Q & A: Retail Strategy

I’d appreciate it if you could elaborate on your statement about how services cover your overhead, but retail is for profit. What is your retail strategy?



Robbie, co-owner: Retail is key for us. As an OPI concept salon, I also want to inform the end consumer that OPI is more than a nail lacquer company. We’ll be making a strong push on all of our products, like lotions, nail treatments, and lipsticks. Retail will be the first thing customers will see when they walk into the salon. I want us to have a large, yet classy, retail display.


To help achieve our goal of emphasizing retail, we’ll be giving our employees a larger than normal incentive. I think it’ll be a 15% sales commission. Plus, for our receptionist/client coordinator in the front, we’ll be giving her 5% on whatever she rings up during her shift. We want to encourage her to do her part as well.


The salon will also have a bonus system, geared to reward the techs who sell more. We’ve also been considering a quota system, like some larger salons and spas in places like Las Vegas have. But I haven’t quite made up my mind about that yet. Still, in our training, we’re really going to push retail as selling. I want to make sure we teach our techs how to sell.


Nadine, salon M.O.M.: In writing our business plan we budgeted our overhead using only service dollars. All retail sales should be profit used for staff compensation above salary, and reinvestment in the business for continued growth. I feel retail should be the icing on the cake (so to speak) with an average of 40% mark up on retail product, it’s a win-win situation; we can provide a quality service and the home care products needed to maintain our work. Plus, we can offer specialty items and promotions for added sales.


I understand the challenges most salons face that function in a booth rental situation — it’s hard to control sales, commission and inventory. But owning and operating our salon as any other retail/service business makes it easier to control and see the benefits of retailing.


I encourage all nail professionals to take classes in retailing and business building. Just making a few small efforts can increase profit, why let your customer buy what she needs  to maintain her service from the local beauty supply or drug store? The opportunity is in the palm of your hand (for about an hour) why not satisfy their entire nail care needs!

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