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Promotional pitfalls: Avoiding the most common mistakes

Posted on 20th September 2013 by Debbie Miller

Retail Girl

Promotions are a great way increase revenue and reward your most important clients – providing they are executed correctly. If you’ve had bad experiences with promotions in the past, here are a few ideas of where you could have gone wrong, and what you need to do to ensure your next one is a raging success.  

 Problem #1: Stylists hate discounting-“I don’t want to make less”

While new stylists are generally hopeful and motivated to do “whatever” is necessary for client exposure, your more experienced staff may not feel that way.  If your stylists aren’t out there selling your promotion and its value, you are going to have a hard time getting the message through to clients.

Solution: Categorize your promotions according to your stylist’s levels and needs. If increasing head count is critical, make it redeemable for only those stylists who need clients, not those who are 80% or more booked or requested. For those staff who are already busy, try promotions designed to increase spend, like 50% off new service (color) with purchase of haircut.

Problem #2: Not getting ROI- “We ran the special for 90 days, but we lost money!”

Ouch! One of the most common issues people make is brainstorming the “idea” of a promotion and not paying attention to its cost. If the promotion is meant to drive in new business, you need to first determine your goals, budget and the value of your outcomes

Solution:Decide what you want to achieve - more clients, service revenue or retail sales and then consider your budget before deciding on a promotion. For color services, limit them to a partial application and make sure your stylists charge for any overlay of toner they use- or trust me, the promotion will cost you money. Hot Tip- Shortcuts now has a Stock Statistics Calculator that can help you plan ahead and determine the increase of product you will need to order. 

Problem #3:  Your promotions are too complicated  :Buy this get that, but only on Tuesday 3-6pm”

The ability to be able to put parameters on your promotions is a great feature to use because you can control your hours to honor in your business. But, also be mindful of adding any additional rules, because the more complicated you make it, the more likely your clients are to get bored before they claim their prize.

Solution: Give your clients quick easy wins, and if you are adding a product to a service- make sure it has something to do with the service. For example, color promotions are great opportunity to increase retail sales- especially with color protecting products.

Problem #4: Poor execution- “I didn’t know you were having a sale!”

Even the smartest promotions will fall over if people don’t know about it – and that goes for your staff as well as your clients. Imagine the impact on a loyal client who finds out they could have saved money on a service, but didn’t.

Solution: The best way to set your team up for the win is to have the promotion ready to launch to your team 90 days prior to live date. This will give your staff time to talk to each client in their chair in the lead up to the promotion, and will give you time to prepare supporting email and SMS marketing campaigns.

Comment below and share your most successful promotion or biggest failure. What went well or not so well, and what did you learn?


Blog Author

about the author

Debbie Miller has been a driving force in education and building business strategies for more than 25 years with cosmetology schools, private salons, distributors and professional beauty manufacturers across the globe. Today, Debbie proudly works with the Shortcuts team and together, focuses on the development of Smarter Business Technologies that impact the professional beauty industry.

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