By Michelle Knowles
The wonderful world of passive income—retail! It should literally be selling itself. There are so many salons that are getting into the retail mindset and there are so many things to offer that it can be a bit overwhelming.
Toys, treats, clothing, food and other accessories take up valuable space. The trick is finding items that move quickly for maximum profit and minimal effort.
If you are thinking about adding a retail area to your salon but don’t know where to begin, here are a few things to help you decide.
Every salon has its own “flavor”, that is, its own types of services; a certain demographic or type of client that uses your services; or a set of services that is expected by your clients. For the beginning retailer, this could mean that you offer combs, brushes and a detangling spray. These items not only bring in passive income but may also decrease the dematting and brushing time of the next grooming visit.
Many clients really like the way their pet feels and smells when they retrieve their pets from a fresh grooming session. Most clients really love to pamper their pets in between grooming, and for some, there may be a circumstance where the pet needs to be bathed. Instead of them using whatever they have on hand, like dish soap, baby shampoo or grocery store shampoo, offer retail sizes of the shampoo, conditioner and perfume that you use.
Everyday issues like dry noses and pads are often overlooked by owners. Have a cream or a lotion on hand to sell them—and you can even make your own! These types of items tend to fly off the shelf because the owner sees a benefit for the dog and is willing to pay for the product. For very hot or very cold areas, it might be beneficial to carry boots or some sort of protective footwear if your clients hike their dogs in your area. Teaching them how to get their dogs to accept the boots can be a fun way to discuss foot care.
Ear care is also an overlooked item that may do well in a salon setting. Provide a gentle but effective option for your clients to clean their pets’ ears with. They trust you to offer products that won’t hurt their pet.
If you offer spa services, this is the best way to use continuity throughout the spa experience. Human spas use this concept as the foundation to gather repeat clients. Develop a beautiful menu of services, charge appropriately and then offer a retail experience at the end that will reinforce the therapeutic value of the groom.
Items that are for sale should compliment the services that you offer and resonate with the type of client that you care for. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to make preparations for your clients to purchase or simply gather retail sizes of the items that you use and make an at–home care package that gives the client an effective group of products that will help them care for their pet at home.
Labeling and branding the products to your shop is a finishing touch that keeps clients coming back for your “special” products. Another idea that I have used in the past is to make small batches of labels that have the “pet of the month” picture on them. Clients really get a kick out of the fact that their pet is being used as a model on your branded products!
Clothes, treats and food are an advanced step in the retail game and require square footage, rotating stock and seasonal offerings. These products can be tricky to move as there are so many other stores that offer these items. You may find a niche with your clientele or find really unique items that can’t be found at the local big box stores.
There are so many ways to do retail. Find the ways that boost your services and compliment your shop environment. If a client or clients keep asking for a certain product, that means this is an item that you should probably carry. A good way to get ideas for things that clients might want is to simply have them fill out a survey and get a free foot soak or other type of service to thank them for their time and opinion.
Retail can be very lucrative if done properly and a fun way to bring new clientele to your salon. Finding the right mix of items to sell is an adventure and a good way to expand your services and grow your business.