How to Keep Your Nail Salon Competitive

Industry • Best Practice

4 Ways to Keep Your Nail Salon Competitive

A visit to the salon can be an invigorating indulgence for clients if you pay attention to the details.

Nail salons thrive when they stand out from the competition, and not just for immaculate nails. Unique services, product sales, and loyalty plans are all essential factors that will position you for success. Let’s take a look at four effective ways to keep your nail salon competitive and your customers happy.

Cleanliness and comfort

This one is obvious but so important it bears repeating. Every inch of your salon is part of your customer’s journey, so make sure they all reflect well on your business. Though you’ve certainly put a lot of thought into the aesthetics of your salon, everyday signs of wear and tear can signal to your clients that they should take their business somewhere else. Burnt out bulbs, tattered chairs, nicked up counters, stained ceiling tiles, and scuffed floors are small detractors that can add up.

It’s vital to think of your clients’ comfort, as well. Keep environmental systems in good repair to maintain a pleasant temperature, avoid too much (or too little) light, and don’t forget about noise. A trip to the nail salon should be an indulgent moment of self-pampering, but it’s hard to relax when you’re distracted by a draft or booming radio. Set aside time and resources for regular evaluations of the atmosphere your salons create.

Consider going green

As green options for everything from household cleaners to clothes become available, people are paying more attention to what they put in, on, and around their bodies. Nail art has a reputation for being heavy with chemicals, but that’s changed. It may not be possible at this point to take your nail salon completely green, but offering “5 free” products — those that avoid potentially harmful chemicals like toluene or formaldehyde — can be a strong differentiator for your business.

Stay on top of trends

Classic reds and pinks will never go out of style, but your salon needs to stay on top of trends to keep clients excited. Be aware of the new colors, techniques, designs, and shapes that are gathering buzz, and offer them to your regular clients first so they can spread the word. You can also use those same clients as a focus group for new services or art styles. Don’t be afraid to experiment and innovate; after all, someone had to be the first to think of painting an ombre French tip.

Make smart choices about technicians

Many salon owners get into trouble by following conventional hiring wisdom when it comes to their nail technicians. It seems counterintuitive, but you may want to avoid hiring highly experienced artists for your salon. The longer someone works for a particular salon, the more likely they are to internalize that business’ culture, which may be at odds with yours. A technician with just one or two years of experience can be a better investment for your salons’ long-term growth as they develop a loyal client base.

Also, keep in mind that technicians are the face of your salon as far as customers are concerned, so vet them well before you invite them to join your team. It’s not outlandish to ask an applicant to do an in-salon test on a member of your team or another willing participant so you can assess their art as well as their demeanor.

Manicures are a beauty regimen that requires regular upkeep, and the ritual of a visit to the salon can be a refreshing moment of solace in an otherwise hectic schedule. If your salon is a welcoming and appealing place to visit, you’ll become a haven for your clients to treasure.‎

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