We love being pampered and most of us consider impeccable grooming to be a personal and professional requirement. However, because of not so recent changes in our wallets and purses, success in the salon and spa business is not only attributed to skills and ability, it depends on economic factors as well.
Once the purse strings tighten, the typical salon and spa services are the first to go. They are considered to be extras that are really nice to have, but not as much as food, transportation and shelter. Look around your local community and notice how much (or how little) things have changed. Your ability to survive as a spa and salon owner depends on adapting to a changing environment.
You’ll need a marketing do over if you, (like many others in the industry) have experienced changes in your business since the recession began. The question is, what can you do differently that will bring customers back or to attract new customers to your business?
The Challenges That Lie Ahead
Once regular customers are forgoing salon and spa services altogether or learning to perform core services themselves. High end skin and hair care products sold in salons are being replaced by lower cost items sold in retail stores. Clients that frequented salons and spas before the recession have been forced to become more budget conscious.
Here are some questions that salon and spa owners, managers and operators should ask if they plan to thrive in this new, technology driven environment.
- What changes have you noticed in your salon or spa? If you haven’t noticed any changes, you’re really fortunate. If you have experienced a slump these are questions you should take time to consider.
- Are there other factors (not only the economy) that have contributed to the current changes in client behavior? It’s a normal assumption to think that it’s the economy that’s causing profits to slump. But there may be other things that need improvement, like customer service, organization and keeping current on what’s going on in the industry that could help your business. And of course you’ll need to look at your marketing. Maybe it’s just a matter of initiating some marketing campaigns that will bring in new customers.
- Has your salon changed to accommodate the needs of your customers? Are the services you offer keeping in tune with the services your customers want and need? Are you giving customers a reason to return to your shop after seasonal events like the holiday season, proms, Valentine’s Day and weddings? What can you do to ensure that “holiday customers” become regular customers?
- Does your salon create an “experience” for the client that exceeds their expectations? What does the typical customer experience when they visit your salon? Is it the experience you would like for them to have?
- How does your salon communicate information to current and potential customers? Is your salon using technology to communicate specials, company news, and other useful information that could drive new customers in your directions?
- Are you showing clients that you respect their time? Nothing is worse that sitting in the salon for an unreasonable amount of time. On those rare occasions when your customers do have to wait, are you providing an atmosphere that makes the wait pleasant?
- Are you offering value added services or are you charging the same pre-recession prices? The economy has shown people at every level that it’s possible to do more with less. Think of refocusing your shop to providing value added services at pricing levels that your customers can afford. Match your pricing realistically to your local market. Wouldn’t it be better to have 10 regular customers paying $50.00 for a service versus one or two paying $300.00?
- What are you doing to make it easy for customers to do business with you? In keeping with the previous question, try offering a high, middle and lower range of offers that will give your customers more options to do business with you. Consolidation is the name of the game in big business and it could work for your business as well. Give your customers one stop shopping by partnering with a complimentary business to provide services, share costs and resources to save on overhead. Team up to solve problems and grow your businesses
- Is your business a good corporate citizen? What role does your salon play in the community? Working in the community can increase your exposure and it can also bring in new customers.
- Are you taking a passive role (only looking for business to come to you), or are you reaching out to the areas where your customers work and play? Are you actively marketing your business where your customers work and play? A good way to do that is by purchasing custom t-shirts. Did you know that for each person that wears your t-shirt, you have a brand ambassador, a walking billboard of sorts, that advertises your company and your brand everywhere the person goes!
Maintaining the status quo may no longer be feasible with the current dynamics. Consider that (1) the average family’s hectic lifestyles are even more hectic, (2) the ability to use technology provides free communication to the masses, and (3) the need to consider value based options for customers who need them will allow more customers to consider your business as an option.
Salon and Spa Resources
If you’re looking for resources to help you build and market your spa and salon business, here are some free titles on Amazon that you should add to your reading, called the 2014 Marketing Calendar for Salon and Spa: By the Numbers. The books and calendars are free if you are signed up as an Amazon Prime member, if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, the prices are reasonable. There are several neat wall calendars like the one below to help you stay organized with reminders that you can place in this nifty wall calendar for your office. You can also check out our Bookstore Link for more reading resources and guides.