The Los Angeles Times ran a series of articles recently about “the new consumer,” a buyer who is more conscious of value and less impressed with name brands. This new consumer shops at warehouse clubs and buys in bulk, looking first at the price tag, then at the label. The article says that although traditional grocery stores aren’t being driven out of business by these warehouse stores, they are having to adapt. I see a parallel situation in the nail industry – with the discount nail salons pitted against the traditionally priced nail salons and the latter needing to adapt.
The articles says that although supermarkets offer some of the same bargains on bulk items as warehouse clubs, “Grocery executives are optimistic because they can offer shoppers what warehouse stores cannot: convenience and choice. … Where supermarkets have an edge is customer service.”
This is also true for nail salons. Nail technicians and salon owners must stop fretting over the low price salons and either appeal to the bargain hunters or ignore them. That is, if you have a lot of clients who want to save money on their nail care, offer them options. For example, you can offer a variety of manicure services, from the no-frills bargain-priced manicure for the budget-conscious client to “the works” high-priced manicure for those to whom money is no object. You can offer clients the option of purchasing a package of manicures or fills, whereby they pay a discounted service price for each manicure by paying in advance for all of them. The point is, if you want to appeal to these clients, there are ways to do so. However, the article warns that this new consumer is driven to save money and there is only so much that can be done to earn her loyalty. “These people are willing to give up everything – environment, convenience, assortment – for a deal. … Supermarkets should ignore bargain hunters and focus on serving the shoppers who prefer grocery stores.”
Amen to that. Traditionally priced nail salons should ignore the battle for the discount customer and focus on the client who wants the full salon experience. As a panel member at a recent conference said, these salons aren’t competing with your salon, they’re competing with each other.