It’s time for product manufacturers to launch their many fabulous, new lotions … and while some of you may be ecstatic and filled with anticipation, others may feel overwhelmed and confused as to where to start looking. That’s okay! Let’s focus in on how to make intelligent product selections this year. By knowing your options, bringing in the appropriate product for your salon, and utilizing all of the support the industry offers, you’ll be on the Yellow Brick Road to success for the 2014 season!
Before making new product choices, it’s important to analyze the “hits” and “misses” at your stores from last season. Chances are, if it didn’t work last year, it probably won’t work this year, either. Determine the common factor between the top-selling lotions and stick with products that are similar to those. For example, if you sell many dark DHA bronzers in the $70-$85 dollar price range, look for lotions that complement those for 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, ask yourself why certain products didn’t sell. Are you located near a college campus where price can be a key factor for your tanners? Do you need to offer more pure lotion formulas? Do you have enough products to choose from? Different markets have different demands. By knowing the needs and wants of your specific clientele, you will be able to shelve lotions that are perfect for them.
Once you’ve deciphered the needs of your salon guests, it’s time to choose lotions! I’ve seen salons with six bottles on their shelves and salons offering over 75 different products. From my experience on the road, I’ve concluded that a happy medium is most effective approach. You have to give your guests options without overwhelming them. I recommend offering three different price points per lotion category. In other words: a budget-friendly accelerator, a mid-priced accelerator and a high-end accelerator, a budget-friendly natural bronzer, a mid-priced natural bronzer and a high-end natural bronzer, etc. This way, you’ll have something for everyone.
You may be asking yourself, How do I know which products to choose? There are many manufacturers with hundreds of different products, and it can be confusing. During the next few months, many product distributors will host symposiums where all or many companies will exhibit their newest products, allowing you to feel, smell and learn about each one. I recommend checking with your distributor partner to find out dates for these events. They give you the opportunity to decide what to sell in your store based on your needs, and develop relationships with the lotion companies. I’ve found that these relationships can turn into partnerships that prove to be very successful and beneficial to you as a salon operator. By partnering up and showing brand loyalty, you gain access to many perks that you wouldn’t otherwise receive. Many lotion makers, like Devoted Creations, will sponsor salon events and offer client support and education. They will even work with you to help you make your lotion decisions for the upcoming year!
The benefit of bringing in new products right when they launch is that it gives you an edge over competitors and also allows you to utilize this time wisely. Whatever choices you make, this is the time to educate your team about the products you choose to sell. Many manufacturers offer web trainings, some distributors offer open houses, and many lotion companies will send a trainer to your salon to work with your team. Remember what they say: knowledge is power!
A former tanning salon manager, Kayla Brodie has been a National Sales trainer for Devoted Creations/Ed Hardy Tanning for nearly 2 years.
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