Chapter 8: Creating An Image
The single most important resource a salon can have is its staff. Thousands
of dollars can be spent on advertising and equipment and offer freebies
to get customers into the salon, but if they're not treated well, they
won't be back. And no salon can survive without repeat customers.
On the other hand, what better promotion can there be for a salon than
to have courteous, helpful and attractive employees ensuring that everyone
who comes in has an enjoyable visit? You've been in restaurants where
the waiter ignored you, or in stores where the sales staff knew less
about the product than you did. It didn't leave you with a favorable
impression and you certainly don't want your clients to have a similar
view of your salon.
Building the perfect staff starts with the hiring process. Staff your
salon with friendly, attractive, healthy looking people. Tanning is
a vanity business and the more you can appeal to your clientele's sense
of beauty, the better off you'll be. Let your staff use the equipment
for free. You will see two benefits: they will look better and will
know more about how it works. Both help your salon.
Make sure they are well trained in the services they administer. Your
customers, for the most part, don't possess a detailed knowledge of
how the service works or even what it is supposed to do. They will be
much more comfortable if your staff can answer their questions correctly
Finally, give them some incentive to promote your business. A commission
of a few dollars for introducing a client to a new service or for bringing
a new customer into the salon is a very cheap way to improve your cash
Your clientele is another excellent promotional resource. If you don't
already offer them incentives to refer friends and acquaintances to
your salon, start now. You're missing out on a huge network of potential
The location of your salon is a critical decision. According to industry
experts, location is probably the single most important factor in the
success or failure of a tanning salon.
For years we've all heard about the importance of location. When choosing
a location, companies like McDonald's and Burger King spend enormous
amounts of money on studies that provide them with the information they
need before a final decision is reached.
In the tanning business, most of us do not have the luxury and cannot
spend the money on a study that will help us make a location decision.
So how can you actually decide where to open your salon? Would it be
more advantageous on a bustling commercial avenue? Nobody but you can
answer these questions, and the answer always depends upon your own
situation, goals and objectives.
However, there are guidelines that will help you in making this most
important decision. The immediate goals of this section will be to provide
you with the necessary guidelines that will help ensure the success
of your new salon.
Keep in mind that your services are appealing to people who want to
look better or enhance their image in the eyes of others as well as
themselves. For these people, looking good is their top priority. Remember,
the better the salon looks, the more comfortable people feel and the
more your clients will feel that they are getting the most for their
There are five basic location factors that should be considered
when selecting a business site:
(1) Population Density--This refers to how many people in the
general population there are and, of that total, how many are actually
(2) Population Income--Obviously, a high disposable income among
your customer base is very desirable. The more disposable income a person
has, the more free money, and probably time, they have for enhancing
(3) Competition--It is highly unlikely you will choose a location
next to another tanning salon, but there's nothing to prevent you or
a competitor from opening a few blocks away from each other. As indoor
tanning becomes more and more popular, increased competition is inevitable.
Your best protection is a well-respected, ongoing business based on
exceptional service and outstanding equipment performance.
(4) Targeting Your Audience--If you want to target an upscale
audience, the location should then be in an upscale neighborhood. If
you want to set your sights on students, it would be wise to select
an area near a local university or several high schools. Make sure you
have defined your audience. When you know who your potential clients
are, it will be easier to select a site where there is an abundance
of these people. This is a key factor in the success of your salon.
(5) Selecting and Leasing/Buying a Building--In determining
the size building you are going to need, consider the amount of money
you have to invest and the amount of equipment that it will take to
operate profitably. Also, before building or leasing, always check with
the proper local offices to verify all zoning ordinances, building codes,
etc. Prior to signing a lease, it is wise to seek legal help.
Salon Layout And Design
In the retail world, a great deal of attention is given to the packaging
and presentation of products. Snack companies spend millions of dollars
determining the exact amount of air that should be used to "puff"
up a potato chip bag so it looks fuller to the customer. Clothing manufacturers
produce tons of display aids annually to make their individual brands
In the indoor tanning industry, lotion and skincare companies work
carefully to label their products attractively and, in many cases, make
coordinated display devices available to the salon. Lotions are but
one example; the same can be said of almost every accessory item sold
in the salon.
But what about the atmosphere of the tanning salon? The design and
decor of the salon itself, inside and out, do as much to influence the
buying decisions of the customer as does the packaging of a consumer
item for its particular audience.
When a customer walks into your salon for the first time, several things
are going to contribute to his first impression. One of the first things
is the reception he receives from the salon attendant. It bodes well
if the attendant is courteous and gives the impression of being knowledgeable
about tanning. However, no amount of nicety and proficiency on the tanning
process will induce that customer to return if the salon itself seems
dingy, gloomy, claustrophobic or otherwise makes the client feel uncomfortable.
Almost every aspect of the salon can play a role in encouraging or
discouraging initial or repeat business from potential customers. When
deciding on the features of the facility, then, do things with a sense
of purpose. Whether examining the idea of remodeling or planning a salon
from scratch, choose your materials for specific reasons. Some of the
most important considerations in the design of the salon are space utilization
and layout, decor and furnishings, lighting, use of color and environmental
control. The successful synthesis of these elements will result in a
salon that presents a quality image of tanning as a healthy and pleasant
way to look and feel better.
Space should be the first and best used feature of the salon. Its use
and misuse can help or hinder the customer's passage through the salon,
better or worsen his mood, increase or decrease his level of comfort
and affect his overall perception of the business in a variety of other
ways, probably all without his even being aware of it.
One of the most widespread complaints in regard to tanning salons is
the claustrophobic feel people experience in the tanning rooms and even
tanning units. Even though extreme claustrophobics are rare in society,
few of us truly can relax in confined spaces. When most of the space
in a small room is taken up by the tanning unit, the odds of a relaxing
tanning session are greatly reduced.
If, for some reason, you can't avoid placing a unit in a room that
is too small, whether it be for tanning, a wall-sized panoramic print
on one wall can lend a feeling of space. The effect of the same technique
in a somewhat larger room is better still.
The layout of the entire salon should be designed to facilitate the
flow of traffic. Tanning rooms should be clearly marked and easily accessible.
An island arrangement is an interesting layout option. In such a setup,
the reception area is located directly in the middle of the salon, allowing
the clients quick and easy access back to the desk. It also makes it
easier for you to observe and monitor operations.
The reception area should be planned with the display of accessories
in mind. Waiting areas should be comfortable and should be supplied
with some sort of diversion, be it television, current copies of popular
magazines or newspapers.
The Advantages Of Hiring A Designer
Many of you already have a successful salon which you either designed
yourself or did with the help of an architect. If your customers and
salespeople aren't complaining, and sales seem to be adequate, you may
not need any help. On the other hand, if new packages aren't selling
and sales are down or have reached a plateau, and your neighboring salons
are bragging about their new sales peaks, it would be wise to look at
your salespeople, your advertising, your pricing, and, of course, your
salon. Is your salon too dark? Are all the lights glaring florescence?
Is the carpet worn and stained? Do you use showcases to feature your
If you are planning a new look or are opening a salon, don't hesitate
to consult a store designer. Look for a designer that specializes in
retail operations, rather than office or home designs. The cost will
be offset rapidly by the increase in sales that a new look will bring.
A salon designer has a multitude of functions. First, this designer
must work with you to understand your product, customer and your competition.
Then, he or she must ascertain just what it is that you want; a new
salon, a revamped salon with a hi-tech, contemporary or all natural
look. Do you want a discount operation, or are you selling quality,
performance and service with less of an emphasis on price?
All of these are factors that the designers must consider when laying
out the salon. Most important, however, is determining your budget.
If you do not supply accurate estimates of available dollars, both you
and your designer will spin wheels in working out a design that may
not be buildable due to lack of funds. Conversely, if you indicate a
smaller budget than you actually have, you may not get the desired look.
Calculate a realistic budget, give it to your designer and then try
to stick with it.
In order to get the most from your designing dollars, it works best
if you do some research yourself ahead of time. Select two or three
color schemes that you like so the designer has a starting point. Investigate
different carpet qualities--you want something low-maintenance and wear-resistant,
but still attractive. Also check out a variety of wall treatments, both
for appearance and maintenance requirements. This way you'll be able
speak the designer's language a bit better, which results in a design
you'll really be comfortable with, less time to get the design done
and less cost to you in both the near and long term.
Once your needs, wishes and budget are determined, the designer will
begin drafting the store plan. This plan usually will include a space
layout including a reception area, a waiting room, tanning equipment,
washrooms, a utility room and product showcases. Floor and ceiling treatments
will be selected, as well as lighting requirements for display. In addition,
the storefront will be planned including signage and if required, mechanical
drawings for heating, air conditioners, electric, plumbing, etc. The
plans must be detailed sufficiently to allow both a contractor to bid
the work, and for you to understand what it is that you're getting.
Blueprints are not enough, make sure that you get renderings.
Experienced designers can demand a high hourly fee, and some experts
suggest that a flat-fee basis is the best way to go. A complete salon
plan, excluding mechanical drawings, is based on the square footage,
the type of salon, its size, etc. Ballpark figures are rough in this
business, and we would urge that you get a firm bid prior to contracting
You might ask yourself the question, is a professional designer worth
the investment? The answer is sometimes yes. A well-planned and thorough
salon always will do better than a poorly designed operation if all
other factors are equal (location, price, etc).
For those owners who don't feel they require a designer, we would advise
that you work with competent tanning unit manufacturers. These people
usually have been involved in the design and supply of hundreds of salons
and are a fount of knowledge when it comes to available equipment. Many
manufacturers don't charge for their time. Instead, they hope you will
buy your equipment from them. They will work with you on laying out
your salon in much the same manner.
Planning your own salon requires an initial layout of the floor area
and all wall elevations. Use grid paper and a 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch =
1-foot scale. Draw a very accurate plan of the floor indicating architectural
elements. Then do the same for the walls in an elevation drawing.
Now draw in the washrooms, tanning rooms, reception area, waiting area,
product display area and utility room. Make sure that the washrooms
and utility room are somewhere to the rear of your facility so the front
is left for sales and display. At this point, we can start to detail
Floor Coverings. Floor coverings are one of the first things
your customer will see when he/she walks in the front door. A few suggestions:
Use a dark, neutral, subtly patterned, commercial carpet for the bulk
of your salon. It looks good, is easy to work on and won't show the
dirt. Don't skimp on price. If you buy a cheap carpet, it will not last
and will look miserable soon after you install it, and will have to
be replaced shortly.
Ceilings. Most salons are not in the business of selling ceilings,
so unless the ceiling is quite low, paint it a darker color than the
walls. This tends to make it disappear. If your ceiling is quite high,
we would suggest spaceframes or banners to bring it down. In addition,
get rid of all glaring fluorescent lights. Either replace them with
standard or low-voltage track lighting or cover them with diffusers
to direct light down to the floor where it should be.
Windows. Windows also are important because they pull customers
in. If possible, use a professional window trimmer monthly or set up
an exciting display yourself. Many successful salons have been built
around creative windows. A good window trimmer will cost up to $100
per visit, but is well worth it.
Showcases. Showcases also can be very attractive because they
not only display product, but they identify merchandise as having enough
value to be put behind locked doors. Make sure your cases imply value;
in other words, buy quality showcases. Light them using mirror doors
and color coordinate the bases with the rest of your salon. Showcases
come in virtually any size or finish and can be used on the salon floor
or up against the walls of the store. Showcases sell lotions, jewelry,
sunglasses and other small impulse items.
Washrooms. Since you cater to male and female customers, it
is advisable to have two washrooms that your customers can use either
before or after tanning. Always keep them clean. Your customers will
Utility Room. Because you do provide each tanning customer with
several towels, it is a good idea to have a washer and dryer. These
are optional items, however, it will make it much easier for you to
provide your customers with fresh, clean towels.
Advertising And Promotion
With the concern for higher profits and increased revenue per venture,
the modern-day entrepreneur constantly is seeking avenues for increased
income. One of the most successful ways that tanning salon owners have
conquered the dreaded spector of "seasonality" and tamed the
rising and falling tides of business flow is through diversification.
Reorganizing a business that has been solely focused on one service
can be tough. A lot of thinking has gone into creating profitable addenda
to tanning that increase profits, provide stability, smooth the peaks
and valleys of the tanning cycle, provide a long-term potential for
continuing business and generate opportunities for businesses that can
branch off from the main salon operation.
The point is that accessory enterprises do not detract from the owner's
commitment to tanning, they increase the sales power of the tanning
environment and broaden the base of the entire industry.
This section should not be misconstrued as an inclusive assessment
of all the options open to the tanning salon owner. It is hardly that.
Instead, the editors of LOOKING FIT have looked at some of the most
popular and profitable sidelines and the ways to market them in order
to provide the owner with some options that can work for a variety of
salons. Most notably, this list tries to encompass some diversity, but
be forewarned, that the type, style and amount of accessory products
are limited by only one factor-the imagination of the owner.
Regional geographical and cultural approaches are diverse and abundant.
What success a Northeastern tanning salon might have with T-shirt accessories
in a summertime promotion, might not be repeated by a Florida salon
with abundant suppliers of T-shirt lines all over. The designation of
consumer goods is broad. What could be a convenience purchase or a shopping
item in one shop would be a specialty item in another locale. For example,
T-shirts might be a convenience item in the South, but in the colder
Northeast, during some months of the year, they could be a specialty
Just as important as the idea of what to market is the responsibility
for how to market accessories. We consider the marketing of retail items
to be a business quite different and in many ways more complicated than
tanning. Marketing knowledge is crucial.
Although accessories and auxiliary businesses aren't the answer for
everyone, for the non-purist, the accessories game makes good sense
for bringing in solid sales and repeat business.
The move to retail selling is not for everyone; however, the versatility
and flexibility that sales can add to the service-based salon operation
can be an invaluable source of capital during lean times. The promise
that retailing holds is not realized in every instance, but if the salon
owner has practiced good selling techniques in marketing the salon operation
itself, retailing is not that great a leap.
More often than not, salon owners talk themselves out of retailing
for fear of taking on an entire new industry. Selling is selling, and
in each case, the salon operator has a product. It is either an intangible
product like a tan or a tangible one like a garment. Obviously, some
of the most successful salon operations are ones where the barriers
between retailing and servicing are broken down and melded into one
This is not an impossibility, but it takes a firm commitment to both
aspects of the operation and an awareness of the similarities and differences
between the various operations.
Retailing vs. Service
The perception is that retailing is a vastly different business than
a service business. In truth, the two are very much the same. The retailer
and the service company both offer a product.
The retailer offers a tangible one, some form of goods, the service
business offers a service which affects the consumer. Both involve some
facility, a marketing plan and a price structure. Most importantly,
both involve selling. The salon operator who is not able to sell the
salon's service will likely have little better luck at selling a product.
To be more analytical about it, the retailing business takes some form
of product, manufactures it and sells it. The service business utilizes
processes that do not change the physical form of materials, but merely
manipulates them. At the consumer level, the retailer buys a product
(usually from a wholesaler) at one price and moves the product along
to the consumer at another price. The service industry (tanning) performs
a professional, personal or financial function (in the case of tanning:
personal) that does not normally create a new end product.
Though the retail and service industries share much in common there
are some important differences that the salon owner must understand
before entering the retail operation.
While the salon needs trained personnel, the actual operation of a
tanning salon need not be labor intensive. That is, few people really
are needed to keep the salon going on an hourly basis. This is not true
of retailing. The labor demands are much more intensive and often involve
a lot of leg work. In the salon process, the salon attendant need only
check in customers, accept payment, show the facilities and turn on
and clean the machine, but the requirements for the retail worker are
much more substantial.
First, the retailer must man the shop area. The sales floor need not
be a large area, but it should invite the customer in and make that
customer comfortable. In this environment, the retail worker must stock,
sell, take inventory, re-stock, work the floor and register sales. The
salon owner carefully should weigh the various responsibilities that
a service and retail worker have and decide what the appropriate labor
force would be for these two separate enterprises.
Although the salon environment can exist in a relatively small area
with tanning booths or beds tightly bunched for maximum space utilization,
the retail environment needs an aesthetically pleasant space. This needn't
be an opulent setting with a luxury decor, but it must be an environment
that lets the consumer know this is a store. You shop here. Too often,
the salon operator treats retail sales as an inferior partner. There
is no window display, no interior display area and no aesthetic arrangement
of sale items. Space must be provided to give the impression that retailing
is a primary function, not a secondary bail-out to a floundering tanning
If the addition of a retail division is a new item in the salon, it
is mandatory to announce it. Promotion by way of in-store flier, direct
mail, radio, television, magazine and newspaper ads will let the community
at large and the clientele know of your existence. Opening a retail
division without adequate promotion can seem like not opening at all.
Remember that the results of advertising are often invisible except
when one looks at the year end receipts.
Constantly look at the big picture and remember that promoting the
tanning operation will draw customers to the retail establishment and
vice versa. Promotions should take advantage of the tanning salon's
name, character and industry. Cross promotions that link tanning products
to the tanning act are especially successful. Promotions should play
upon the lifestyle sales technique. Blend all promotions under the banner
of "looking good" and consumers will see each purchase as
an aspect of personal "image enhancement." Remember that promotion
can be synonymous with perception sometimes and that a salon identified
with healthful products can build an entire cottage industry under that
What to sell? There are as many tanning and tanning related products
as the smart retailer can imagine. What is an off limits item? Virtually
nothing so long as it promotes an image consistent with the salon's
identity and the tanning customer's mental image of himself/herself.
These are a few products that have been tried:
While these are some of the typical offerings, other lifestyle add-ons
also could be beneficial.
- tanning products (lotions and skincare)
- clothing for tanning
- juices, health foods
- frozen yogurt
- coffee bars
- home tanning equipment
- fitness equipment (home)
- cosmetics and nail products
Consider these additional options:
Again, the list of possible products is bounded only by the imagination
of the salon owner. Sometimes customers will request products if a suggestion
box or other means presents itself. By catering to a customer's needs
you are keeping a potential profit maker in the store longer.
- promotional posters
- new age music
- books on fitness and health
- video tape rentals
Unfortunately, the most fantastic product available will not help the
salon owner without the necessary commitment. The new retail operation
will require as much, if not more work than the salon operation. Retailing
is not a panacea and thinking that a retail concern will bolster a salon
simply by wishing it, will not work.
The commitment must be exhibited at all three levels. First, the level
of buying and displaying adequately. Then in terms of superb promotion.
And finally, in terms of day-to-day selling. The retail shop must receive
the same attention that the salon operation receives.
As often as not, the salon owner doesn't consider that a retail operation
will have its own costs. It is presumed that the costs of retailing
will just be a part of the total salon operation. It is important for
the business to set a budget for each aspect of the business and account
for each separately. This will check the relative profits of both companies
and illustrate where improvements and adjustments must be made in the
merchandising plan. Here are some sample analyses of basic costs for
both a salon operation and a retail business.
|SALON • rent • utilities • professional
services • telephone servic • insurance • advertising
• labor • equipment (tanning)
|RETAIL • rent • utilities • professional
services • telephone service • insurance • advertising
• labor • stock (inventory)
At a glance, one can see that a number of the expenses are the same.
Rent is a constant, although the retail addition to a salon could necessitate
gaining a larger environment so the retail operation can grow and achieve
full partnership status with the root business. Utilities must be paid
for both operations. For the salon, the utility bill is increased because
of the power used by the tanning machines. In the retail environment,
power will be consumed by display lighting. Just as a fully functional
tanning unit is necessary to the complete function of a salon, so excellent
lighting produces the right atmosphere to feature merchandise. Lighting
can almost make a sale.
Professional services will differ. For the salon, professional services
may include the advice of a lawyer, realtor and several tanning professionals
in your local association. With the retail aspect, professional advice
may include a designer to create the store section and consultation
with local retailers or consultants in retailing who know the regional
market. Professional advice puts the business on a solid footing and
hopefully starts it in the right direction.
The salon probably will be more dependent on telephone service in order
to schedule and cancel appointments, answer inquiry calls and order
equipment and supplies. For the retail business, a telephone also is
essential for inquiries and ordering stock. Phone use for the salon
business is usually customer to business while telephone tasks in retailing
are usually business to business.
Insurance in the tanning field is a must. This protects the salon owner
from claims and loss. There is less of a need for insurance in a retail
operation, but a good insurance program can protect the retail business
from loss through inventory destruction, fire damage, theft, etc.
Advertising can be the lifeblood of a tanning operation. A salon that
no one knows exists will have difficulty getting and keeping business.
The retail operation also is bound to good advertising. With a variety
of stores to choose from, advertising keeps the salon/retailer before
the public eye. Particularly if the retail shop is a new venture, advertising
must announce the arrival of this aspect of the business.
Possibly, combination ads targeting the salon client and that client's
consumer needs would work best. Some salon owners may want to bill the
two businesses as independent of each other and draw in an entirely
new set of customers. This could be a part of a coordinated marketing
program to find new audiences for tanning. The retail store could be
a lead-in to new tanning customers, making the store and salon a one-stop
shopping/recreational visit. The possibilities for advertising and promotion
are unlimited, but both ventures need sufficient advertising to keep
a high profile.
Labor is necessary for the tanning salon, but many people have been
drawn to the salon business because they believe the salon offers a
service industry with less labor costs. Many owners staff a salon with
only one attendant. Here is a big difference with the retail organization.
In retailing, the salesperson is the personal representation of the
retail store, just as in tanning.
The retail operation requires employees that can sell and sell aggressively.
This can mean that more than one operator (depending on the size of
the store) may be needed at one time. Though this cost greatly increases
the operating expense of the retail store, it does provide several public
relations advantages. For one thing, the increased traffic in the salon/retail
environment promotes more business in general. Also, the employees that
come in constant contact with customers in the retail environment help
to sell your salon as well. So, though more money is spent, more can
potentially be made.
The big cost for many tanning salons is the tanning equipment. Many
salons prefer to lease equipment because of service contracts, and convenient
terms and rapid technological advances that tend to date equipment quickly.
This is a major cost to many salons and a major drawback to entering
The retailer obtains stock through a wholesaler. Usually once the transaction
is made, the retailer has possession and ownership of the stock. Depending
on the size of the store, the retail stock can cost as much or more
than the tanning equipment. This expense is not leasable. The retailer
buys from a distributor or wholesaler and then must sell or liquidate
the stock, ideally at a profit. Naturally, this requires smart and efficient
buying for success.
An unspoken cost for a retail operation is location. With the number
of shops located in malls and other shopping square/village environments,
it is difficult to drag the public into an isolated specialty shop.
If the salon wants to compete at that level and seek a more generalized
business environment it might be wise to move from an off center location
to one directly in the thick of the retail climate. The thinking in
this approach is that to sell you need to be where the buyers are. This
is much easier than trying to drag the buyers to you. In any event,
having to relocate the entire salon operation for the sake of creating
a retail entity might seem counter-productive, particularly if the salon
has established a respectable clientele of regular followers.
When the salon owner attempts to sell tanning, the end result is a
combination of the tanning technology and the client's own natural tanning
ability. When a salon owner goes into retailing, he must follow a different
strategy to sell the product. By one means or another, he must inform
the public of the product's presence. People have to know it's there
to buy it. The retailer must strive to increase his marketshare. The
more he can sell, the more he can plan for the future and increase revenue.
One method of creating a market for a product is through the process
of differentiating. That is, a retailer can market a product by positioning
it as different to any other product like it in its class.
The Selling Step
This process is similar in tanning, but the objective here is to apply
sales techniques to the retail operation. There are three steps in the
process. First the seller must locate people interested. Then he must
make a sales presentation. Finally, he must close the sale. A salesperson
begins by finding prospects. A person may browse through a shop, but
he may not be intending to buy, for one reason or another (no money,
just a passing interest, etc.). This type of window shopper is not a
serious prospect. A sales presentation to such a person is pointless.
A good prospect is someone with cash or credit who is interested in
buying at this time.
The sales presentation should involve getting the customer's attention,
then psyching the customer to buy and finally meeting any objections
to the product. For example, a good sales presentation was made for
a novelty tanning lotion with colorful sparkles built in. The product
itself when applied to a model attracted a consumer's attention. The
salesperson pointed out that the product was inexpensive as well as
novel (stimulating an interest to buy), and when the customer asked
if the sparkles detracted from the cream's usefulness, she (the salesperson)
answered the objection with cheerful "no." The consumer was
sold and so was the tanning cream.
The final process in selling was the closing. This is where the salesperson
asks if the consumer would like to purchase some of the product. The
closing can be the hardest part of the sale. It shouldn't come as a
forced "push the customer" approach, but should seem to be
a natural outgrowth of the proceeding conversation.
The salesperson also performs other functions. One is to cross-promote
the salon operation. Other functions may include some recordkeeping,
stocking and collecting credit information.
When the retail operation can't sell directly, it is time to consider
advertising to locate potential consumers for the product line. Advertising
has a number of functions and each is important for the sales process.
Advertising can be done at the retail level or at the manufacturer's
level. Some of its functions are to:
- help personal selling by getting the product name out
- reach beyond the sales floor to approach customers
- improve ties with manufacturers
- open new markets
- promote goodwill
- create a beginning demand for an unproven product
- make sales volume higher.
Now that the salon owner has decided to venture into the accessories
or retail business, he needs every tool available to him to make his
product line shine. Promotions are usually a low-cost way to do just
that. When a retailer is not selling or advertising, he is undoubtedly
promoting. There are a variety of sales techniques that make promotion
In-house Promotion is simply talking up the product while a
customer is there to tan or buy another product.
Point-of-Purchase (POP) advertising displays and posters offered
directly at the retail area to encourage more sales.
Specialty Advertising is done by various logo items such as
matchbooks, pens or calendars. These items keep the store's name in
the consumer's mind and might jog a return visit.
Coupons give the buyer a discount on selected items from your
store and promote repeated visits.
Trade Shows provide the retailer with an insight into the newest
and most marketable products. The idea is to approach the trade show
with a consumer mentality. What do you see there that could work in
Samples are a particularly effective way to get people to try
tanning creams while in your salon. Offer the customer a free sample
and if he or she likes it, the customer may decide to buy more.
Contests actually involve the consumer. They keep people thinking
about the product and invite repeat business so people can see who won.
It is interesting and important to know about the process of retail
selling, but a strong product does a lot of the selling for the salon
owner. Consider some of these items as potential money makers for your
salon. Each has a definite appeal and can broaden the salon's natural
customer base easily. Each builds on the tanning lifestyle and encourages
future sales and other retail ventures. Each of the products mentioned
in this section have actually been tried in salons. Which is the appropriate
product for your area? That is difficult to say. The salon owner must
have a clear idea of how to pick the right product for his geographic
area, consumer group, salon ambiance, marketing program and price point.
All these factors and more make the selection of a proper product a
crucial matter. These brief descriptions are not intended as endorsements
of any specific product, but rather as a service to salon owners that
have an interest in expanding into retail sales.
The right product can be picked keeping three important points in mind.
First, the consumer that is willing to spend for a tan will doubtless
spend on other products that can beautify him or her. Also, a good product
line can keep the tanning consumer frequenting a salon throughout the
year, something that most salons currently don't have. Finally, a distinct
and unusual specialty item will keep a customer coming to find what
that person can't find elsewhere.