You can't afford to NOT have an online shop. We are going to take you through the 10 key reasons why your salon needs to have an online shop and help you understand why adding one to your existing website can add a huge amount of value to your business and your clients.
Creating a successful salon business today means much more than just providing treatments to your clients. The most profitable salons operating today offer a wide range of services and products and seek to develop multiple income streams so that they can optimise the amount of revenue they can earn from each client. One of the key ways to achieve this is through an online shop.
Your clients are going to spend money on cosmetics and hair products every year. It makes sense that YOU are their go-to source for these products and they spend their money with your business. Of course, you can and should make sales during a salon visit via the recommendations you make during treatment but this only presents a limited window of opportunity. An online shop will greatly augment these sales because you are available to them 24 hours a day all year round, plus people have a proven tendency to spend more when shopping online.
In addition, you can expand your salon footprint with spillover sales to your client's friends and family. Over time you can build an entire ecosphere around your salon business ensuring you get the lion's share of their annual spend.
You will make more money………… The primary income source of your salon comes from providing treatments to your clients. According to the NHF, the UK’s largest trade body for hairdressing, barbering and beauty salons and which represents over 5,000 businesses, the average salon revenue in their survey earned by 67% of their membership was less than £99k and according toThe Salon Business in their study in America, the average profit was 8.5% but ranged from
2% to 17%. The products you sell in your online shop will typically have a much higher margin than the treatments you provide in your salon. In many cases in excess of 70%. This figure is made even more attractive because the cost to provide these products via an online store is very small compared to providing treatments in your salon meaning that you greatly improve your Salons profitability by selling products online. For example, if you sell just 10 products per week at an average price of €50 you will add €26k to your turnover, and of that, at least €18.2k of that will be pure profit. The cost to set up an online salon shop can be as little as €800 so the return on this investment is huge and is easily repay itself in 1 month.
An e-shop will give your salon brand more credibility and allow you to expand your Salon footprint beyond your town and into the rest of the world or at least Ireland, tapping into many more potential customers. Many salons have enhanced or differentiated themselves by adding complementary products to their store. For example adding exclusive clothing ranges, scents & perfumes, or gifts. They have identified and developed niches such as “beauty for all” focused on all genders, the young or mature markets and expanded and differentiated their salon brands. You can look for strategic partnerships with other local businesses that have a complementary offering and bring them together to make a unique local offering. Selling online Gift vouchers to your existing clients means that you are creating a sales channel for new potential clients when these gifts are made to friends and family and they come to your website and shop to redeem them. Once you have made the investment in a shop you need to leverage it by creating an ecosphere around your salon which leverages your existing clients and their relationships and by embedding yourself into the local community.
You can offer Online Skin Consultancy Services, this service is particularly effective for beauty salons that can recommend products for specific skin conditions. The client can upload photographs of themselves and then you can make a product recommendation that will best suit their needs after they have been reviewed by you. This can be very powerful if you provide a discount code as part of the consultancy that when used to buy the recommended products from your shop effectively make the consultancy service provided free.
You will have an “always open” virtual presence 24 hours per day 365 days per year. Given the recent lockdown experiences of the Covid pandemic, it is clear that you need to provide alternative ways that you and your clients can connect other than meeting at your salon. This is really effective when combined with a mobile app that your clients can download to their phones making your shop constantly available to a captive audience when they are scrolling through their phones in bed or in waiting rooms or at the school gate.
You will provide a more efficient channel for you and your client through which to buy products. We have all experienced clients trying to order from us using a multitude of channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, text, Instagram etc. By creating an online shop on your website and/or a mobile app you reduce this to just one. This makes it much easier for you to manage and saves time. It drives the client through a structured buying process where all the necessary information, (quantity, size delivery address etc) is collected at the outset and the product is paid for using the chosen payment method at the end. They will get confirmations and delivery notifications at each stage of the fulfilment process. In addition, you can provide much more information regarding the product than you could otherwise, such as the ingredients and details on the product application and frequency.
You can expand the product range. You can display many more products in your store than you can physically stock in your Salon. In addition, you can make product recommendations to your clients that complement their habitual purchases as they view and explore or at checkout. A purchase can be further encouraged by adding a “try it for the first time” discount code.
Offer Gift Vouchers for customers to spend in your e-store during special occasions. Gift card sales bring in money when they’re purchased because you get the cash in advance, but they also offer an opportunity for additional sales when they’re redeemed. A very high proportion of clients that use gift cards spend more than the face value of the voucher. They perceive the money value of the gift voucher as “Free or extra”. They also have the benefit of leveraging your existing clients to identify new customers for you and attract them to your brand. Gift vouchers or cards are also perfect for seasonal marketing campaigns such as Christmas and Mother's Day.
You will build a marketing database over time. Each time your clients buy products they will be able to opt into your marketing program when they submit their details at payment. Over time you will develop a valuable resource with wh
ich to build email campaigns around and market offers and promotions to engage your clients and drive further sales.
Enable more sophisticated social media marketing. You can tag products on Instagram and Facebook and use this as a hook to draw people to your shop to purchase the product in a click. You can create promotions and discounts and post these onto your social media pages to be used as a “once-off” and to persuade new customers to click through. This has the double benefit of increasing your online product sales but also can potentially attract new clients that might be interested in the treatments you provide.
Understanding and addressing the needs of your client as and when they happen is crucial to ensuring that the entire experience that your clients have as they interact with your Salon, either in person or virtually, is a positive one and is very important to ensuring that your Salon Branding has the professional "veneer" necessary to deliver the over the impression of integrity and professionalism so necessary to be successful in this industry.
The fact of the matter is that you can drive enormous benefits from an online shop for a modest cash investment. At the moment the local authority will pay 50% of the cost of setting up an online shop through the online trading voucher scheme. This is a great opportunity to get free funding to expand your salon's capabilities. For more detailed information about how to apply and get the grant, read our e-book “A Salon’s Guide to the Trading Online Voucher scheme”
However, operating an online shop successfully does require some investment in time and effort. The benefits do not come just because you have a shop, you need to stock products clients want to buy at prices they want to pay and then ensure they know about it through consistent marketing, but the facts show that if achieved, a salon online shop will contribute significantly to the growth and reputation of your salon and the ultimate success of your business. Read our blog on Quick & Easy Ways To Grow Your Salon Online Sales and our e-book Boost Turnover By 70%-How To Add A Rocket To Your Salon's Retails Sales
Stephenie Mitchell from Sunnystorm Marketing has an excellent blog on how to market a salon shop.