Full Circle: The Retail Conversation from Consultation to Checkout
Behind the chair is a natural place to talk about retail with your guest, but it’s not the only place. The retail conversation should start during the consultation and continue through each wedge of the service wheel, from start to finish.
At the Tangerine Salons in the Dallas area and Paris Parker salons in the New Orleans area, stylists are seeing a higher average retail ticket by mindfully mentioning retail throughout the entire service.
Consistency in coaching the service/retail conversation has yielded an average retail ticket above $12 in each of Tangerine’s five locations. It varies per salon, but there is one location that can go up to $18-20.
“It has become a culture thing,” Tangerine Operations Director Lauren Radoncic says. “Everyone can see where they rank in retail on our board and know if they need to step it up. We consistently go through numbers and benchmarks with our stylists, and are always encouraging.”
Tangerine intentionally does not pay a retail commission, but instead has a points program, where stylists can earn points based off products sold and redeem them for everything from vacation days to tools to advanced education.
At the newest Paris Parker location, Regional Manager Kevin Perryman has gotten the average retail ticket up to $14 since focusing on the service wheel.
“When we opened six months ago, our average retail ticket was more like $6-8, sometimes $10,” Perryman says. “But once we made this best practice solid, we saw the jump, and have consistently seen $14 for about three months.”
Perryman says the stylists are motivated by results.
“They come to me and say, ‘This is actually working. I’m getting referrals, selling products and made my retail incentive.’”
Team engagement with each other, daily huddles where retail is discussed, and an open line of communication with management also help.
“The basis of our huddle discussions always has something to do with the service wheel,” he says. “We talk about how we can improve upon the week before, and since we’ve been hyper focused on retail, we’re seeing results.”
“When we look at our service wheel, we talk to clients about W3H—What they’re using, Why they’re using it, Where it’s located (in the retail area) and How it’s used,” Radoncic says.
Tangerine Marketing Director Aubrey Garcia adds, “We expect our stylists to educate guests using W3H throughout the service.”
Here, Garcia, Radoncic and Perryman share their tips for maximizing the retail conversation during four key areas of service.
1. The Consultation
“Your product sales start in consultation,” Garcia says. “When a guest says she has dry hair, curly hair, her color fades, etc.—that’s all part of retailing.”
Every comment about her hair and answer to a question is a clue to her retail habits stylists can build upon.
“If you don’t start the conversation in this first wedge of the service wheel, you’ve lost it.”
Listening to the guests’ feedback is key, and Perryman says by asking the right questions, you can find out a lot about their retail habits.
“Ask them: ‘How do you style your hair? What products are you using now? What’s working or not working for you?’”
The answers to these questions will provide a baseline for your retail conversation in the chair.
2. At the Shampoo Bowl
At Tangerine, shampoo techs are trained to talk to the stylist before performing a shampoo. “After they find out, they can go back to the guest and say, ‘Adrienne wanted me to use the color shampoo again,’ and the guest sees the customization and intention behind each product used,” Radoncic says.
Perryman says sensory experiences like a hand massage or a cooling oil during the shampoo provide additional opportunities to retail.
3. During The Service
At Paris Parker, stylists focus on the what, when, why and how of a product when they’re talking about it. Guests are also treated to a “retail concierge.”
“We’re deskless, so our frontline staff is more engaged with guests from start to finish,” Perryman says. “As soon as they hear a blow dryer, they go to the chair with a Purescription card and ask the stylist what they’ve educated the guest on that day.”
The frontline staff notes what the client takes home, so the next time they come in, the stylist can ask how the emollient worked out, if they want to restock their favorites in travel sizes, etc.
“It’s talking about products in a REAL way,” Perryman says. “We’re never scared to suggest something, because it’s part of the conversation.”
During the holidays this year, Paris Parker took the retail conversation a step further with laminated sheets featuring holiday gift sets, prices and product information.
“We created a retail competition for it and put a sheet at every station and in the waiting area,” Perryman says. “When stylists handed the guest a beverage, they also gave them our gift guide as they sat down. The visuals on the sheet made it easier to talk about the gift sets.”
At Tangerine, stylists pull products as they use them and leave them on the station where guests can see and touch them, and ask questions.
They also make it a point to focus on a new product in their added-value services.
“Whether it’s a blow dry accelerator or Hand Relief crème, it gets our stylists talking about something new,” Garcia says. “We recently had success creating a seasonal sensory experience with a scalp treatment. Our stylists could add it to a hair cut as an easy way to introduce a new product to guests.”
Radoncic says streamlining the retail conversation during checkout has helped the process for both stylists and the front desk.
“Since the retail conversation has been going on the whole service, the stylist doesn’t have to show the guest all five products to use in the retail area,” she says. “So we simply take the guest to the one product that would benefit them most.”
The stylist then leaves the guest to pick up the product to take themselves before checking out.
With no front desk, Paris Parker frontline staff finish the checkout after pre-booking the client’s next appointment at the chair.
The frontline person then grabs the products off the shelf and has them sitting on a nearby surface, ready and waiting.
Then they say, “This is everything Karen recommended, what do you want to take home today?”
“The client heard about it at the consultation, the shampoo, in the chair, and the final piece is to ask what they’d like to bring home,” Perryman says.