• Graham Henrickson

Does Your Salon Offer Fries with That? (part 3)

When it comes to choosing a brand for your salon, it's the brand strategy that’s should be amongst the most important considerations.

Just as location is the most important consideration when buying real estate, strategy is when considering to introduce a brand. That's because the brand strategy is evidence of an ongoing plan for growth and indicative of the commitment and the capability of the distributor to help you sell their products successfully.

Don’t be fooled by the opening order. A lot of effort is made to make an opening order attractive to a retailer and there’s good reason for it. But if it’s a long-term relationship you want and need then you need to confident that it's achievable and a review of the upcoming 12-month brand strategy is a good place to start.

  • New Product Launches

  • Product Promotions

  • Marketing Campaigns

  • Print and Digital Advertising

  • Co-operative Advertising

Distribution Strategy

The last thing you need is to put a whole lot of effort into a brand only to find 12 months later that it’s now being sold by all your competitors. So, before signing on you need to review the distribution strategy for the brand under consideration.

  • What are the account criteria?

  • Who makes the final decision?

  • Where is the brand being sold? (distribution network and types of retailers)

  • What geographical rules apply to stockists?

  • Is there a minimum turnover requirement?

Remuneration Scheme

How a brand remunerates its sales team can have a significant effect on how they behave and the level of support you can expect as a stockist. If salary is based purely on commission or sales turnover, then it’s likely to encourage aggressive sales tactics, returns may not be processed, and stock can build up and start ageing. By the time its discovered, that sales representative may have moved on, leaving a situation that could ruin your business.

Any brand worth its salt will be asking its sales force to submit sales targets for each account. It’s therefore in your best interest to find out what has been estimated for your salon, so you have the opportunity to influence that decision and ensure you have the tools necessary to achieve it.


Here are some key considerations to help with your decision making:

  1. Point of sale and display material supplied along with the opening order.

  2. How and when will product training, sales education be provided.

  3. Advice and tools relating to inventory management and ordering procedures.

  4. In the case where a new brand is to replace an existing one, you may consider making help to clear the discontinued stock as a condition. They may agree to purchase what remains of the competitors’ stock or a mark down subsidy to help clear it.

For Salon Owners the advice is to:

  • Make informed decisions.

  • Choose your brands carefully and think about long-term benefit. Independent advice can be valuable before your final decision.

  • Consider price positions and level of exclusivity.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

  • Set mutually agreed and realistic minimum retail turnover targets for 3 and 6 months as the trigger to end the arrangement.

  • Have an exit strategy if it fails.

  • Negotiate return of aged stock/ mark-down subsidy of slow sellers.

  • If possible, appoint a member if the team as the champion to oversee this part of your business and rewards them for it.

  • Integrate retail products into your CRM.

  • Identify competitors doing well and find out why.

  • Implement structured and recorded consultations with your CRM.

For Suppliers the advice is to:

  • Provide the knowledge and skills needed to sell your products successfully.

  • Equip the salon with sales tools to help introduce products quickly and sales techniques that avoid damaging their relationship with clients.

  • Offer product merchandising, display and marketing materials that have been designed to facilitate and encourage self-selection.

  • Demonstrate genuine commitment to building long-term relationships and try to understand the salon and the people who work there as well as their clients.

  • Be consistent with decision making.

  • Keep salons informed without over communicating.

  • Offer sales incentives/promotions.

  • Recognise and reward success.


The client is a hair salon and the case involved one of Australia’s biggest salon suppliers and one of their high-profile brands. Apart from delivering the stock, very little was done to help this salon achieve sales success. Even after bringing these issues to their attention along with practical suggestions the supplier took no action or failed to reply.

  • The opening order was delivered without any retail price information, this took 2 weeks to arrive.

  • The salon owner was given no meaningful face-to-face education on product and felt inadequate to present and explain products and their benefit to customers.

  • Christmas gift sets were well received but were supplied without any POS ticketing or advice regarding the best way to display and promote them.

  • There was no discussion about potential sales results or best approach for managing inventory.

  • No guidelines were provided to enable the salon to implement marketing activity that would satisfy the brand communication requirements.

  • The display unit delivered with stock was well-made and eye catching. But without any ticketing or means to show a product description/price, the consumer is left to guess if it’s affordable and staff are left to fumble about looking for a price list which will diminishes their confidence even further.


Design of product merchandising and display must be retailer and consumer friendly

  1. A ‘plan-o-gram’ that specifies the exact position of every product makes it easier to identify best sellers, reduces the time taken to prepare a replenishment order, encourages consistent brand presentation across the market and helps clients choose the right product for them.

  2. Having a description and retail price clearly displayed encourages self-selection and prevents consumer embarrassment about affordability.

  3. Including current marketing visuals and product information improves brand recognition and awareness.