Expert Advice

Cashing in on Impulse Sales

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 6:19 PM

In this month’s Modern Salon, Contributing Editor Victoria Wurdinger interviewed Carol Phillips, president of EncompassOne in Gainesville, Virginia and author of “Low Cost, No Cost Marketing” on salon marketing programs. Now, Carol shares some of her tips on how to increase impulse sales of your salon’s retail products.

By Carol Phillips

You’ve heard “strike while the iron is hot.” Well, clients are buying products somewhere; it’s now your goal to get them to do it while they’re in your salon.

Impulse sales happen when clients are excited to buy something they might not have originally thought they needed. Impulse sales don’t happen on their own; the salon owner, manager, receptionist and staff all play a part in making cash registers ring. You set the salon staging for impulse sales to happen. To get you started, here are 10 ideas for stimulating impulse retail sales:

1. Hands First
Self magazine did a survey of women aged 19 to 45, and the one product that had been purchased by 78 percent of the respondents was hand and body lotion. Place a tester of lotion at each station. When you are completing the finished style, hand clients the bottle and ask them to treat their hands. Keep both regular and intensive lotion on hand, or two different scents. Give the client options and watch sales soar. Also, place lotions you sell in the bathroom and at the reception station.

2. Cosmetics Beat the Blues
When women feel a little down, lipstick is a super pick-me-up. On rainy or gloomy days, the lipstick sales soar! Display testers of lipstick tubes where it’s easy for clients to try them. Keep tissues and a mirror positioned to encourage testing. One unique way we sold tons of tubes was to give clients a lipstick caddy that had slots for three tubes. When the client bought three tubes, the caddy was free.

3. Great Tips for Nailing Down Sales
Take clear nail tips and paint a tip for each color you have in stock. Write on the back of the tip the color name or number. Then take a paper punch and put a hole at the narrow end of the nail tip. Assemble all the color tips on a key ring. Now, clients can “try on” colors without making a mess by laying the tip directly over their own nail to see how the color looks with their skin tone.

4. The Best Feel-Good Test
Select a body scrub or exfoliant to promote. For each client, treat one hand completely. Then ask her to compare the difference between the treated hand and the untreated one. When they feel the softer and smoother skin, a sale isn’t far behind.

5. Accessories Count
If you have a strong weekly clientele, stock up on accessory items. Consider adding jewelry, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, scarves, belts and handbags to your inventory. Stock items that don’t require sizing. Plan on a good profit but don't “gouge” the price point. Your goal is to turn the stock quickly at a fair price. Accessories can’t sit around week after week, or clients will subconsciously think that if no one else has bought them, maybe something is wrong with them. 

6. Not-So-Subliminal Suggestions
Post gift certificates, framed and displayed, at each station. Tag or decorate each piece as it relates to the season. Also, post them behind the reception station and in the seating area.

7. Instant Impulse
Place a small collection of inexpensive items at a cash-and-wrap station. Travel sizes of products, combs, brushes, hair accessories, hand and body lotion, perfume and any new product can be featured. Look for price points in the $5 to $10 range.

8. As the Stock Rotates
If your client base visits the salon every four to six weeks on average, re-arrange your displays every three weeks. Remember, you are competing for clients’ dollars with department and drugstores, which switch impulse items every week. Choose a product of the week to feature. Have handouts or fliers made that describe the benefits of the product. Make it a salon goal to inform every client who comes in the door of the unique benefits of the featured product. Impulse, plus awareness, makes the sale.

9. Let There Be Light
Look at the light that is hitting the featured item. If you have diffused light cascading down over the entire area, try positioning a spotlight to strike the feature display. The light will direct the attention to the goods. If you have a window display, moving light attracts four times the attention as a “dead” window. Use both moving light and color to catch the eyes of passers-by.

10. Display 101
Make certain the items you have in stock are clean. I've seen clients wipe a bottle of goods off before they could read the back label! If necessary, take each product off the shelf and dust it. Do not use little stick-on labels with ballpoint ink to mark the prices. If the client’s hand is wet, the moisture will smear the ink. Use computer-printed or purchased price stickers. If you are building your sales and do not have/use a computer yet, simply post your product-price card in the retail area. If you have a large inventory, you can post the product price on the shelf with plastic or Lucite shelf edgers.

It should be every salon owner’s goal to look at his or her business as a store: a place where the client receives exceptional service, as well as professional advice and products. Make it fun for clients to shop with you, and you’ll discover that impulse items can build your bottom line.

For more information on Carol’s books, DVDs, CDs, training, consulting and seminars:

Carol Phillips
Creative Director/Owner
EncompassOne Marketing
703-753-8585 fax

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