Guest Article by: Lucy Douglas
Ask most salon owners about the biggest challenge they’re facing today, and the chances are they’ll tell you it’s losing out on clients to low-priced competitors that offer bread-and-butter services like nails and brows at budget prices. And with more and more high street retail chains spotting that beauty means big business and looking to get a piece of the action, the low-cost, high-convenience options hoping to tempt your clients are on the rise.
So, if your clients are wondering why they should pay your prices for a manicure when they can get it for much less while they’re out shopping, here’s what you tell them:
1. Our customer service
Big retailers can afford to offer a file and polish for a fiver because they see a high volume of clients. This means their clients won’t be getting all that time and attention you can give them.
“You’re not going to a get a cup of coffee in Primark” says Susan Routledge, a salon business consultant and award-winning salon owner. “Because it’s on volume, you’re not going to build up a relationship.”
2. We’re about quality over quantity
Owner of award-winning Bristol salon Beauty Time, Maria Mason says she’s never tempted to cut her prices because of the value she places on her staff and the services they offer.
“In Europe, women don’t devalue their beauty treatments and focus much more on quality rather than quantity,” says Maria. She recommends asking clients if they want an express file and polish every week, or investing in a full gel manicure with cuticle work done once every three weeks.
3. We’re your One-Stop-Shop for Beauty
As handy as it might be to get a quick treatment while they’re out doing the shopping, clients are usually limited to manis, brow services and make-up in high street retailers. “[Retailers] have taken a space and filled it to the maximum,” says Susan. “They’re never going to get to a point where they can offer facials or waxing, because they need private rooms.”
She also adds that a savvy salon owner will have clients regularly booking in for two or three different services on the menu. “It’s hard to keep clients loyal on nails alone,” she says.
4. It’s not the same business
Some clients may be seduced by the idea of a more wallet-friendly service, but ultimately, there’s space in the market for everyone, and as Susan says, if you’ve got your own business offering right, you won’t lose any clients. “In my salon, our clients are mainly women in their 50s. Our marketing wouldn’t work for the Primark market,” she says. “It’s the value you put on your treatments that determines your place in the market,” says Maria.
“Someone might have lots of cheap services when they’re younger, but as time goes on, people’s values change.”