Salon Retail Ideas
to
Create a Retailing Culture


Salon retail ideas will support your stylists, making them and the salon a lot more money. Creating a salon retailing culture is your first priority to success.

Keeping stylists actively engaged with the salon business is a constant challenge for owners and managers.

Not only do the salons need the retailing advantage to pay the bills, but so do the individual stylists.

Creating a Salon Retailing Culture

We are going to focus on salon retailing contests but I want to discuss what is needed to make your contests successful.

In my experience as a salon manager I came up with lots of salon retail ideas. I can tell you that you can run contests all day long but without someone leading the way you won't have good participation.

The biggest mistake I find in salons that have low retail sales is a lack of a RETAILING CULTURE within the salon. 

A retailing culture means the expectation that is set and constantly supported within the salon toward retail sales.  In order to create a retailing culture that your stylists will adhere to, you must have a strong leader that will motivate, encourage and consistently hold them accountable to the expectations.

The trick is to SET the sales expectations with the stylists and help them meet them through consistent coaching and fun retailing contests.

Setting Your Retail Expectations

It is best to communicate your employee expectations from the beginning when they are hired.  Everything should be spelled out clearly and signed so they are aware.

Your salon retail goals should be displayed clearly for all to see.  It is not a secret to keep in a folder only you have access to.  No one can hit a target they can't see.

This being said, stylists don't respond to numbers very well! Putting numbers on the board won't mean much without an investment on their part.

You have to somehow get them to buy into your culture and take some personal responsibility for sales.

You do this through strong leadership, team building and instilling pride in their contribution to the success of the salon.

Come up with your own salon retail ideas to push your staff to success.

Building the Culture

The more salon retail ideas you have the easier it is to build a retailing culture.

Once everyone is fully aware what is expected of them, it takes a constant effort to keep the desired culture alive.

In the example below, Christina, a manager, thought about some salon retail ideas and thought having a meeting would be enough to boost the salon sales.

Christina was managing a neighborhood salon.  Her girls had become comfortable in their routine. Service sales were good but no one was retailing.  The only sales that were being made were from guests picking up their favorite product.  Christina had a salon meeting and told her stylists that retail sales needed to pick up.  Everyone agreed and went home.  Sales didn't budge in the following weeks.  The stylists continued to do what they always did, even though they knew what needed to be done.

Moral of the story:  Nothing changed. Christina said it but didn't live it and hold them accountable.  She didn't set an example. She thought they would change on their own. But we know that stylists won't change on their own unless someone makes them through solid leadership.

The salon manager could be your leader for retailing, however I would like you to consider appointing a team member as a "Retail Coach." The manager already has plenty to do and this would delegate some responsibility for salon retail ideas.

This retail coach would need to have strong sales numbers along with natural leadership abilities.  Not everyone is cut out for this role.  It should be someone who the stylists respect, like and who shows potential for career development within your salon. This is a good opportunity to mold a team member for future management.

The Retail Coach would be in charge of the salon retail ideas and contests. She would keep track of the goals, individual performance, motivation and coaching those with weak sales skills.

Salon Retail Ideas to Help Support Your Stylists

There are 4 things you need to have a successful salon retail culture.

  1. Product Education, and lots of it!
  2. Weekly retail goals.
  3. Strong, consistent leadership from a staff member with retail credibility.
  4. Fun, motivating retail contests with good prizes worthy of the effort.

Proper merchandising is one salon retail idea that will support your sales success. Keep your displays full, clean and fronted!


1.  Product Education:  Whoever your beauty supply distributor is, they have educators who will come to your salon and give classes for free.  The product lines also have educators you can call for a class.  At the very least, you can have your "retail coach" do all the research on your product lines and teach a class for your stylists. (Pay her for her time and effort) Or you could divide up your product lines and have each stylist research one and present the benefits and selling angles in a salon meeting. Like, "What's your favorite product to sell and why?"


2.  Set weekly sales goals:  Make it a permanent fixture in the break room.  Set the goals and keep a running total of where you stand.  You could break it down into individual goals and performance. Have them post their own numbers daily in red or black, depending on where they stand in meeting the expectations. The board will come in handy for contests.

I found that though stylists do not respond to numbers or graphs, they do respond to cartoony characters!  I guess we are visual as hairdressers. I have had many salon retail ideas and this is just one of them. (Not all of my ideas are gold! lol)

I know how silly this may look, but believe me when I say it worked.  I increased retail sales dramatically using these few tips.

Here is just one example.

I made individual cartoon cars, birds, horses, frogs, etc. for different weeks.  I laminated them and attached magnets to the back of each one.  This way you can use dry erase markers to write their name and retail total on the character being used for that particular contest.  And when you lose or gain a new employee, you don't need to make new ones.

I changed the contests often but kept some type of character group up every pay period so the stylists had a visual of their retail sales and knew who was performing and who wasn't. 

This helps a lot when it comes to helping your stylists make retail commission!  And remember, when they are making money your salon is making money.

How do frogs, etc. help? By constantly striving to drive retail sales.  For instance:

  • Frogs:  Hop to the front of the line.
  • Birds:  Who can fly the highest?
  • Horses:  Racing.
  • Monkeys:  Climbing a ladder to the top.

3.  Strong, consistent leadership from a staff member with retail credibility:  This retail leader needs to set the standard within the salon by addressing retail solutions with EVERY CLIENT.  The moment she drops the ball the culture begins to decline.  Consistency is key here.  Choose wisely.  She also needs to motivate your stylists in a fun way, praise them regularly and coach them privately. She should be easily approachable. She should have the creativity to come up with salon retail ideas to boost sales, or at least be able and willing to research methods.


4. Fun, motivating retail contests with good prizes worthy of the effort: ´╗┐Salon retail contest ideas.

As far as the prize goes, shake it up.  Don't offer the same prize over and over again.  This is another mistake many make. Yeah, a pedicure is nice but I get them anyway.  Get creative on your prizes and make it worth their time.

Some prize ideas:

  • A massage
  • Gift Cards to restaurants
  • A $50 bill
  • Spray Tan sessions
  • Waxing Salon certificate
  • Facial
  • Reflexology
  • Parafin machine
  • Home waxing machine
  • New clippers
  • New scissors
  • Products for their station
  • Stylist jewelry like scissor bracelet
  • A fancy apron
  • Gas card
  • Starbucks
  • Edible Fruit basket
  • High end cosmetics or facial products
  • Lottery tickets
  • A Kindle
  • A special day or weekend off
  • A long lunch hour where you pick up the check

Set aside $100 a month for contest incentives.  With the right leadership and prizes you will easily recoup that money.  Think of it as an investment in your team building which translates into happy employees and clients.

Prize Tips

  • Can claim the expense on your taxes
  • Grab items from your professional beauty supply company that go on clearance, like equipment specials
  • Get a lot of your prizes for the year from Hair Shows

Cycle your contests.  You can do a "pay period" contest, a one day contest, a week contest or a month contest. You can run them for individual stylists or team them up. Be sure to team up your weak ones with your strong ones to help them along and keep the contests fair.

Plan your month out ahead of time keeping your $100 budget in mind.  Also work your contests around special manufacturer sales, salon seasons, etc.

For example, July is Liter Duo month for the big manufacturers. If your salon carries TIGI, July is a good month to stock up on duos and run your duo contest.

In December, the manufacturers put out lots of gift combos.  That is a good time to move your combo stock with a Christmas contest.

Is a manufacturer rolling out a new product?  Design a contest around selling the new product.  This will help educate your clients on the new offering.

August is back to school. What contest can your salon run for that?

See how it all works to build your retailing culture?

Is your brain working on your own salon retail ideas now?


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How I More than DOUBLED Retail Sales in One Month.

I once dedicated a month to changing the culture within the salon to retailing.  I did it through educating the stylists, having a team display contest, coaching consistently and springboarding off of duo month. We increased sales a little over 100% in that month and turned around the expectation within the salon to sales!

From that month forward the stylists knew what they were capable of and saw the difference in their paychecks.  They were now invested in the success of the salon sales.

It will work for you too!

Are You Ready to Build a Salon
Retailing Culture?

Building a salon retailing culture is much easier if you have a definitive starting point to propel you toward success.

I turned a salon around by focusing all energy in one month to our retail.  I pulled out every salon retail idea I had, hoping that once the stylists felt the fattening of their wallet they would get hungry for more.  And they did! 

From that month on I only had to stay consistent to the culture.  If you backslide you will lose the ground you gained so keep your foot on the gas.

Write out your plan of action and start building your salon retailing culture today.

Your Retailing Culture Plan of Action:

Are you ready to drive retail sales in your salon?  Then make the commitment and write your plan.

  •  What day will you begin your month of transformation?
  • Who will be your Retail Coach?  (Will your stylists listen to her? Will she hold herself and others accountable in a fair way?)
  • How can you educate your stylists on one product line for this month?
  • Are there any manufacturer specials to use for the month?
  • What visual can you use to appeal to your particular stylists and salon? (Foo Foo girls may not respond to cartoon cars but may respond to petals on a rose for every $50 in retail sold.)
  • Make sure your Retail Coach is prepared to coach your weak links and help them make more commission.  Your stylists won't sell for YOU but they will sell for commission. Everyone wins.
  • What contest would be appropriate for this month?
  • What awesome prize would they fight for this month? (For your month of retail culture launch, I suggest you use the whole $100 for your prize to really make them invest. I bought a new pair of clippers that came in a designer bag and was on sale at beauty supply. I put a big bow on it and hung the bag in the break room with a sign that said, "Who wants me?" They fought like crazy for new equipment!)
  • Set a date for a salon meeting before your month launch. Introduce your Retail Coach and explain to the staff how you are building a retailing culture so everyone can make more commission. Be specific on how your Retail Coach is there to help and emphasize the fun too.

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