There’s a lot you need to do to create a profitable salon business. Some of them are training your staff for excellent customer service, setting the right prices, maintaining consistent income, and paying off your bills. To add to the mix, you need a strong marketing plan that reaches out to your customers every day.
And if you operate as a sole business owner, it can be exhausting catering to existing customers and gaining new ones. The last year has been anything but easy. Most businesses struggled to sustain amidst the pandemic. In comparison, some had to shut down even as most changed direction to cater to their existing salon clients.
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As salon businesses are now looking to cater to clients, they face a new set of challenges. Some are marketing with the new set of rules, and ensuring customer health is a priority while delivering an excellent experience.
There's no better time than now to expand your salon business by starting an online store. But before you decide to future-proof your business, here's a look at what an online store can do for you and how you can use an online store to grow your salon business.
6 Reasons Your Salon Needs An Online Store
Future Proof Your Business
As the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down with new information every day, your salon business needs a cushion to sustain. Even if your customers can't stop raving about your salon, they are probably looking for a digital solution to make their life easier. It's a place where your customers can know more about you, buy the products that you use at your salon, or even book a home-appointment if that is something you offer to customers.
Customers Are Online
Setting up an online store might sound scary, but it need not be. Because your customers are already actively searching online, all you need to spend time on is learning the basics of eCommerce like picking the domain, selecting the products, setting payment methods, and promoting your products. Once your customers find you, your next step is nurturing relationships.
A digital medium might lack personal interaction. But it makes up for it by being available 24/7. Customers land on your website and get updated on what's new in the salon at their convenience. They can check out products and free resources that can help them to improve their life. In turn, this gives you an opportunity to establish credibility, build relationships, and send out promotions and offers that they may be interested in.
Because your website can present a salon business in a good light, spend some time on branding, positioning, and creating a good feel for your customers every time they land. There are many ways your website can work as a sales machine which we'll mention later in this article. However, don't shy away from selling things in your online store because it is something new.
Once your website is set up, your salon business opens opportunities to explore many online avenues like collaborations with other companies, exploring sponsored partnerships, and growing your business. Because you are now not restricted to one location, it's even easier to understand what customers outside your location feel about your brand and how you can reach out to them.
For example, if you are looking to expand your salon to new locations, the popularity of your site across different geographic locations could be a good place to start.
Growing Your Customer Base
There's only so much you can do in 24 hrs. But with a website, you can do much more. Even as you focus on your core business areas, you can set up additional services on the website like online booking, membership plans, and referral programs to expand your reach.
In addition to selling products and services, you could also sell video courses on various styling methods, sell DIY hair styling techniques, and so on. At a time when a lot of people still prefer to not venture outside, these are good alternative income sources.
How to Increase your Salon Business with an Online Store
Build Your Brand
Being consistent with your message and working on what makes you unique through your personal story can work in your favor. Visual continuity across your online store can also make it easy for customers to relate to your business, generating high brand name recall to meet their salon needs every time they are online.
Investing in branding your products to sell it online is another way to increase your salon reach. Setting up your products as a private label means you have control over the pricing, stock quantity, and profitability. White labeling your products also lets you integrate it with appointment bookings and reserve the stock quantity to not run out of stock.
Often products might remain on the salon shelf exceeding their date. To avoid writing it off as a business loss, you can proactively sell it as it lands on your shelf without waiting for customers to enter the salon. Not only are you ensuring fresh products for your customers every time, but it will reduce the stress of waiting for it to unblock your fixed investments in the products.
Co-branding can give your business a much-needed exposure, especially if you have yet to get an online audience. Exploring co-branding opportunities gives your business the chance to work with other brands and their audience. By working with an established audience, all you need to focus on is how your product or service can serve them.
Promoting Your Online Store
Exchange services: With an engaged audience, influencer marketing is an attractive marketing opportunity to explore. Often influencers want to give their audience new experiences and are ready to try something new in exchange for your services. Exchanging services allows your business to stand before an audience, ready to consume your services without friction.
As a salon, you may want to tie up with micro influencers who are known in the community you belong to. These are people with just a few thousand, but highly-targeted, followers.
Influencer Experiences: Because influencers are looked up to, there's a higher chance every time they promote a service by using it themselves; it has a broader reach with less effort for the service being promoted. Your business benefits from how the influencer showcases your service, and it often results in their audience crossing over to your own business.
Giveaways: If your end goal is to generate sufficient buzz for your brand, this is a good choice. With a sponsored giveaway, the influencer creates content that shows your brand to their audience generating social leads and brand awareness.
Social Media Promotions
Social media plan: Drawing up a social media plan can have multiple benefits. It creates brand awareness, lets you reach out to your potential customers and serve them. But it can also be a time-consuming process to do it daily. Instead, investing in a social media scheduling tool can save time for other business tasks.
If you are looking for the best social media scheduling tools, you can choose from many. And a comparison of some prominent scheduling softwares like Hootsuite and Buffer can make it easy for you to decide.
Advertising: Once your social scheduling is set up, another way to use social media for your salon business is to seek social advertising opportunities. If you want to go beyond scheduling, try advertising that can target an audience on Instagram or Facebook and re-target for gentle reminders to users who have left your website without buying.
As your online store gains traction, the next step is streamlining customer service for high engagement. It's easier said than done but certainly doable with a few simple steps.
Setting Up A Call Center
Why does a salon with a few hundred customers need a call center? Well, with an online store, you may potentially be selling your branded products, DIY tutorials, and video lessons to people from around the country, or perhaps, even the world.
An online store is highly scalable and there comes a point where picking calls from online customers can eat up a big chunk of your time. Outsourcing inbound calls to a call center may be a prudent decision at this point.
A call center does not have to be an expensive investment. You could hire an offshore VA to do the job for you. Also, it costs between $15-$30 to get a call center application running for your business.
With a system in place, you may route inbound calls on bookings as well as online purchases and this creates an excellent customer experience even if you are on a small budget.
Local Email Marketing
If starting small is on your radar, then dive into local email marketing. It can use the power of your website to get leads using pop-ups, slide-in forms, and much more. With an email marketing software, you can focus on local offers to entice your readers and get them familiar with your store, leading to potential leads for your salon.
Upselling Your Offers
Not every customer comes in with the same expectations. While some enjoy mini-trials, others want an entire experience. With upsells in your online store, there's scope to meet every customer's need by customizing offers for them. Doing so allows you to test which offers have maximum viability and profitability.
Reduce Abandoned Carts
If abandoned carts are high on your website, then there's a likely reason that the payment options are restrictive, there are too many steps for checkout, or the message is ambiguous for the customer. By creating a smooth workflow for the customer from the time they land on your website to the checkout, you can reduce abandoned carts.
Focus On Product Reviews
Glowing product reviews can help your business create a favorable impression. However, you might also have some who are not super-impressed with your service. For those negative reviews, reach out to them if there are areas you need to improve and fine-tune any process that needs an upgrade.
An online store can give your business much-needed visibility, especially when customers are digitally browsing and shopping for a better experience. With the online store, you automate many processes that link back to your salon and ensure business continuity, especially in an uncertain environment.