Top Ten Salon Opportunities for 2017

Author: Jayne Morehouse   |   Posted on: February 01, 2017

With a new year come new opportunities, challenges and plans to make it all work. The International SalonSpa Business Network, with members owning or franchising two to more than 7,500 salons across all 50 states with value-priced, family-priced and prestige business models, recently shared their thoughts on the state of the industry in 2017.
“At Great Clips, we believe 2017 will be a strong year and we anticipate our business will grow,” said Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips, Inc. and president of ISBN. “We believe growth will come from our continued focus from clearly evaluating how we’re serving customers, how they are responding to promotions, how we can create a better experience and how we can build off of that in the salons. We look at all of the data to make sure we aren’t missing something that might affect our business.” Gordon Logan, CEO/founder of Sport Clips, is equally bullish on 2017. “We see continued improvements in the economy under the new leadership, which will make the next few years very favorable for increased investments in people, facilities and infrastructure,” he explained. “We believe the salon industry, and ISBN members in particular, are very well positioned to grow their businesses and increase market share.” ISBN Members Name Top 10 Salon/Spa/Barbershop Opportunities for 2017 1. Offering unique services, especially add-on services. Unique services and add-ons can set your salon apart in its marketplace and bulk up its bottom line. New services and products like bond builders can kick your expertise up a notch and establish your business as a market leader. “The consumer is changing, and as a result, our growth will come from offering unique and personal services, especially add-ons like bond builders and hair strengtheners,” explained Pat Neville, president of BeautyFirst, Beauty Studios and Paradigm Advisory Group, and ISBN vice president. “Those open the door to a multi-million dollar business from additional services that are exclusive to salons.” Phil Horvath, president and chief operating office of Ratner Companies, which include Hair Cuttery, Bubbles and other brands added, “Our guests are looking for a place to receive a great service and connect on a human level with a salon professional. We plan to deliver a great experience for our guests with a value proposition. In addition, we see an explosion in hair color trends and the consumer demand and growth potential are huge.” At V’s Barbershops, CEO/Founder Jim Valenzuela, and his team target affluent males and their sons, and create an experience accordingly. “Our DNA is the authentic barbershop, so we are focused on staying authentic and doing what we do really well in an elegant way,” he says. 2. Focusing on the guest experience. “At Gene Juarez, our single biggest opportunity is to increase our existing customers’ visits by one annually,” explained Scott Missad, CEO of the Seattle-based company. “That alone will give us double-digit growth. To that end, our marketing, merchandising and incentive plans are all revolving around creating an experience that attracts one more visit per client per year. One example is our Color to Cut and Cut to Color Referral Cards.” He added, “We’re looking at every service and trying to make it magical. For example, instead of offering ‘a haircut,’ we’re promoting our curly-hair expertise to speak to that unique customer base. We’re marketing to our guests about specific haircolor services. We’ve worked with our vendor Ouidad to create the Ouidad Curl Expert campaign.” Missad added, “Clients are coming in less often, especially those wearing long hair with a balayage technique that doesn’t require as much maintenance. We’re finding unique approaches and techniques that bring them back in more frequently. For example, we are currently running a Color Bounceback Promotion Gift with Service with Oribe.” At Hairzoo, based in New York and California, with a goal of attracting 75 new guests per month, President Gary Reed and his team are creating a memorable experience for their guests at every touch point. “We believe the service walks into the salon, but the overall guest experience walks out of the salon,” he explained. “We focus on the off-the-menu service—the welcome, the greeting, the good-bye—to make the guest experience warmer, more inviting, hospitable and gracious, as well as consistent. We open the door, hang their coats and offer a beverage every time. We train our philosophy weekly, starting with our language. For example, our hosts ask, ‘May I place you on a brief hold?’ rather than saying, ‘I’m going to place you on hold.’ It’s surprising what a big difference that little twist can make. We never forget that we are working for the guest.” That training also covers team image. “Our image as professionals is so important,” says Reed. “We want our guests to look up to our team as style leaders.” 3. Maximizing the benefit of technology to improve the stylist and guest experiences. “Our biggest opportunity in 2017 is how we leverage technology to strengthen the relationship with our customers and how we use data to evaluate our customer experiences objectively,” explained Olsen. “Our focus is on doing whatever we can to make the stylists’ jobs easier, because we know the most important aspect of our experience is with our stylists.” “If we can use technology to make it easier for them,” he continued, “then we can use that same technology to strengthen our relationships with our customers. As we continue to refine our online check-in and the data around customer waits, we know customers will use our app more. They will learn to trust our app and when they walk into our salons, they will be more satisfied with their service because they have not had to wait. We will also be able to leverage the app for more communication with our customers to maintain contact between the services.” “We are making major investments in technology,” Logan added, “from a new improved POS system that will provide a better client experience and improve our internal reporting, to data mining so we can better understand our clients’ motivations for coming into Sport Clips. We will use this information to better relate to our clients, make the appropriate decisions for our marketing programs and to better identify real estate locations that have the highest probability of success.” 5. Helping clients with textured hair feel at home. With women embracing their natural texture more than ever, this category has the potential to become as dominant as haircolor, which is currently the driver of salon profits, including sales of other services. “There are so many services and products for caring for and styling textured hair, the opportunities are tremendous,” Neville said. “What’s more, the textured-hair client is more particular about her hair, spends more time at the salon and is willing to spend more money with her hair than other clients. As we create and offer more services and products to satisfy her needs, the category -- and the referrals -- will grow substantially.” 6. Creating a man-friendly experience. Charles and Debra Penzone, long known for their palatial Charles Penzone day spas in Columbus, Ohio, are hot on men. “We see gentlemen as a key contributor to our projected three percent growth in 2017, and as a result, we are giving them their own space in our new barbershop, the Royal Rhino Club,” they say. Valenzuela added, “Our biggest opportunity is still to increase same-store sales along the same path as we have for the past 3 to 4 years. As more men head back to the barbershop and want an authentic experience, we concentrate on that metric closely.” 7. Bringing beautiful hair back en vogue. “Consumers are returning to beautiful hair in color and style,” Neville said. “The extremes are fun, but retreating to the fringe. The idea is to help our clients look natural, elegant unique, while still polished in cut, color, texture. Marketing the services and products that support elegant hair will result in a strong ROI.” 8. Offering solutions for a healthy hair and scalp. “Consumers are increasingly aware that so many environmental factors, chemicals and lifestyle choices can greatly impact the health of their hair and scalp,” Neville added. “As a result, they are looking for services and products that will help create a healthier scalp and healthier hair.” 9. Offering a menu of services for women and men experiencing hair loss. Following that same thought, more women and men are experiencing hair loss than ever before, and they aren’t willing to sit back and let nature take its course. “They want solutions and they want them now. Those solutions can range from modern topical and ingestible options to hair extensions, partial hair pieces and wigs,” said Neville. 10. Promoting salon/spa/barbershop memberships and packages. “We focus on memberships and packages to increase sales, referrals and loyalty,” explained Gary Reed, president of Hairzoo, who with his parents is expanding the company’s footprint on both coasts in 2017. “We start with a haircut or blow-out membership, then build add-on services or amenities to thank guests who purchase a package of multiple services. That allows us to sample new services and reward our best clients. In addition, we’re rolling out a new loyalty program to incentivize our guests to help us increase both our retention and referral numbers. When they refer a friend of family member for a discounted service, they enjoy the same discount on their next service. That encourages them to purchase more than one service from us.” To discuss these ideas and others with your colleagues, multi-unit salon and spa leaders are invited to attend the International SalonSpa Business Network’s 2017 Conference, May 7-9, at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, Florida. For more articles, insights and membership information, visit Jayne Morehouse is a monthly columnist for The Stylist Newspapers and the president of Jayne & company, a full-service creative content development agency for beauty and lifestyle companies, brands, salons, spas and beauty professionals. Her expertise includes brand communications, public relations, social media marketing and advertising. For her free newsletter, email your name, salon name and email address to Reach her at Follow her @Jayne PR and @BeautyIQ and connect on Read more Beyond Your Chair Articles Stylist Newspapers | 1-888-297-7010 | P. O Box 657 |Banks, OR 97106