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Level Up Your Salon Retail Game

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

If the last two years have taught us anything as salon professionals, it’s to expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst. That sounds bleak, but as salon owners, our businesses were deemed non-essential and were mandated to shut down. We were not able to provide the services that create revenue to keep our doors open. Although this was an absolute blow to many business owners and service providers, it also provided an opportunity to create service from a distance. It made us realize how important retail sales are and allowed for many salons to keep their doors open as the only stream of income.

In this post, we’re going to cover why retail is not only important but imperative in your salon business, how to sell without feeling salesy, how to use social media to increase retail sales, and how to boost morale and make retailing exciting for your team.

Why Retail is Important in a Salon

It may seem obvious, but the main reason why retail in a salon is so important is because it generates a new stream of revenue. In an industry where we only receive income in exchange for time, retail is a way to level up for stylists and owners without the time commitment. The reality of the situation is there are only so many hours in a day, and without retail opportunities, the amount of revenue that can be generated by a salon professional is limited.

The pandemic forced us to shine a light on the importance of retail and how to use it to not only to stay afloat, but to build more meaningful relationships with guests and provide them with an experience outside of the salon service. Fact: retail purchases increase client loyalty and trust. Furthermore, as service providers, offering retail should be an extension of the service. If we haven't sent our client home with product to protect their investment, have we really done our job? Stop looking at retail as being salesy and more of an extension of the service.

Beauty Consultant VS Service Provider

What does a full salon service look like? Does it start when your guest walks through the door and end when they leave? What good is the beautiful service you’ve provided for them if they don’t know how to maintain it between appointments?

Your clients are walking billboards- your work is displayed ON them and how their hair, nails, lashes etc look between appointments is a direct reflection of your work.

Salon professionals need to elevate their business by including at home care in their full service. Educating your guests on which products will help them maintain and recreate their look at home isn’t salesy or pushy, it’s providing a FULL service. Changing your perspective on how retail can enhance client experience and viewing it as an insurance policy for their investment can make retailing feel more authentic and less forced.

Before a single product is ever sold, the most important step to retailing is EDUCATION. Salon professionals not only need to know why this product is worth the investment, but they need to educate their clients on WHY they need it and what it will do for their hair. Your guests will be purchasing at home care regardless- why wouldn’t they buy it from you- the expert who works with them hands on?

We often forget that people come to us for our expertise and because they trust us- it is a disservice to them to not offer and educate them on what products they need to maintain their look. It is none of your business what your guest wants to spend or has budgeted for their salon visit, however, it IS your business to offer a complete service by recommending maintenance products to ensure they protect their beauty investment with you.

Having a loyalty rewards program in your salon is also an incredible way to incentivize retail sales! Check out Why you Should Launch a Salon or Spa Loyalty Program

NO doesn’t mean NEVER, it means NOT RIGHT NOW.

"No" Can be the scariest thing to hear when recommending retail, but we need to start embracing it instead of avoiding it! As Babe Ruth (and A Cinderella Story ) taught us- “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

If your client says no to a recommendation, don’t let it discourage you. They could need time to think on it before taking the plunge, they might be waiting to purchase it at their next appointment- who knows! It’s not your job to figure out why they said no, it IS your job to offer a full service experience including maintenance recommendations.

Using Social Media for Retail

It’s not enough just to have a gorgeous retail area anymore, there are also ample retail opportunities to utilize online! Whether or not you’ve started exploring e-commerce, you can utilize social media platforms to create awareness around retail products. Here are some ideas for how to showcase your favourite products and how that will hopefully translate into sales!

1. Tutorials.

Make a video tutorial using products you offer for retail. Do a styling video on yourself or a client and show exactly how to use the products you’re promoting. Having people see HOW you use a product is more impactful than we realize. We often forget that many people don’t have a natural ability to style their hair or do their makeup. Breaking it down to the basics makes it less intimidating for them to try it themselves.

2. Product features.

There are gorgeous photos on Instagram, Pinterest, and on on brand websites for you to utilize and share on your own social pages. While this is encouraged, I also challenge you to take your own product feature photos. Find a cool backdrop in your salon, hold up a product you used to to create a look next to the finished result, have your clients take pics of their products at home, the opportunities are endless! Adding your personality and brand to product photos keeps it interesting and feels more authentic and genuine than reposting all the time!

3. Ask questions to your following.

Instead of them coming to you with questions, ask THEM the questions and recommend accordingly. Social media is all about ease of use and convenience and your following will appreciate you taking the guesswork out of finding their new favourite product!

4. Keep on keeping’ on.

It can be frustrating doing the extra work and posting regularly about retail products along with service features- but focus on the awareness you are creating. Each post teaches us what works and what doesn’t- adjust accordingly. Retailing on social media can feel a lot like fishing, sometimes it takes 100 casts to get one bite, but oh is that one bite so worth it!

Make it Fun - Retail Gamification

All humans are driven by incentives, and regardless of what those incentives may be, it’s important to recognize a reward can help incentivize sales. A reward or an incentive doesn’t have to have monetary value, it can be as simple as bragging rights or acknowledgment of a job well done.

Retail gamification with an end goal and reward of sorts can be an awesome way to incentivize both team members and yourself to push yourself to the next level in retail therefore increasing revenue. Here are some amazing retail gamification and challenges that we love.


This is a great way to challenge service providers to step out of their comfort zone by providing them with ideas to sell products that they don’t typically focus on.

2. Create your own retail challenge board game.

Have different goals to reach and once they have been, have something physical to move on the board to spark a little healthy competition amongst your team. Board games bring out the competitive side in most of us and sometimes this type of physical representation of a team member's retail success can help drive another to work harder!

3. Team challenge.

Split your team into smaller groups and give each group a mystery box of different products. These products could be new features or ones that are overlooked but the goal is to have your team focus on specific products. Have each group create a retail strategy for the duration of the challenge and whichever team collectively sells the most of the products in their mystery box wins!

Check out Tips For Growing Your Salon Retail Sales for even more recommendations!

Changing your mindset around selling retail is the first step in growing retail in your salon business. You are so much more than just a service provider and once you realize this, the rest will fall into place.

We challenge you all, service providers and salon owners alike, to reevaluate how you look at retailing to your guests. Tackle any uneasy feelings about selling by looking at it head on and establishing a plan of action. Use one of our suggestions for a retail challenge or game to incentivize retail for yourself and/or your team or create your own! We'd absolutely love to see what you do and hear how it helped to level up your retail game- tag us on social with your retail promotions and challenge ideas!

We can't wait to see you level up! Follow along on social media @salon.s.o.s for all of the digital marketing tips and tricks you need to crush your social marketing goals.

'Til next time,

Your Team at Salon S.O.S

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