8 Lessons in Beauty Retail to Bet On

Back from a trip to Las Vegas, NAILS’ managing editor brings you advice on stocking your salon’s shelves, maximizing your space, and how to entice customers to buy.

Las Vegas is famous for several key industries, and I’d argue that retail is definitely one of them. While I’m not at all the person you’d want giving you advice on the other industries that Vegas is known for, I do have a background in reporting on retail design, so I’d love to share some of the insights I took away while visiting several beauty retailers in Sin City, including Walgreens’ LOOK Boutique, Ulta, Skins 6|2, and The Spa & Salon at Aria.

My visit to these retailers was part of a Cosmoprof North America sold-out bus tour called, appropriately, Best Beauty Retailers in Las Vegas Tour. My thanks to our knowledgeable host Marc Birenbaum of Beauty Store Business magazine and to the retailers who let us admire their stores on a busy Saturday. This is the second year this bus tour has been offered to Cosmoprof attendees and, if it’s offered again next year, I’d encourage you to attend. There were several salon and spa owners on the bus, and I think they took away some great insights on how to revamp their retail areas. For more information, visit


1. Sell what you use. Inside the retail area of The Spa & Salon at Aria, the Moroccanoil brand is a top seller, and it’s no coincidence that it’s the brand used in the spa’s hair services. The Art of Shaving is used in the barber services and sold as retail, and Essie is the nail care brand used both in services and sold at retail. If the brand is good enough to be used in your services, then it’s good enough to retail and vice versa. If your salon’s brand of choice has a professional line and a retail line, then that may provide the ideal balance of brand recognition and price point.

2. Pick products with obvious talking points. When customers at Walgreens’ LOOK Boutique pass by the Demeter Fragrance Library, it’s extremely hard for them to resist trying a whiff of a scent called “Play-Doh” or, better yet, the scent dubbed “Dirt.” It’s human nature to be curious about whether these scents actually smell like their namesakes and to discuss the scents’ attributes with their friends. These simple one-note fragrances have proved to make fun and inexpensive purchases for Walgreens’ boutique customers.


3. Choose appropriate signage. Walgreens is a unique case study in that select stores now house both mass market beauty brands and boutique beauty brands, which are housed exclusively in the store’s LOOK Boutique. There are many design distinctions between the mass and the boutique sections, but one you can incorporate into your salon is the pricing signage strategy. In its mass section, standard white individual signs that emphasize price are located underneath individual products. In its boutique section, sleek black connected signs that emphasize product attributes (such as “long lasting” or “intense color impact”) dominate, with the prices tucked away in small print. If you pride yourself on having the lowest prices in town, then lead with that on your signs. If you pride yourself in quality products, then focus on the craftsmanship on the products; it’s OK in this case to make clients search a bit for the price.

Next page: Lessons 4-6

Facebook Comments ()

Leave a Comment


Comments (0)

Featured Products & Promotions   |   Advertisement

Market Research

Market Research How big is the U.S. nail business? $7.3 billion. What's the average service price for a manicure? Dig into our decades' deep research archives.

Industry Statistics for

View All


FREE Subscription

VietSalon is a Vietnamese-language magazine and the sister publication to NAILS. Click the link below to sign up for a FREE one-year subscription.

Get a free preview issue and a Free Gift
Subscribe Today!

Please sign in or register to .    Close
Subscribe Today
Subscribe Today