Salon discounts, a business driver?
Salon discounts, a business driver?
I must have been eight or nine years old when my father explained to me what a dilemma was and to this day, I am fascinated by situations that throw one into the deep end of the thought pool, conundrums that seem unsolvable, a lose-lose situation as it were. One of this situations I believe is offering discounts in the service and especially in the beauty industry. On one hand offering discounts increases traffic to your establishment and on the hand it rarely creates a loyal client base as often most people who are attracted by the discount stay for the discount and would barely agree to pay for the full price of services. How then does one strike a delicate balance in ensuring that you can develop customer loyalty through discount? How does one ensure that discounts don’t leave the business haemorrhaging money? And above all, how does one ensure that there is relevant traffic conversion from a discounted period and back into regular business?
The basic need for discounts more often than not is a short term one and to be entirely honest the most effective discount seasons are short term. To achieve this short term effectiveness, the first and most important question to ask is “are discounts good for business?” and the answer is “sometimes”. Just like any other business, discounts have their place in the beauty industry be it marketing new hair product, new beauty product or even marketing a new service; however, discounting just because your competitors are doing so can be detrimental to a business, understand your books and your marketing period and adjust strategically. In the long run, it is impossible to do without discounts especially in a country where we have made sort of unofficial holidays out of discount seasons, from Back to school discounts and giveaways, to Easter, Valentines, Christmas and new years’ discounts. Adjusting your salon marketing period to reflect some of the above discount seasons can be a huge traffic booster to your salon in the short term. The elephant in the room however is how can a salon business effectively implement an effective discount strategy in the long run. In this article we will look at some tactics that can ensure an effective discount strategy.
- Have a predictable schedule
Growing up, we lived a short distance from the largest Bata Shoe Company outlet in East Africa and the company had a predictable official schedule of its biggest discount sale every year. We knew that every early January and mid-August Bata was going to have its largest price cuts, this created a level of loyalty and predictability for the company which meant they did not have to spend a lot of money in advertising as the people were aware of the sale. Having a random discount business model creates a level of uncertainty with your clients making a discount promotion period a very intensive financial and promotional period; however, having a fairly predictable discount period not allows your business to balance its books with a targeted discount period in mind it also gives your clientele a sense of control as they know when to expect a discount period cutting down on marketing cost. Having a once a week/once a month discount fortifies this state of predictability. Please note that every discount period should have a targeted revenue goal and should consistently reach it.
- Pre-launch offers
Having offers to mark a new product line or service helps your business stay relevant and ahead of the curve as you constantly have to innovate or invest some money into R&D. the feel of new hair styles, new product lines or new services gives your clients a unique feeling and your salon an establishment that creates unique memories. Constantly unique pre-launch discounts and effective marketing of said discounts puts your business on a pedestal as a beauty industry influencer this allows for beauty product manufacturers to easily partner with you as an influencer. This sort of partnerships creates a long term business structure as product manufactures trust your ability to sell and clients trust you as a beauty pop culture influencer.
- Holiday season offers
Though this happens for short, sporadic periods of time positioning your business as one of the mega-weights in holiday discounts ensures that in the long term people are able to rely on you as a discounted establishment over these periods creating a level of customer loyalty.
- Social media engagement discounts
Social media can be a hustle especially when it is all left to one person as the administrator. However, reaching to your audience every once in a while and offering discounted services for liking or sharing a post allows for a revamped social media campaign without extensive hustle. Allowing your audience to help in the distribution of content also opens up your business to a new audience and gives your salon a larger platform.
- Referral offers
Having your loyal client base help in recruiting and offering them discounts keeps your salon business growing and with top of the line customer and beauty services helps retain the new clients. This discount offer can help in those low traffic months and can help attract new clients by offering a low new client discount.
All the above discounting systems can help your salon remain relevant in the long run and give your business credibility however as earlier stated understanding your financial goals can help you in structuring your discount and fiscal plans. Remember discounts are meant to supplement your business not completely take over it, here are a few tactics to help you balance your regular selling point and your discounts:
- Know your value
Understand your quality of service and give a reasonable discount that does not hurt your businesses’ bottom line.
- Do not be swayed
Just because someone asks for a discount does not mean you have to offer them one. There is a reason you have a price point for your services, if it is not discount season calmly and respectfully explain your position. Offering unwarranted discounts is a bad game of dominos if you fold once all your clients will expect to be treated in a similar fashion compromising your price point and your bottom line.
- Value the right type of client
If you notice you have an influencer client, someone who will always bring a friend or co-worker to your establishment or even someone who will post their positive experiences on social media and constantly tag you then value them, offer them referral discounts and make them feel part of a family. The right client can offer your beauty parlour an amazing free marketing platform.
- Get creative
Be creative with your marketing and services as more often than not clients in Nairobi will be only willing to pay at price point meaning if a cheaper salon comes along they will shift loyalties. Being creative allows for your establishment to feel one of a kind, offer a glass of wine every fortnight or so, offer free consultation every so often just creatively keep your clients happy and content.
In conclusion discounts if properly strategized and well slated in a fiscal year can mean substantial foot-fall to your salon and a revenue increase every so often. Know your business, understand your clients’ needs and spending habits and strategize your discounts to their comfort for maximum impact.
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