Connect with locals using social media.
Large chains and franchises typically do a terrible job of maintaining social media profiles in the local communities where they have stores. Set yourself apart by ramping up local engagement via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. Post pictures of your staff and clients and promotions your salon is currently offering
If the big boys even have a blog, they're not likely spending time focusing on local issues. By frequently blogging about topics that your local customers actually care about, you increase your salons odds of generating positive local search results online. And you're telling your customers they should have more -- not less -- information about the products and services you sell.
Support local causes.
National chains move slowly, especially when it comes to sponsoring or supporting local events. As a local yourself, pay attention to what's coming up on the local events calendar and join up with civic-minded organizations that are targeting the same people who might like to buy your products or services. Supporting local causes endears your brand among your target demographic. The best part of being small is you can choose who you want to support. Supporting a local dance school or local girls soccer team will go a long way with your clients and hopefully bring in new business
State your differences as positives.
Don't bash the competition -- either in front of your staff or with customers. Instead, point out the clear differences between your offerings by speaking in positives, not negatives. For example, "Featuring locally-sourced ingredients that are healthy for you and your hair and your family since 1997" is a better message than "Buy local!" or "You call that organic products? “Or they don’t care about you, your hair or your family. Not a way to keep things on the down low.
Use size to your advantage.
In most cases, everything you see on the shelves of a big box or chain store, or being sold or offered by a franchise, is there because one person -- a national buyer or category manager -- approved it. You, however, can start selling a new item on a moment's notice. By specializing in the niche items that helped you build your enterprise, you'll continue to drive business in your direction. Change is good; don’t be afraid to do so to meet the demands of your customers.
Salon employee’s success strategies
In order to keep your employees from defecting to the competition and or having a salon staff walkout, you should treat your staff fairly. Motivate your staff and pay attention to their needs. Help your staff become proficient in their respective departments and make sure they are readily available to meet your customers' needs. If your employees can provide this, your customers will have an extra incentive to continue doing business with you.
These tips for competing with big box stores can help level the playing field. However, don't be misled into thinking exceptional customer service or unique products will win out over lower prices every time. As our customers' shopping choices change, so should our thinking. To succeed, we must lead or keep pace with the change. With or without new retail competition, this kind of planning is something small retailers should be doing anyway.