Karen Houshultz has grown her business over the past 17 years, starting as a behind-the-chair cosmetologist with a three-operator salon to now running the 8,000-square-foot Apple Day Spa & Salon Inc. that has more than 26 employees. Karen also mentors other business owners with innovative marketing strategies and has spoken to numerous business groups about her aggressive approach on business growth and marketing. She can be reached at karen@appledayspa.com.

Are you tired of seeing dusty shelves with products that don’t sell? Have you purchased what your employees asked for, only to watch them use it and not sell it?

Here are six easy steps to boost your retail sales in the next month:

1. Create an attractive display. Create visible and inviting displays that your client wants to visit. Your salon/spa should have a retail center, inviting the client to browse and shop. If you hide the products, neither your clients nor your staff can see them, let alone buy them.

Make your displays fun. Customers like to touch and feel, so use testers when applicable. Displays should be changed every six to eight weeks and should follow holiday themes. Inexpensive decorations can be added at each holiday to make your products jump out at your clients.

Make sure your product displays are full. This is important because it’s proven that customers are more likely to purchase if the shelves are full. Mentally they think something is wrong with the last one or two bottles on the shelf. So, make sure you have at least four to six of each product you sell. Make sure they are all faced, meaning they are in line and pulled to the front, leaving no empty holes. This should be done every day.

2. Prescription pads are also a must. What do you do when your doctor hands you a prescription? You take it to the pharmacy and have it filled. Well, in the beauty industry, you are the doctor. If you don’t currently have prescription pads, make this your first priority, and make sure all your stylists and technicians are using them. You may get some grief from employees, but make a deal with them that if they use them for two weeks with every client and don’t sell anything, then they don’t have to use them again. This is a no-lose tactic; the client will buy. Make sure your front desk asks to see the prescription from their technician and asks if they can help them find the products.

3. Educate your client. No one knows the products like you and your staff. It is your job to tell your client why you are using certain products and that they can’t achieve the same results at home without them. Don’t just tell them they need to use it, tell them why, and be thorough. Not only will they purchase the product, but they will also become a more loyal client.

4. Promote a product of the week. Have a staff member pick a product of the week. Talk about that product with staff members at a five-minute morning meeting, and get everyone excited to sell lots of it (make sure you have enough in inventory). Make sure all staff members know what the product is and how it’s used.

Put up product-of-the-week displays around your building and/or small displays at each stylist/nail tech station with signage about the product. This is also a great reminder for your staff to talk about the product. Signs could read… “Ask me about [enter product name].” You’d be amazed at the number of people who will ask. Also, make sure your front desk has the product displayed and readily available for purchase. Upon checkout, make sure the front desk asks the client if they need any of that product today.

5. There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to spark sales. Hold a contest for your staff members to win a small prize. This could be as simple as a product, or you could make it as big as a paid day off. At your next staff meeting let you employees know you will be having a retail contest, and set some goals. Each salon’s goals vary, so use your judgment. Make the goal challenging but obtainable. The contest could run for a week, a month or even three months. Make sure you set a bottom limit so that everyone works equally hard.

6. Do a month-long retail calendar. Nothing excites your clients more than to save, so create a calendar of saving for them. Mark off each day of a calendar with different savings, such as 10 percent off anything red, buy one get one 25 percent off, etc. Make them fun. Post the calendars around the spa/salon for clients to read, and also print some for them to take home.

Retailing ideas are endless. Be creative and ask your staff to brainstorm some fun ideas to sell. But remember, if you do not sell to your client while they are in your salon/spa, 60 percent of them will leave your facility and purchase a product for their hair, skin or body somewhere else that day. Make it easy for them to purchase it from you.

Note: If you would like a copy of a sample prescription pad or calendar of savings, email Karen at karen@appledayspa.com.