Get used to seeing this little icon. You’re going to be seeing quite a bit of it over the coming year. It will be pointing out not just articles and ideas for salon retailing, but it represents a concept that we’re trying to forge for nail salons …namely that retailing isn’t selling, it’s enhancing your professional service. We think it’s fairly simple. And to help you see that it is simple. And to help you see that it is simple and a winning strategy we’re going to spend the next year showing you the ins and outs and ups and downs of retailing … top to bottom.

First, forget everything you think you already know about retailing. If you think retailing is selling, you have to get rid of that notion. You have to be willing to look at retailing in a new-light. You have to recognize that your customers patronize you and your salon because you’re a professional who knows what she’s doing. Once you have a firm grasp on that concept, it’s easier to acknowledge that your customers actually want you to recommend something for them to purchase. They expect it.

The next step is simply open up your mind to the lessons we have for you. We are going to share success stories from everyone from big salons that do more than half their business in retail, to small home-based salons doing 20%. We’ll show you how the mass marketers like Bath & Body Works or Estee Lauder use display techniques that make sales a breeze. We’ll talk to experts who will explain how to sell products without becoming a salesperson.

One thing we think is extremely important – and the message is for independent nail technicians as well as salon owners – is that everyone involved in the retail process needs an incentive to make it successful. Let’s face it: Most nail technicians work on commission. Whether they’re booth renters and simply pay rent from their earnings, or they’re on a standard percentage basis with the salon, most salon professional have a commission-based program so they earn based on the amount of business they personally do in the salon. We think it should be the same for retail products. If you get half of the service dollars that you bring into the salon, we think you ought to have an equally motivating percentage of the retail profits. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them!

This year-long campaign comprises a variety of things:

We came up with the idea of the slogan “Enhance the Service: Retail” because we believe in the concept of service more than sales. We want nail technicians to see that retailing is an extension of their service and professional expertise. You’ll see this little symbol in any articles we do on retailing, on products in Product Spotlight that make good retail items, and anywhere where we think we’re making a case for retailing.

We’ll be doing at least two features a month on some aspect of retailing. We’ve got material planned for beginners and for those of you already doing a nice retailing business. We’ll cover logistics (the costs, the space, the theories), choosing products (your resources go well beyond the professional nail industry, and NAILS looks far and wide at ideas for products that sell well in nail salons), how to determine your success (including inventory management, tracking sales figures, incentivizing staff, calculating profitability), display (we’ve already started a tour of great retail outlets for ideas to bring you), and finally, we’ll bring to your attention all the business issues you need to consider when retailing.

We’re offering a chance at a $1,000 shopping spree to the salon or nail technicians who provide their own technicians an incentive. We want to encourage contests and other incentives to salons to get everyone in the retail spirit. To that end, we will submit the name of all contest winners in individual salons into a drawing to win a $1,000 shopping spree at any store of their choice. For example, if you launch a salon contest for most retail sales, you submit your salon winner’s name to NAILS. Her name will be put in a drawing to win the shopping spree. We will put the names of any winners into the drawing. We encourage salons to use the NAILS shopping spree contest as an additional motivator. We’re also got freebies and giveaways every month so you can experiment without risk.

We will expand our campaign to our website, offering online resources for retail support. We’ll show you who are your resources, where to find unique products, display ideas, and hints from the experts. We’ll be providing such tools as online calculators to show you how to price and, makeup products, how to determine profit margin and overall profitability, how much space to devote to retail items and determining whether they’re successful.

More than anything we want to make this FUN. We want you to be successful because you like it, not just because you’re making money (although, what’s more fun than making money!?). We want to hear your ideas and we’ll reward you for sharing. We’ll be giving away prizes to readers every month, from free subscriptions to professional products to cash.

So, look for the logo. Use it in your in-salon promotions. Get on the band-wagon for a great year.

The Case for Retailing

 How would you like to win a $1,000 shopping spree at any store you wish? How would you like to increase revenue for your salon or for you personally by 20%? How would you like to increase profitability for your salon by 20%?

How would you like to help clients maintain their nails better and keep coming back to your salon for professional services?

If the answer is YES to any of the above questions, then commit right now to enhancing every service you offer with a recommendation of a take-home product.

Enhance the Service Retail!

“If you want me to retail, teach me …”

“I am disappointed with yet another attempt to persuade us to retail … It may seem easy to pick a product that your clients will want, but lots of it, mark it up, and laugh all the way to the bank.” So began Maggie Franklin’s letter to NAILS about our supplement on retailing. She outlined all the things she says are missing from the trades about retailing, including such simple logistics matters as how to stock, track, and inventory products.

“How fast should a product move in order for it to be successful?” she asks. “What do I do with the stuff that isn’t successful? How do I find out what types of permits I’m required to have? And how to I fill out the paperwork in order to assure that the state and IRS get their share? … If you want me to retail, teach me how to keep inventory!” she pleads.

By the time we’d received this letter, our 2001 campaign on retailing, which we’re calling Enhance the Service: Retail, had already been put n place and planned out. We had produced a 32-page supplement to NAILS last year devoted entirely to retailing. It is the feeling of our entire team at NAILS, based on so many discussions over many years with nail technicians, salon owners, distributors, manufacturers, association leaders, and other businesspeople that the nail industry simply isn’t taking advantage of the opportunity to retail products. The point was really hit home recently when a couple of us attended an industry conference where the theme was “Where Are We Going? Where Have We Been?” and a slide show of vintage advertisements came up to one slide from a trade magazine in 1950 suggesting salons could earn more by suggesting take-home retail products. How telling, we thought, that the message of 50 years ago has barely changed today. What, we asked ourselves, is needed to put this concept in a new light? How can we put a fresh approach on it? How can we inspire the thousands of salons and salon professionals to look at retailing in a new way? Most important, how can we HELP nail professionals see the possibilities that we see in retailing, and how to we help them SUCCEED? We came up with this campaign: Enhance the Service: Retail.


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