Browsing a local online coupon buying system similar to GroupOn, I found a hair salon that wasn’t too far from my house with what I would consider to be a smashing deal. Three and a half hours is the amount of time it takes to typically colour, cut and style my hair in the salon, even when it’s just shoulder length. I have really thick hair and it’s a blessing, but it’s also a big deal. The last time I went into the salon I felt like I had been bitch slapped when at the end the gal said it was going to be over $200. Sure, the amount of time, but really?! So this deal was just over a quarter of that price, so I jumped on it.
The salon isn’t in a fancy area, I daresay it’s the opposite, its near the train station in a town that isn’t one that people tell other people to come to because of all the great attractions it has, and that is fine. From the outside it could have been really derelict inside, but to my surprise it was coordinated, had a relatively fun feel to it, and it suited the job for the 2 hairdressers that own and work the salon. Great.
As I’m sitting down I cannot help but put my marketing eyes and brain to work. It’s natural, it’s what I think about a lot, I enjoy looking at businesses and finding ways that they can improve and be more successful. There are many things that I pick up on including the very basic option of having a self service tea and coffee stand while I wait. This is super easy and would not take much to put together. A simple beverage station would quench any thirst, and buy the hair dresser time so that that customer doesn’t feel like they are waiting too long.
When I got to the seat, I asked how many of these deals they had sold, and the guy said a lot. He didn’t know how much but that’s okay, I already knew it was over two thousand when I booked. I asked if they were in charge of pricing and he said that they weren’t and it was undervaluing his service and he said he has always charged appropriately for his service prior to now. I agreed. I said that many artists have a hard time charging their value, so it’s great as a service art that he had that under control, or did.
I asked how many people would be repeats, how many customers would actually return a second time, and he said that a lot would. Sure, I am just a nobody to them and of course they might not want to devulge their business information to me, and I get that, but I think he really didn’t know. The girl is the one who is the main owner and apparently takes care of all of that, but since there are only two of them, I would think it’s in his best interest to ensure that he is on top of it too since it directly affects his own pocket, and his reputation by undercutting his service via price.
Anyway, I asked a few questions here and there, and in the end I could tell that I needed to talk to her. So when I had the chance, when she was helping me out, I asked her, but she wasn’t really open to talking about it, other than using this ScoopOn service was to help promote their business and drive their old customers back to them.
Some things I would suggest for an up and coming, or a newly established salon to do is to 1) get the word out 2) build trust 3) create word of mouth 4) drive repeat service. Since they used Facebook to show the before and after pictures of the hair they had done and the positive reviews customers had left, this is why I chose to go to them. I suggested doing more of this to help build trust and tell their story of their value that way.
Sure using a GroupOn style service can be helpful to drive customers through the door, but it’s those same customers who will likely jump ship when another lower price comes around. They are shopping for price and usually aren’t loyal to the business. So it would be up to the salon to keep them coming back. A great way is to keep using the before and after pictures and posting them on Facebook inviting the customer to tag themselves in the photo. By simply using Facebook, they could connect with so many people. With enough customer’s before and afters they would build trust and give a pretty clear picture of their skill set before you set foot in the salon. Also by inviting the customer to tag themselves, it would then spread the word as other people would also see it who are friends with the person tagged. This is super simple and could be very effective.
For enticing a repeat service, they could offer a loyalty card so that if they came 4 times, the 5th time they got an add on for free, like a treatment or a blowout, etc. The salon could text the customer since they have those details and offer something specific to have them come again after six weeks when it’s time for a trim or a root touch up. They could create a “happy hour” so that those value driven customers know that they can come back during 2p-4p Tuesday and Wednesdays for a great price.
It’s fine to use a discount, but to do so right out the gate of opening the business feels counterproductive. There are other ways that marketing efforts can be used. However, since they have already done it, these suggestions could help them in the future. It’s all unsolicited advice and it’s up to the business if they will succeed.