You can see straightaway when entering a Spa/Salon whether the stock is well managed or not. Merchandising is not the only giveaway but also how clean the testers are. These signs give you an idea of the level of stock management.
The love of stock doesn't always come naturally to Spa or Salon managers and we don’t always acquire the stock we believe in. Instead we get into bad habits because we think we know our stock. We overlook trends and impulse buys and panic buy because we are running low on something (especially in professional stock).
Yet Stock Management is possibly the easiest operational affair you will ever come across! Stock Management is one of the highest costs in your budget after Staff and needs to be looked at in great detail. This way you will not only reduce your costs, you will be able to invest in new trends without feeling the pinch.
So where do we go wrong?
1: We don’t have a system in place = panic buying and lack of control
A monthly stocktake is a necessity - at least every 6 weeks. This is valid for Retail and Professional stock. It will allow you to analyse your stock, see what's selling and what isn't and better enable you to get a strategic plan in place year on year. This way everything is accounted for (testers, products to give away for raffle prizes etc.) and you can create marketing events to shift the stock that's been sitting on the shelves for a while. For example - create an offer with a treatment. Your your stock loss is then reduced which is a sign of effective Stock Management.
2: We don’t get the team involved = insecurity of your stockholding and lack of cleaning.
The team should know you are on it! If you don’t have a system in place and you don’t show your team there is one, they can start to take advantage by borrowing or using retail for treatments. When was the last time you looked at your stock as a customer would? How dusty are your shelves? How clean are your testers? The love of retail starts with systems. You want to borrow something? Sign this form! You want to send out products for a raffle prize? Write it on the sign out form! If you get the team involved they will start to understand the importance of the stock and planning ahead. The more involved they are in stock management, the more they understand your business.
3: We stick our heads in the sand when it comes to the professional range.
This is possibly the biggest mistake we can make. If the team are overusing certain products because complacency has set in, then you will obviously end up having to buy these products more often. When was the last time you checked how much they should use per treatments? What training do you have in place for your team to follow procedures? The professional product is where it all goes wrong and we end up with a lot of misuses. Be as strict with it as you are with the retail.
4: We don’t merchandise according to the Marketing Plan = too many messages kill the message.
Often, when we are having a bad month, we tend to put too many offers out in the retail and reception area in the hope customers will buy at least something! The truth is the clearer you are with your merchandising, the clearer the message is. It’s important to have some impulse buy stock next to the till. This is the same trick supermarkets employ to entice us to buy little add-ons we hadn't thought of! It’s equally as important to ensure the promotional offers are clearly advertised - it can be 1 for retail and 1 for professional treatment but no more than that. You can also have a display in another area with “product of the month” and some activities around it.
I invite you to enter your salon/spa and look at it from a customer point of view. Ask your best friend to tell you what they see when they come in. They are the most critical which is always good for business!
5: We are not consistent = you cannot be strategic in the long term.
Consistency is key to a successful operation and it’s no exception to Stock Management!
Even if you're on holiday, someone needs to continue with the stocktake, no matter what. The system must always be functioning. You should be analysing the results of the stocktake every month and be consistent with your aim. Perhaps you want to take out a brand and bring in a new one with no budget!? What would be your strategy for this? Are you to able to afford to bring in a new brand? Consistency will also to ensure every promotional activity is followed by a report. Do we want to do it again next year? Which stock/treatment was the most popular? Should I buy more in or am I happy to see it go?!
The bottom line is, if you don’t make Stock Management your priority, the team won't either. Look into your system now and start at the beginning - Stocktake!
Love your stock and your stock will love you!