We should be having a constant conversation with our inventory. Not literally staring at a bottle of shampoo until we hear a voice in our head but having a give and take of information. That builds salon inventory best practices.
Our inventory is our customer history, after all. We bring in things we think will shift, and we get an answer back from the empty or crowded boxes that sit in the storeroom.
If we were constantly getting feedback from our inventory, though, we’d get to know the when and why and who of what is working and what isn’t in the salon.
This kind of detail is what salon inventory best practices are all about. We can put plans in place and use equipment that turn our inventory into a dynamic source of information, and not just a tally of what we have left. Go a few days with the right kind of setup and you’ll find yourself talking to your inventory… and getting worthwhile answers.
What Salon Best Practices Can Do
When you run a service business like a salon, the retail inventory takes up less of your focus than the tools of the trade. Sometimes you can even find yourself struggling to remember exactly where a product on your shelf came from. Was that a throw-in from a supplier? Did we stock that because the sales team were pushing a new brand? Do we even use that?
But every space on the shelf is an opportunity. Salon inventory best practices can help us make the most of that space.
They help us use each available spot, and every dollar of product spend, to get something of value in return. It might be customer goodwill, or it might be a whole new revenue stream.
Those best practices include:
- Targeted ordering
- Tracking products
- Identifying sales trends
- Sell to your customers
- Product and pricing flexibility
Salon inventory best practices should give us a better understanding of our own business. They can become a new source of information, so we don’t have to live with the pressure of potentially wasting resources.
There are a lot of different ways a product finds itself on our shelves. When we have sponsorships and handshake agreements in place little niceties that we treat almost like experiments or decorations end up in front of the customer’s eyes. But if they’re going to be sitting for an hour in front of a bottle, we want to give ourselves the best possible chance of having them take it home with them.
We can do better if we consider how each product fits in with our business. It’s like thinking about how the product would come up in a natural conversation during a style and color, or a manicure. “this is new”, is an interesting enough opening line, but “this is what we use and why” is far more convincing.
If inventory really is our customer history, it pays, literally, to track it carefully. We should be able to track the complete history of everything we put on our shelves. We want to know when it sold, who took it home, and how long it took to sell – did it suddenly disappear in a word-of-mouth trend or did it drip out slowly to a specific kind of customer, maybe one we don’t see much of.
To really get the inventory conversation going, we can set up automated alerts that let us know straight away when there’s a spike in sales, or if a product has been left untouched for months. This kind of detailed product tracking means everything must earn its place in front of house. It also takes the pressure off us having to keep every bottle and blush accounted for in our head, so we never make an offer we can’t fulfill.
Identifying Sales Trends
If you use the kinds of best practices we’re talking about here you become aware of patterns that might otherwise get lost in the day-to-day of client service. But if you get an inventory system that links every sale back to your product list we start to notice little changes in what your customers are buying, and even which customers are doing the buying.
Every week you can get a Top 5 Sellers list from your inventory that confirms what you’ve started to notice, or maybe alerts you to something you hadn’t considered important. By tying that product information to details about the customers that buy them, you can start to better understand your business.
More than just letting you know what you’re running low on, your “talking” inventory can tell exactly why these products are suddenly in demand.
Sell to Your Customers
Turning our inventory into a more dynamic tool can teach us about the people we see in the salon every day. We can create histories that tell us what they buy and when what types of services are more likely to attract additional product sales, and how age and other demographics influence purchases. We don’t want to start going all “Facebook” on our regulars and trying to read their thoughts. We just want to better remember what they like and what they’ve bought before. It’s also helpful to know what other people in similar situations are liked before so we can see if that is worth mentioning.
Product and Pricing Flexibility
Finally, we want to have as much control over our products as possible. With the right point of sales and inventory system, we can change prices, offer specials, bundle products together, and find service and sale combinations that make sense to our own business.
It’s our business, our shelves, our customers, we know best what is going to bring all those things together to create happy customers that come back to see us regularly, and occasionally take away a little something extra from time to time. Our inventory best practices should be flexible enough to let us run our business the way we want – without everything turning into a money-wasting game of lost expenditure and inconsistent customer experience.
Salon Inventory Best Practices Should Be Sensible
Updating our inventory practices can help us learn about our business from the products themselves. It’s that idea of conversation again. We know what we bought, and we can see what’s left, but what happened in between?
By accurately tracking our products, getting flexible with our offers, picking up on unnoticed trends, and liking services with sales, we can draw in new information every day from a part of the business we would otherwise just treat as a pile of cardboard boxes.
When you partner with talech you get to learn more about your ow business. Our inventory services fit right into your point of sales devices so you can directly tie your purchase and profits together. We can help you track every product in your salon from order to sale, and together build customer information that lets you treat everyone exactly how they like to be treated. Sign up for a free demo and learn how to start a conversation with your inventory.