Industry • Best Practice
Mar.10,2021By Boulevard Staff
As a responsible salon owner, you no doubt have access to all manner of data about your business. Your management system puts information about sales, schedules, per-visit spend, monthly burn, time-per-client and more at your fingertips, but having a salon report is only half the equation. You also need to understand how to interpret the data and use it to make smarter, more informed business decisions.
If you want your business to thrive and grow, it needs to make more money. Or does it? Do you really need to attract more clients, or could you be getting a higher average spend — and therefore higher margins — from the ones you already have? Are your salons operating at peak efficiency, or is too much downtime cutting into your profits? You can’t fully understand your enterprise’s potential until you know how it’s performing right now, and for that, you need data. Unless you perversely derive immense satisfaction from poring over spreadsheets, you’re going to want a salon management system to assemble those reports for you.
Before anything else, it’s probably a good idea to establish the kinds of insights your salon management system can provide and what each category can do for you. Let’s start by breaking information into three main sections: sales, customers, and staff.
Sales data is probably the most important information you can pull from your salon report because money keeps your salon going. Obviously, you want to have a top-down view of how your retail products are selling, and what that means for your bottom line. Your salon report should break down wholesale cost, gross profit, and net profit for every item you sell over whatever period of time you care to examine. Don’t stop there with the data, however. Use it to determine the impact your promotions have on sales, whether certain services tend to inspire a retail item upsell, or even if some stylists are better at pushing products than others. You may discover hidden sales trends that you can exploit to increase your profit margin.
Salon reports will also have data on the average dollar amount each customer spends per visit, which can be invaluable for long- and short-term planning. If you have historical sales data, you can anticipate seasonal lulls and head off financial shortfalls. For example, if your clientele heads to the beach for the summer, you might decrease spending to compensate or focus on upselling add-on services like facials to those who stick around. If luxe beauty products sell like mad during the holidays, stock up so you don’t run out.
Your data provides rich insights into the habits and preferences of your customer base. Perhaps the most crucial first analysis is the ratio of new clients to repeat business on a per-salon or enterprise basis. It costs more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one; if your ratio is out of whack, it may be a hidden money-sink. Generally speaking, you want to have about a third of your new customers come back and around two-thirds as loyal repeat business. Promotions can help with the former, and loyalty programs are fantastic for the latter. Salon management systems can help you manage all of the above.
Your salon reports are still helpful even if you already have a firm handle on your repeat business. Get detailed information on which marketing efforts yielded new business, down to which social media platforms work best for your salons. Gain insight into a typical client’s average time between bookings, how they prefer to book, even how frequently they’re no-shows. You’re in the business of providing highly personalized service for your customers, and that shouldn’t stop once they leave your salon. Create a list of clients with a history of buying gift cards and offer a reward for purchasing several at once. If one of your locations has a higher-than-average percentage of no-shows, use data to investigate the underlying issue.
Your staff is your most valuable asset when it comes to growing your salon enterprise. They’re the front line dealing with clients every day. Information and planning can only achieve so much unless you put equal effort into optimizing your staff.
The average revenue per chair is a broad brushstroke that can inform your overall view of a salon’s productivity. However, it’s a data point that requires context. A stylist that’s particularly great with kids may not be getting as much opportunity for high-ticket services like color. A nail tech’s secret to a fiercely loyal customer base is the time they take to make each visit feel special, leading to fewer clients in a day but a sky-high repeat percentage.
A salon report can also reveal training opportunities for your staff. A stylist who excels at upselling clients can share strategies with the rest of the team, for example. A technician failing to bring in repeat business can be mentored by one who’s had more success, which not only helps your business thrive but also empowers your staff. Stylist retention is a major pain point for salon owners. Demonstrating that you appreciate your staff’s full range of skills and want to provide room for them to grow is a powerful incentive for them to stay.
You’ve got scads of information and oodles of reports. Now what? Now you let that data inform your choices about where to best leverage your resources for long-term growth. After all, you can’t know where you’re headed if you don’t know where you are. Establish key benchmarks for your salon enterprise, such as productivity, new monthly business, or average customer spend. From there, you can create goals at the enterprise, salon, or individual level.
However, before you dig into your data, have an idea of what you want to learn from it. While it’s tempting to say you want to know everything, you don’t want to run the risk of analysis paralysis, endlessly remixing information until you’re so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start. Ask the right questions, and your salon report will reveal everything you need to fuel your salon’s success!