Retailing...Yes, You Can Compete with the Big Guys

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Despite doubts about competing with major retailers' discounts, there's hope for salon owners and independent stylists in effectively promoting their products and services. Biolage is here to help with some tips and pointers.

When it comes to your retail efforts, as a salon owner or independent stylist it’s easy to become discouraged. “How can I compete with the discounts my clients can get at major stores and online retailers?” you wonder. Plus, how do you even go about doing a product promotion? Fair questions, for sure. And the answers are actually encouraging!


First of all, it’s definitely possible to compete, price-wise. How? Well for starters, check out the January open stock liter sale from Biolage at SalonCentric.. You can choose from all the OGs plus the latest and greatest-- including Color Last, Color Last Purple, Hydra Source, Ultra Hydra Source, Smooth Proof, Bond Therapy, Volume Bloom, Scalp Sync, Clean Reset, Strength Recovery and Full Density. They’re all 25% off and if you pass those savings along to your clients, you’re easily in the game when it comes to competing with the big guys!


When your client buys their home care products from you, there are several big “wins.” With your professional recommendation, you’re able to control what’s going on with their hair between salon visits and know that they’re using the best formulas for their hair types and textures. As they notice their hair condition improving over time, you’ll feel the love in the forms of client loyalty and referrals.


Then, of course, there’s the boost to your income. Retail sales are what the financial folks call “passive income.” It means you earn money without having to spend time to perform a service. How much money? Here are some numbers to consider:

  • If you sell 50 liters, you could earn an additional $612.50.

Those extra dollars can add up quickly and you’ll find that retail products can make a substantial difference to your overall income.



If you’re ready to give it a go, here are some ways to set yourself up for success when doing a retail promotion.


If yours is a commission salon:

Start by laying some groundwork. Create the details of your promotion plan—timeline, products offered, etc. Gather your retail sales data by employee and by month. Then set specific goals, per month and per promotion, for each employee. Calculate the quantities of product you will need to achieve your goals and be sure to place your order a minimum of two weeks prior to the promotion to account for shipping mishaps or delays. Craft each service provider’s incentive. For example, you may decide that for each liter sold, the individual will earn an additional 1 percent in retail commission after a minimum of $200. Then work out your marketing plan. This is the time to get creative! Use social media, signage and email communication as tools to get the message out there! And don’t forget that Biolage is standing by to help with downloadable assets on the Salon Resources page.


Ready to go? Here’s what’s next. Call a team meeting to communicate the details of the promotion, align your team on key talking points and fire up the gang! Get your space retail-ready with signage and product displays. Begin tracking each team member’s progress and keep celebrating the wins along the way.


Once the promotion is a wrap, it’s time for a de-brief. Review the sales data. Look for trends, including which products sold the best and which employees were the most successful. Share the results with the team. Discuss what worked, what didn’t and what could be improved. These actions are essential for moving forward and accomplishing even more with the next promotion!


If you’re an independent stylist:

The process is very similar to a commission salon, except you’re doing it as a solo act!


Start by formulating your promotion plan, analyzing your existing sales data so you know what’s selling and what isn’t. Set monthly goals, figure out how much inventory you will need and place your order in plenty of time to allow for delays. Then create your marketing strategy, including social media, emails, signage, etc., and don’t hesitate to lean on for help and free marketing tools!


Next, get your space ready to sell! Create cool displays, have fun with props and signs. Cruise around other salons and even other types of small stores to get display and merchandising ideas. Once the promotion gets underway, stick with it! Keep your goals in mind, keep your eye on the prize, pivot when necessary and don’t settle for less than what you expect. Review your progress often and congratulate yourself on every incremental win.


When the promotion is complete, set aside time to analyze the sales data. Identify sales trends, figure out which products were winners, and which were not. Think about the marketing efforts that worked and how you can amplify those efforts next time. Also think about what may not have had much impact and what you might do differently instead. Then put the next promotion on the calendar right away and get ready for an even bigger and better success!


Final thoughts:

Taking time to set up an effective retail strategy takes time, energy, and the ability to pivot quickly. Don’t be afraid to try a new promotion and see what works and learn from it. The more you make this a habit, the more often you’ll see the results you want and the ability to stay ahead of the competition!

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