The relationship between salons and spas and their vendors goes far beyond purchasing products. Should you pick an established brand or an indie upstart? Is selling product a small part of your overall success or an intricate part of your business? Choosing the right vendor can be tricky. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a product vendor or evaluating your current one.
EDUCATION & SUPPORT
It’s important that your product vendor is available to train your staff on an ongoing basis, not just one and done training, so you can prescribe retail products to your clients. In order to ensure consistent training, your vendor partner should provide you with an assigned, responsive representative so you have a person to contact if you have any questions regarding your retail line. The representative should provide or coordinate hands-on trainings and product demonstrations at your location to help your team learn tips and tricks about the shampoos & conditioners, massage oils, nail polishes, and any other products included in their line. This will ensure your staff is knowledgeable about the products they are selling, increasing your retail sales.
Your vendor should also support your salon or spa’s merchandising efforts with tips and ideas on how best to showcase their products. This means that your vendor should supply dynamic product displays, posters, and other materials that allow you to promote their products. Vendors can also provide support in the form of social media posts and by participating in your blog!
BACKBAR AND MINIMUM ORDERS
Sales don’t just happen by having product sitting on your shelf. Sales happen in treatment rooms and stylist chairs. That’s why it’s imperative you select a vendor that provides backbar sizes and service-only options that allow you to incorporate retail products into your services, creating synergy between your service and retail business. Some vendors also offer exclusive items for professional use only, giving you the opportunity to provide unique experiences that help with client retention and differentiates you from the competition.
In addition to backbar, it’s important to understand how your vendor’s minimum order requirement fits with your retail sales model. For example, more established lines usually have a large minimum order requirement, while smaller indie brands may be open to compromise their minimum orders. Minimum orders can be an important factor if your salon or spa would like to test out a new vendor relationship or products without making a large commitment.
VALUES AND BRANDING
Although your business may feel more comfortable with a big name brand, you must ensure that your brand fits with your vendor’s product line. For example, your salon or spa may emphasize natural/non-toxic services or serve an older clientele that focuses on rejuvenating products. To find the perfect fit, ask your potential vendors about their mission statement and product stories to see if their values align with your business.