Retail presents some great opportunities for barbershops, however not all barbers understand how these can be achieved – so Modern Barber decided to ask some experts to share their tips.
Miguel Gutierrez aka Nomad Barber – Shop Owner and STMNT Grooming Co-Creator, explains: “As barbers we can’t upsell as many services like hair treatments or colouring, like you can in a salon, therefore retail sales help to supplement income to the shop. They also help boost income for self-employed barbers who manage their own salons.”
Meanwhile, Johnboy O’Sullivan, from Loud Fade Barbers, adds: “Customers who follow proper hair care routines using the correct products end up with better hair. It is every barber’s priority to create the best hair, and this is so much easier when you have your clients on board.”
With benefits such as these, it raises the question: why aren’t some barbers pushing retail?
“I think a lot of it comes down to a sales culture not really being a part of the barbershop culture,” Miguel says. “Unless someone has come from a salon, it’s unlikely they’ve done workshops or training with sales reps who show you how to sell.”
However, Miguel also highlights that implementing a sales culture doesn’t mean you have to be pushy, and explains: “The biggest mistake is making someone feel bad for not buying – it’s unnecessary and uncomfortable. Also, a lot of barbers will use a product without letting the client see the product, or explain what they’re using, or offer advice on product use at all – which is such a missed opportunity.”
Johnboy holds a similar view, explaining: “It’s not about a hard sell, it’s about educating your clients on the importance of proper hair care. I think the biggest mistake is that staff are often taught to sell to make money, and therefore to try and sell styling products to every client. Instead, if you educate clients on the benefits of the products and how to use them properly, they often feel more in control – and buy because they need it, rather than feeling that it is being pushed on them.”
To improve retail sales, Johnboy also believes identifying one strong, high-quality brand to work with is key. He expands: “It should be a brand that you would be proud to use yourself and tell your friends about. If you wouldn’t be shouting about it to your friends, then you don’t have the belief in a product to sell it. We picked STMNT for a few different reasons; the whole range is amazing; the product performance is incredible and the look and feel of the brand is great, too.
“Working with products you believe in means there is a good chance you are already talking in your client’s ear about how you get that hold or how you achieve that shine with certain products. Your barbers will be selling it without even thinking about it.”
Miguel agrees that the look of the brand is crucial, noting: “Visually they must look premium, otherwise people will associate your shop with a lower calibre of product, and make sure they align with your own brand values.”
However, whilst retail sales can boost revenue, Miguel believes that it is best to track sales separately from the rest of your business. He says: “I never count retail sales in my forecast because it’s so up and down. I like to treat it as a nice supplement to the income of the shop and it also helps you improve your relationship with your clients by offering them the advice they need. Of course, it can help, but it’s not going to change your barbershop overnight.”