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10 Tips for Salon/Spa Holiday Gift Card Sales


The Holiday season is upon us as the countdown to New Year’s Eve is officially underway.

Halloween candy, costumes and decorations are already replaced with Thanksgiving and all things Christmas.

Retail stores are geared up and ready for the annual mad dash to rack up record Holiday sales.

For salons and spas, the Holiday season is the single best opportunity for gift card sales. The question is, are you ready to go for your gift card pot of gold?

To make sure your gift card pot of gold is as big as it can be, here are my ten No-Compromise Leadership gotta-do’s:

  1. Gotta view gift cards as a good thing: Maybe it’s because gift card sales appear as a liability on your Balance Sheet (because you owe the GC holder services or products). Maybe it’s because too many owners spend gift card revenue as quickly as it comes in and are cash starved as redemptions come in. KEY: What could be better than exchanging a piece of plastic to pay for services/products that will be fulfilled at a later date? Absolutely nothing. It’s like magic money.

  2. Gotta manage gift card revenue: It’s financially dangerous to spend gift card money prior to redemption. When clients pay for service and products with gift cards, all the costs to fulfill those services and products need to be covered, including payroll and professional product cost. During heavy redemption periods, your salon/spa can be very busy with very little cash coming in. KEY: All gift card revenue should be transferred to a separate savings or money market account. As redemptions occur, transfer cash back into your operating checking account. The best game to play to build cash reserves is to resist touching gift card savings.

  3. Gotta believe your pot of gold is possible: Like anything else, the harder you work at selling gift cards, the better you’ll do. I’ve seen salons and spas crush their gift card sales goals because they went for it. Believing gives you confidence to do the hard work and make your pot of gift card gold a reality. KEY: Believing is half the battle. Execution is the other half. You’re not going to achieve 100% of your gift card goal with a 50% effort. Successful gift card sales require planning, scripting, decor — and energy.

  4. Gotta look like you’re in the gift card business: Retail stores are already stocked, decorated and geared up for big Holiday sales. Your salon/spa needs to do the same except that your focus is on selling Holiday gift card solutions. Yes, you’re selling gift buying solutions that are fast and easy. KEY: Special gift card packaging and bags should be prominently displayed in quantity in your retail and check-out desk areas. Your website should be shouting “gift card solutions” with an easy purchase process. Seek out a professional retail display specialist to help out.

  5. Gift card selling station: A great way to focus attention on gift card purchases is to set up a gift card selling station in your retail area. A nice looking desk, table or podium will do nicely. If you don’t have enough space in your retail area, make the stylist station with the most visibility your gift card selling station. KEY: Decorate the station with gift-wrapped packages and plenty of gift card packages and/or decorative retail bags ready for purchase. Staff the station during busy times. Have an iPad or tablet ready to ring up gift card sales.

  6. Advance special offer email campaigns: If your salon/spa doesn’t have an up-to-date client email list — shame on you. KEY: Emailing/texting out a special offer to your customer list is just smart business. Offer special packages or savings if clients order online or purchase onsite by December 1st. Do premium price points, as existing clients are the easiest to sell. For example: Purchase a $100 gift card and receive $115 in services.

  7. Everyone has gotta play: The bulk of gift card sales are done at checkout. This means your guest services team must be trained and scripted to up-sell clients at checkout. The mistake most salons/spas make is waiting to up-sell gift cards at checkout. KEY: At check-in, every client must be told, “Remember, we have some wonderful Holiday gift card solutions. We can tell you more when you checkout.” Every service provider should be scripted to simply inform clients, “We have some wonderful Holiday gift card solutions available when you checkout.” It’s not rocket science. It’s your entire team sharing Holiday gift card solutions with clients.

  8. Gotta avoid crazy discount incentives: If you’re running at 10% net profit and selling gift cards at 15% to 20% off, you’re shooting yourself in the financial foot. KEY: Be very conservative with your discounting. In fact, there is no reason to discount gift cards at all. Consumers buy gift cards for convenience and speed. Discounting may help sell more gift cards, but the financial impact may not be worth it. If you’re discounting gift cards because you need the cash to pay yesterday’s expenses and debt — you’ve got bigger problems to fix.

  9. You gotta keep score: At too many salons and spas gift card goals and sales are known to the few, not the many. You can’t create the energy and urgency that fuels teamwork when most of the team is oblivious to the game being played. KEY: Every daily huddle from just before Thanksgiving through January 15th should include a Holiday gift card sales scoreboard. It’s the best way to keep every team member playing the gift card sales game.

  10. Gotta retain new clients: The worst thing an employee can do is treat a gift card client as a throwaway because they may not tip as well and may not return. Dialing back customer service ensures that the self-fulfilling prophecy of small tips and not returning will occur. KEY: Every client is important. Every new client is an opportunity to become a retained client. Just because the method of payment is a pre-paid gift card instead of cash or credit card doesn’t mean that client deserves less.

Here’s my challenge to you: Why not do 25% or 50% more in gift card sales this Holiday season?

Seize the unique selling opportunity.

Go for your gift card pot of gold.


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