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How & why you should retail beauty products

By Scratch Staff | 21 February 2019 | Expert Advice, Feature

Susan Routledge 1200

Esteemed salon & spa business consultant, Susan Routledge, serves up advice on how & why you should make the most of retail opportunities..

Q: Why is it so important for a nail business to offer retail products?

Retailing is such an integral and important part of any nail business. It is impossible to give a full service without having a homecare regime to support your hard work and to keep your clients’ hands and nails looking amazing. Each client needs to be a walking advert for your business, and a monthly client coming for one-hour treatment at a manicure desk is still left with 729 hours without your care and needing homecare solutions.

Q: How can a business owner identify what products to buy – and how much stock to invest in?

The easiest products to retail are those that are relevant to your treatments, and those introduced to clients as part of their treatment. You may also like to retail small gift ideas and seasonal stock, but they all need to be planned and very carefully monitored. It is very easy to get tempted by special offers to buy larger quantities, but extra stock sitting on shelves can eat away at your cashflow.

Your products need to enhance and complement your brand, so ensure you only use reputable companies and try, test and research before spending. Stock take at least once a month so you know what to accurately order, and monitor fashion trends to stay current with colours.

Q: What about stock that’s no longer needed or not selling?

If you think you have overstocked, then pro-actively link sell the products with treatments or gift vouchers. Consider a flash sale where you add value to popular products with a special package price. This way you aren’t hampering regular sales by deep discounting, just enhancing and encouraging more sales with an added value offer.

Q: What advice do you have for the sales process?

Knowledge sells and boosts confidence. Ensure that you are well informed about not only your own products, but what is trending. Explain your product choices to the client during every stage of the treatment and this will aid the decision-making process at the till.

Q: How can a business owner encourage staff members to retail?

Consider incentives, which must be fun for all involved, motivating and affordable to the business. Your point of difference from competitors must be your expertise and professional advice. Break down the treatment so that 70% of the time is clients talking about themselves, 20% of the time the nail tech can talk about themselves and the remaining 10% can be focused on treatments and homecare. It is only six minutes per hour but essential.

Q: What is your advice for making a retail area look attractive?

You need to decide on the key areas where client’s eyes focus and think about how you want the client to act. You may choose one area or a selection of smaller display areas. Do you want them to test the products, touch and feel the packaging, or view from afar? Look to your suppliers for nice imagery and display stands for a professional feel.

Q: How can techs encourage clients to buy from them – and not the internet or larger chains?

As a small business owner, you have more flexibility to personalise your client’s buying experience. Offer a seven-day money back guarantee on products. The statistics from both businesses of 30 years and the salons I work with, show that you will get very few products ever returned. Any that are returned can get used within treatments without waste. You could also price homecare products as part of a specific treatment package. Loyalty card schemes are also a popular way to encourage consistent sales, too.


Susan offers further retail hints and tips in her book, The Little Book of Client Retention, which features over 50 ways to improve your business.

She has 10 giftwrapped copies to give away to Scratch readers who enter the competition by clicking here