Salon Growth Strategies that Work
Updated: Mar 31
Are you finding that the salon is slow these days? Every salon company has busier and slower periods during the year and we all know that Covid has impacted our worlds and that business is now more unpredictable than ever. There are times during the year that as a salon owner or independent stylist, you need to stimulate your business. Read on to discover some salon growth strategies that actually work!
The first thing you need to do is be very clear on what your objective is. One key element that we always teach in our salon marketing trainings is the need to have priorities and to focus your energy. You’re already busy enough at the salon aren’t you?? So rather than panicking and trying to do everything, you’ll actually get much further ahead by taking a bit of time to determine the most important things - the priorities – that will have the biggest impact on your business. Then focus on those. When people talk about working smarter, not harder, they kind of miss the point. You still have to work hard, but what’s important is to be working on the RIGHT things.
So let’s look at some of the typical sales growth objectives that salons have:
Increase the average ticket – that is, the amount of money that each client spends
during their visit.
Increase retail sales.
Increase service sales (especially higher ticket services like color and/or facials).
Stimulate business during slower days/hours.
Now it’s easy to say, I want to increase all of those! If you try to do all of them at the same time, you will likely do none of them very well. You’re better off focusing on the one that you think is the most important right now for your business, and work hard to do that really well. Then once you are pleased with the results, you can focus on a 2 nd objective.
You’ll notice that attracting new clients is not on this list. We’ve written an entire article about the best ways to get new clients in your salon since it’s a big topic. In this article, we will focus on how you can do more with the clients you’ve already got.
Salon Objective: Increase the average ticket
1. Add-on Services: In order to get clients to spend more money during each visit, they
need to be experiencing more services and/or purchasing retail products. We address
retail in the next section below, so let’s focus on add-on services here. Your add-on
services are the ones that clients can quickly and easily have during or around their
primary service. Think backbar treatment, brow wax, lip wax, brow tint, etc.. Ideally
you want to think of services that you can perform during the primary service so that it
isn’t really adding much extra time. Why are clients not having many of these services
done today? Often it’s simply because they aren’t aware of them!
You may promote these services to individual clients based on their ‘fit’. The first time, you may offer the service for free so they can try it. Think of it as sampling. It’s important that you do it strategically though. Consider this example: Mary is here for her 6 week root touch up service today.
You can ask her about some of the things that she doesn’t like about her hair and then respond with “Mary, many of my clients enjoy our deep conditioning treatment.
It smooths out the hair cuticle and provides longer lasting shine and also holds onto the color longer. I would love for you to experience this and would be happy to offer this as a complimentary add-on service today. And just so you know, if you choose to have it again on a future visit, it’s only an additional $15.”
You can use a similar technique to strategically sample other add-on services. Often the client will love the experience and end up paying for that service on future visits because it’s affordable, convenient (happens during their existing visit anyways), and because they’ll most likely love the result.
2. Bundles: Another attractive way to encourage clients to spend more on a visit is to offer service bundles. Take popular services (such as a permanent haircolor), add 1 or 2
smaller services to it and promote it at a special price. You can often do this seasonally
and come up with a fun name for your special offer. The keys to choosing the right
services to bundle are:
a. Choose services that naturally match together so that there is a theme.
b. Choose add-on services that you can perform during the primary service so that
it doesn’t take much extra time.
c. Choose add-on services that have a low cost, high margin for you. This way you
can afford to provide it at a special price when bundled.
These are great techniques for getting a client to consider new service options which
will increase the amount they are spending on each visit, without taking much extra
Salon Objective: Increase retail
1. Tell, don’t Sell: There are many different ways to try and stimulate retail sales, so much that we have an entire article on tips to grow your salon retail sales. The best strategy to increase your retail is to simply talk about the products. To every client. Every time.
And we don’t mean this in a robotic way where you simply ask if the client needs more
shampoo. As their beauty expert, incorporate the discussion into the service
experience. Talk about the products that you are using during the service, why you
chose those particular products for your client and the incredible result that they are
helping achieve. You would be amazed at how much your salon retail sales would
increase if every service provider simply talked about the products during the service.
No more selling necessary! By providing beauty advice and explaining what you are
using, the products will sell themselves.
2. Implement a Loyalty Program: In today’s world, consumers have loyalty point options at most retail stores they visit, including beauty chains like Sephora, Chatters, Ulta, etc... If you want to give your clients a reason to keep buying from you and not be tempted by
products available at other stores or online locations, offer them a points program. The great part of a loyalty points program is that you are not discounting, you are giving points valid towards future purchases. We are salon loyalty experts and have a powerful
salon loyalty app that is helping salons across North America grow their retail sales often by 15% - 20%. You can see details and request a free demo here.
3. Samples: The whole ‘try before you buy’ notion is not dead. People will always feel more confident in making a purchase if they have been able to try or sample the product first. The great news is that often you can get little sachets or mini sizes for free from your manufacturer or distributor (they will often want to support you with these
for in-salon events, etc...). You can then use these to strategically sample the right people with the right product. Don’t just give a sample to every client as they leave the salon. That’s what drugstore brands do. This is your opportunity to showcase your
expertise and recommend a specific product sample to a specific client. Who is the right client? Target people who are not currently buying from you, or target a client who does buy from you – but offer them an add-on product as a sample that they might enjoy. For example, if you have a client that always purchases a shampoo and conditioner, you might give them a sample of the matching treatment in hopes that
they start to buy that in the future as well.
4. Retail Promotions: We’ve written an entire article with some examples of the best salon retail and service promotions that you can check out for inspiration!
Salon Objective: Increase services (especially higher ticket ones like color and/or facials)
1. 1 st Time Specials: How do you get the client who comes in for a cut & blow dry every 8 weeks to get out of their pattern? Well we just saw how having retail samples can help a client purchase in the future. So let’s consider how we can ‘sample’ services:
a. Here’s a promotion idea for all existing clients – 50% off a NEW service that you
have never tried before. Yes 50% is very aggressive, but think about it as
sampling. It doesn’t cost the salon much because you are still getting 50% which
should be enough to cover your service provider commission and maybe the
product cost. So this aggressive offer attracts the attention of your existing
clients to try a new service experience. This technique has been proven to
convert clients to become regular purchasers of that service in the future.
b. Here’s a promotion idea for targeted clients - think of that client that comes in
regularly for only a cut & blow dry and you have never been able to convince
them to try a hair color service. Sample it! Offer it for free for the 1 st time.
Again, this might seem aggressive, but consider the scenario. You are only
offering this to very targeted clients who have never tried a hair color service
before (or consider other high ticket services you are trying to promote). If you
target the right clients with this offer, even if only 2 or 3 out of 10 start getting
hair colour services on a regular basis in the future, it will have been an
incredible investment to offer the 1 st one for free.
2. Service Promotions: As mentioned above, we’ve written an entire article with some
examples of the best salon retail and service promotions that you can check out for
Salon Objective: Stimulate business during slower day/hours
1. Windows of Opportunity: This is the best way to fill short term gaps in your schedule.
Identify openings that you have within less than 1 week. Create a nice social media
template for Instagram and Facebook and post your last minute opportunities each
week. You don’t even need to discount – often there are clients that haven’t booked
because their schedule is too hectic, but if they see a last minute opening that fits their
schedule, it might be perfect for them as well. If your openings are less than 48 hours
away, you may want to consider offering a special price. The key is to make sure that
you delete your social media posts once the time has past. You don’t want a record on
your feed of all these offers. It’s great to use Stories for this as your Stories disappear
automatically after 24 hours.
2. Express Services: Depending on your area and clientele, you might want to offer an
express service menu during lunch hours (11am – 2pm) for the client on the go. You can
offer express services (gloss, men’s grey blending, face-frame balayage, treatments,
blowouts, etc...) at a ‘special price’ during that time. It’s a ‘special price’ because they
are new service items – you don’t need to actually discount them. You can offer ‘Grab
& Go’ specials for an express service bundled with a retail product at a special price.
By understanding your objective and focusing your energy on a couple of key tactics, you should be well on your way to stimulating sales and driving more business for your salon! Remember that you don’t have to expect every month to be like Christmas. The goal should be progress. Make January better than last year’s January. Make February better than last year’s February. That’s the key to growth and long term success.
For more salon business tips, check out our full resource library here!