You’d think it was common sense. Display more varieties of hair or beauty retail products and your clients will be tempted to buy more. Obvious really.

But you’re wrong.

Customers buy more retail when they’re not overwhelmed

Of course, salon clients want a choice when it comes to buying take-home retail products. But there is a balance to be struck. Scientific research shows time and time again that if customers feel overwhelmed with choice they’ll probably buy less or not buy at all.

Keep it simple if you want to sell more

Too many choices can reduce retail purchases – when faced with too much choice customers get fazed and indecisive.

Researchers carried out an experiment with jam (yes, the sweet sticky stuff in jars!). Faced with a choice of 24 different types of jam only 3% of customers made a purchase. Yet, when they were given only 6 types of jam over 30% of customers decided to buy.

Why?

Apparently our brains start to tire when they keep being faced with decisions. The little grey cells get overworked and can’t reach a decision. So our brain tells us to stop and we head for the salon door empty-handed. It’s easier than making a decision!

Make it straightforward for clients to buy in your salon

Looking at the ‘jam research’ the lesson is clear for salon owners. If you want your clients to buy more retail then you need to make it simple for them. Give them less choice.

Simplify your salon merchandising to boost retail sales

Take a quick look at your retail displays now. Are you grouping all your shampoos in one large display, making clients feel flustered and confused?

If so, create a series of smaller groups with each one covering a different hairstyling problem – dry hair, frizz, coloured hair or itchy scalp.

Each ‘mini collection’ should offer enough retail choices to ensure that there is something to satisfy their hairstyling need, but not so many that their brains tell them to give up. Remember the research: a choice of 24 jams resulted in just 3% buying, while only 6 jams to choose from meant 30% of customers purchased.

Offer guidance and make more sales

Researchers found that one of the best ways of preventing the brain tiring when faced with a large choice is to offer customer guidance. And for a salon that’s easy.

  • Give plenty of guidance with shelf talkers, labelling and signage. You know what a particular shampoo does, but do your clients know? Spell it out to them. Make it simple for those little grey cells to reach a decision and buy.
  • Even better train your salon team to give retail advice. Research shows that guidance and recommendation go a long way in helping the client reach a decision when faced with a bewildering choice.

Only 3% of customers bought jam when the selection was huge. But if someone had asked them a few simple questions about their likes and dislikes, then recommended the raspberry jam the percentage who purchased would have dramatically increased.

Why? Because guidance reduced their feeling of confusion when faced with too many choices and then the recommendation gave them a reason to buy.

So, you see choice isn’t always good, and more choices can actually reduce salon retail sales.