long buying period. Then, after Christmas it will still be important to sell off overstocked items at bargain prices. To be ready for a successful salon and online Christmas, you have to think of a number of issues such as:
- Is your online store ready? Now is the time to clean up old content and get rid of out of date promotions and stock information.
- Do you have the products to sell? Buying stock early can have a negative cash flow affect on your salon, so look at the possibility of commitment with deliveries later.
- Make sure you provide specific advice regarding returns and refunds as you don’t want to get stuck after Christmas.
- Christmas is about gifts for others, more than about personal purchases. This may mean that you can offer different categorisation for your salon retail area and online store at Christmas, for example, ‘gifts for 18 – 24 year olds’ or ‘gifts for him’.
- Be as inventive as you need to stand out from the crowd. Remember people buying gifts want ideas, so give them some.
- Do you have a secure checkout process?
- Think about using paid advertising – this can be a wise investment.
- Are you offering Christmas specials? You can put up special ‘Christmas only’ products that have special pre-Christmas offers. Good quality novelty items will sell, along with your regular skincare and make-up stock.
- Think of price range so the you fit everyone’s budget.
- Gift cards and free gift wrapping can be easily added to your service.
- After Christmas is a great time for specials and clients on holiday like to shop around for bargains, so don’t think everything stops on December 25th. The smart salon owners will be ready with Boxing Day and New Year special campaigns.
Implement your strategy to increase you gift vouch sales, give you salon a Christmas theme, train all your staff to up-sell services, vouchers and retail gifts.
All sales professionals have to prepare properly, you have to be mentally and physically prepared, be well groomed, have the salon surroundings aesthetically prepared and have your targets in place. When training your salon team, use the following steps:
- Know your stock inside out, such as stock in hand, available delivery times and advertising schedules and promotions.
- Create an atmosphere that your salon is having the biggest event ever! Look busy and successful. Make sure to display any awards, mementos of achievement and testimonials that allow clients to see the true professionals they are dealing with.
- Remain upbeat and in a positive state of mind – the confident aura with which you carry yourself will go a long way towards creating the right atmosphere.
- Know your competition and all their strengths and weaknesses. Know your brands and all the corresponding product information. When you know more than anyone else, there is really no need for a client to book anywhere else.
- Have confidence in your product line and the salon you work in – this will allow you to make higher sales.
- Get to know your clients and how to relate to them.
- Be prepared with price lists, costs and product information. Looking and behaving organised makes a difference to the client.
- Always use confident and friendly body language.
Keep all of these points in mind in the run up to Christmas. A client picks up on everything. It is a known fact that the client makes their decision on whether they are at the place they are going to buy in the first few seconds!
Take time to be prepared for the festive selling season and your sales figures will reflect your hard efforts – practise and preparation will make it perfect!