The main thing that will influence business in your salon will be economics. After all, when the economy is riding high, people are willing and able to spend money on more expensive salon services, services that can easily be done at home, and luxury spa services like full-body massage and body wraps. But when the economy is slumping, those services may be considered a luxury rather than a necessity. As a result, customers may cut back on the frequency of their salon visits, or they may opt only for the basic services provided by one of the budget-conscious national chains.
One way to avoid being caught up a creek without a paddle is to research your target market's economic base carefully. If you've done your market research well so far, you already have some idea of the average income levels in your neighborhood. Now you need to look at data like the percentage of people who are employed full time and the types of jobs they hold. If the local market is driven by a lot of blue-collar, heavy industry jobs, a downturn in the economy could make cash tight and affect your ability to keep customers. Luckily, most people still use salon services, even if it's just for a basic cut, when times are tough, but they may go longer between services. So make a phone call to your city's economic development office now to get a handle on the health of local industry.
Your Salon's Website
Just as you'll access other companies' websites for information about their products and services, you'll want both prospective and repeat clients to be able to find you in cyberspace. Your website will be crucial to your marketing efforts and can be used for everything from posting your hours and driving directions to selling salon services.
Spas come off particularly well in a cyber tour. Well-decorated private treatment rooms can communicate a feeling of soothing relaxation even on screen, while suggesting that a resort-style oasis of serene tranquility is no more than a phone call away.
Because your Website is virtual advertising that's available on demand 24 hours a day, it's important to spend a fair amount of time considering what it should say. (We're assuming that your site will be an "online brochure" with multiple pages rather than an electronic business card.) The best way to determine content is by thinking like a customer and answering the questions you think he or she would have when searching for a new salon or spa. Here are examples of the kinds of questions a prospective salon/spa customer might have:
- Do you provide initial consultations? Is there a charge?
- Can you give me the same hairstyle as (name of celebrity)?
- What's the latest look?
- Are your stylists experienced? Where did they study/train?
- What do your services cost?
- Do you sell gift certificates?
- What hair-care product lines do you carry?
- Which credit/debit cards do you accept?
- Where are you located?
- What are your hours?
- How can I reach you?
- Are your spa employees licensed?
- Are your masseuses male or female?
- Are hyrdo treatments better than massage?
- How do you sanitize your equipment?
- How long will my treatment take?
- What do you charge?
- May I take a tour of your facility?