By Michelle Knowles
Your stuff is dusty, the tags are bent and there is dog hair stuck to the edges of the price stickers. Your items look more like a garage sale instead of an exciting and fun way to boost your bottom line.
Sometimes it may seem like other shops have the magic touch with a thriving retail area, while your retail area leaves you sad. Picking the items to sell in your front room may seem mysterious, but with a little research you can pinpoint exactly what your clients will purchase from you, and how often.
All salons have many things in common, but all have their differences, too. Demographics play an important part in deciding what to sell. A great way to help you decide what to have in your front room is simply to poll your clients. Clients love that you are thinking about how to make their lives more convenient and most will gladly answer a few questions on what they would like to have available in your store. Also knowing what big chain stores are around you and what your neighboring salons are selling can often be a good way to know what items to avoid, as well as what items can be uniquely yours.
Toys can be fun items, and seeing a pet get excited about a new toy is always heartwarming. But, if you are selling the same items that can be found at the big box stores, why would your clients make a special trip to buy that item from you? Make sure that the toys you sell are unique and something that clients cannot readily find somewhere else.
Food can be a very lucrative way to expand your item list. But there are pros and cons to selling pet food. The pros are that your clients can come to you for more than just grooming and they will respect you as a pet expert for suggesting the healthiest food choices for their pet. But, the cons are, you have to watch for expiration dates, the food bags themselves require a lot of valuable floor space in your shop, and delivery times and ordering have to be down to an exact science so you don’t leave your clients looking to other sources when the food they buy from you is out of stock.
Pet clothing is also a really fun way to “dress up” your shelves. So many more people are buying clothing items for their pets than they used to, and with a little time spent searching the internet, you can find unique clothing that no one else carries. Be prepared for people that want to try on everything before buying; a lot of times it can trash your display and soil more clothing than is purchased.
Treats are a wonderful way to boost your sales. There are even salons that have an extensive “biscuit bar” with all kinds of creative designs and flavors. If you order your treats, it carries the same risks as food. And if you make them, you should love making them or it just becomes a chore.
Shampoo, Conditioner and Skin & Coat Care Products
Offering the same products you use at your salon can create a seamless story for your clients and bond them to you and your special services. These items can be a foot soak, ear cleaner, eye cleaner, cream for noses, mineral spray for pets with allergies…really, the sky is the limit in this area.
Combs and brushes that are handy in the front room could mean the world to a client that loves to primp their pet at home. This is also a great way to open a conversation with a client that really needs help with brushing and keeping their pet healthy and clean in between grooms.
Artisan or Locally–Crafted
The trend of items that are custom–crafted is fashionable and desirable. Do you have a clientele that would purchase educational toys for their pet? Boots for hiking? Coffee mugs? Hand–painted portraits or handmade sweaters? Most clients also love supporting other local small businesses, so carrying any pet–related products that can be sourced locally is a great sell. These items can be very unique and eye–catching, but make sure that your clients are really digging your stuff—and if they aren’t buying it, get rid of it!
Starting out with retail is as easy as finding one or two things that your clients really like and that you must restock often. Only add one or two items at a time so that you don’t waste your money on things that don’t really move. If you are currently selling retail and your shelves aren’t showing you any love, pare down your item list until the only things left are the ones that are movers. Also, I cannot stress enough that the items themselves should be displayed in a way to incite interest and kept immaculate.
View your retail area as if you were the one deciding on a purchase. Do you really want to buy anything on your own shelves? If not, it may be time to give your retail area a little revamping! ✂️