Insight for Stylists

How to Do Holiday Merchandising the Right Way


By Erin Gignac

We all know the moment. You innocently walk into a store and that’s when you first hear it: the proverbial melody of “Last Christmas” by Wham! Already, you’re being inundated with the voice of George Michael whispering “Merry Christmas” into your ear—and it’s not even November.

Holiday merchandising is tricky because it’s not always taken the right way. Do the season—and your clients and stylists—some justice this year. Turn off the gaudy music (at least until a week prior to December 25) and learn how to lead a successful holiday merchandising campaign with Managing Director and Co-Owner of RED 7 SALONS in Chicago and Evanston, Jason Hall.

Jason Hall, Director and Co-Owner of RED 7 SALONS“We try not bang people over the head with it,” Hall said. “In general, people are aware of gifting to themselves and to others during the holidays.”

The main key is to make it easy. Offer a prepackaged promotion from a manufacturer that offers a free bag or fancy holiday branding. This way, it’s one less present that your client has to wrap and put together. If manufacturers aren’t offering a holiday package, have your salon make the connection and create your own gift packages and baskets.

“One year we had a stocking stuffer station,” he said. “It was a table filled with travel-size products.”

You can also keep it easy by focusing on one push per month. With more than one focus, you risk overwhelming the consumer with too many promotions—something that could potentially hurt your campaign. Monthly promotions ensure that your cycle of clients get the chance to buy and also guarantee that there’s something fresh every time they come in.

“You don’t want to force people to think about the holiday. Instead, give them the opportunity to think about it,” he said.

Be subtle with your progression into the holidays. Roll out your holiday merchandise on November 1—that’s when most retailers like Target or Marshall’s start—but wait until mid-month to decorate the salon.

“It’s not that crazy to start merchandise on November 1 but when we decorate on November 1, customers don’t have a positive response to it,” he said.

Even worse than garish decorating, however, is doing is nothing at all during the holidays, Hall said. It might be scary, but you risk regretting what “might’ve been” if you don’t put out holiday merchandising. If your sales fizzle out and aren’t what you expected them to be, don’t be discouraged.

“It depends on the year and the economy,” Hall said. “It depends if there’s a new product launch that everyone’s really attracted to. Sometimes, it depends on the packaging.”

Just keep going and applying these simple rules—don’t offer too many choices and don’t make it confusing. Here are some more basic tenets of holiday merchandising:
1. Build your display to be as interactive as possible—add iPads with videos beside the product.
2. Give different options in price point: under $20, between $20 to $40 and above $40.
3. Offer a holiday-themed coffee, tea, hot chocolate or spiced cider.
4. Focus on one promotion or product to draw the eye.
5. No new products? No problem. Feature a stylist’s favorite sleeper product. This will help sales of the product and also empower your stylist.
6. Celebrate different cultures—not just Christmas.

When it comes to music, you don’t have to be specific to Christmas. Recognize and celebrate music from all cultural and religious holidays, like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa—even Chrismakkuh and Festivus. If you can’t decide when to start the barrage of cheery, holiday songs, listen to your customers—and staff—and get their opinion on when the music should start.

“The majority appreciates it when we wait,” Hall said.

Sometimes, you have to grin and bear it. If someone just can’t handle one more rendition of “Winter Wonderland,” maybe your salon can upsell by can add a pair of earplugs to their service. Happy Holidays! 

Browse and buy our holiday products online or over the phone with a Premier Beauty Account Executive and follow us on Facebook to stay current with your business and ours. 

Erin Gignac covers stories for Premier Beauty. Follow her on Twitter or view more of her work here

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