With party season fast approaching, there’s no time to waste preparing your business for the end-of-year rush. To get ahead and stand out from the competition, you need to create and put in place a strong Christmas marketing strategy that covers all bases – retail sales, client footfall and room occupancy.
But where do you start? Well, according to our Insider survey this month, 62% of UK beauty salons find seasonal treatment offers the most effective way to boost column bookings in December, and many are already planning these, followed closely by an enticing small gift with bigger purchase promotion (23%) and hosting festive in-salon events (17%) to showcase their services.
We asked four industry pros to answer your common FAQs about every aspect of successful Christmas trading…
HOW TO: design a Christmas retail display
By Kay Duke, vice president of sales at skincare brand Aromatherapy Associates
Your retail space should be accessible and fit for purpose. A beautiful product area with baubles, bows and lights will grab the customer’s attention but if they can’t get to anything, or the whole thing topples over because it’s piled too high, then it creates a barrier, putting them off making a purchase.
Use Christmas decorations in moderation and don’t tuck sets away in glass cabinets because customers will feel like they can’t get to them.
I’m an advocate for a price-related display because at this time of year it’s how people shop. For example, a client may be looking to spend less than £20 on their kid’s school teacher, around £50 on their best mate and up to £100 on their mum – so make it easy for them.
You also have to think about whether your display will be self-select or a service sell. If customers can pick out products on their own, there needs one of each Christmas collection opened for clients to pick up, easy-toreach stock behind the display set and a price list clearly visible.
If it’s a service sell then it comes down to the therapist to navigate the client around the display and explain why a particular gift is perfect for the person they are shopping for.
For example, if their sister is a workaholic, then something to help her unwind is ideal. It’s about helping the customer understand how the gift relates to the person on their shopping list.
HOW TO: do in-salon Christmas promotions
By Melissa Evans, national spa manager for Spa Experience by Better, winner of PB’s Employer of the Year Award 2018
In the past, the general rule of thumb in the run-up to Christmas has been to be discount-driven, with promotions like 30% off retail and treatments on certain days. However, we undervalue ourselves by doing this, discounting when it’s not needed. At this time of year, people are looking for gifts for their family and friends and aren’t afraid to spend – remember that.
When creating in-salon promotions, think about your objectives. Why are you doing this offer? What are you trying to promote or increase sales on?
If you’re trying to push the benefits of regular spa treatments for mental and physical health, then don’t push your promotions as “an ideal present for mum” or “treat for your partner”, but rather “give the gift of good skin” or “give the gift of wellbeing”. This way, you can link the purchase with positive messaging while pushing out your services.
Or if you’re planning on hosting a Christmas event with special promotions on that night only, consider making it a paid-for event with the amount redeemable against any purchase made. Team this with an interactive skincare session held by your head therapist or a brand representative and you’ve not only raised awareness of your current promotions but you’ve secured income pre-event from your customers too.
HOW TO: create a festive treatment menu
By Samantha Humberstone, PB Influencer and owner of Lotions n Potions in Sheffield
When creating a Christmas treatment menu, you need to think about it from the client’s perspective. What do they need? It’s party season and people want to look good, which is why you should be promoting your results-driven maintenance services like brows, lashes and nails in good-value combination packages.
These are your bread-and-butter services and quick add-ons to other treatments with massive margin potential. For example, a lash lift or tint nicely pairs with a brow tidy and can easily increase revenue with a client who is already in the chair, while adding a hand-and-arm massage on to the end of a gel-polish manicure takes hardly any time but boosts your profits and makes the whole thing feel more luxurious.
It’s also a good way to show clients the breadth of what you do and instil future good habits in them.
When it comes to updating your current treatments, to make them festive, catchy Christmas-related words such as glitter, sparkle, mistletoe and yuletide are effective at focusing your clients’ attention, while phrases such as the “Christmas party facial” or “winter skin facial” work well as reasons for why they need it.
Updating the actual treatment can be as simple as using products with seasonal aromas like cinnamon, ginger and clove for a limited time only, and remember to use festive-themed images in your social media advertising. I tend to promote my festive menu six to eight weeks before Christmas for maximum exposure.
HOW TO: host a successful client event
By Emma Ginever, PB Influencer and owner of The Essentials salon in Birmingham
The key is planning early. Send out a “save the date” email or Facebook invite as early as October to start building interest. Inform your team on all elements of the event – demos, discounts, offers, gifts, goody bags – and hold regular debriefs to make sure everything is on track and to address any confusion about who is doing what.
Numbers are everything. Figure out how much the event is going to cost and what you need to take on the evening to make it viable, factoring in staff wages, time lost not being in the treatment room, and the money for marketing, buying refreshments and giving free gifts. It’s also worth contacting your product houses and suppliers to see if they can provide you with some free resources to help market the night.
Collaborating with local businesses or holding your evening on the same night as a festive event in the area, such as the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights, will help boost footfall and show your commitment to the community.
The number one no-no is overloading your event with too many offers. It’s better to have three great packages than eight OK ones. If a client has too much choice, they will get overwhelmed and choose not to buy anything. And remember, if the till doesn’t ring as much as you had hoped, don’t panic. You’re also building relationships, making a lasting impression and showing off your services for future trade.