They say that Black Friday is the single most important selling day of the year for most retailers. This is certainly true for certain service businesses as well. For spas and salons specifically, gift certificates are the main drivers of holiday sales.
As the adoption of all-in-one business management systems continues to grow, more and more spas and salons have enabled their businesses to sell gift certificates both online and in-store with ease, and it’s certainly reflected in the numbers.
For example, Booker’s 8,500+ merchants sold an aggregate total of $3.4M in gift certificate revenue over the 2014 holiday weekend. These businesses enjoyed a total increase of 18% in gift certificate sales and 24% in gift certificate revenue compared to 2013. In fact, they closed approximately $1.4M in gift certificate sales on Black Friday alone—a 36% increase in gift certificate revenue from the previous year.
We’ve heard the reports in the news this weekend that many retailers (across all selling categories) are seeing the average value of their holiday sales transactions decrease in 2014 (2014 IBM Black Friday Sales Report). Well, we are pleased to tell you that Booker’s spas and salons are holding strong! Consumers still see value in purchasing a gift certificate than can at least cover the cost of a service from a spa or salon. In fact, the average value of a gift certificate sold by Booker’s merchants on Black Friday 2014 was $109. This is up slightly from $103 in 2013.
Small Business Saturday is gaining traction too. Our merchants experienced a 29% increase in gift certificate sales and 27% increase in revenue in 2014 compared to 2013 on Small Business Saturday.
And let’s not forget that other major profit driver – product! Businesses that use the Booker platform saw a 45% increase in both products sold and revenue in 2014, compared to 2013.
It's Time to Get Down to Business
While Black Friday kicks off the holiday season, the entire month of December is critical to services businesses such as spas and salons. In 2013, our spas and salons sold more gift certificates and earned more than three times the revenue in December than they did on average per month throughout the rest of the year.
- Booker’s merchants earned an average of $5,400 just in gift certificate revenue in December 2013, compared to a monthly average of $1,600 per month between January and November—3.3 times the monthly average.
- Booker’s merchants also sold 60 gift certificates on average monthly in December 2013, compared to a monthly average of 19 gift certificates between January and November of 2013—3.2 times the monthly average.
Gift Certificates Mean New Customers
Gift certificate sales are truly the gifts that keep on giving. While existing customers will receive gift certificates from their family members this holiday season, local businesses have an opportunity to engage and upsell services to those family members while they’re visiting their locations.
When existing customers buy holiday gift certificates for their friends and family, they’re introducing local service businesses to a whole new crop of customers. This is an opportunity for spas and salons to expand their loyal customer base – and we all know that loyal clientele are the most profitable.
There are three key tactics spas and salons can use to shape new customers' experience:
- Deliver a positive first experience by being welcoming, attentive and helpful.
- Assess your business through the eyes of clients by conducting periodic reviews of your business environment.
- Sell retail products.
After a client's first visit, it's important keep in touch! Email marketing campaigns can instantly connect spas and salons with clients and deliver promotions that encourage more bookings and purchases. They're also one of the most inexpensive ways to stay top-of-mind with clients, remind them of their appointments and prompt interest in memberships, series or retail products.
Additionally, spas and salons can use email retention marketing to increase how often loyal customers make a visit. Automated email marketing solutions can make it easy to increase customer engagement and retention by sending automated email appointment reminders that encourage repeat business. These programs help businesses reward clients for their loyalty and show appreciation with customized offers to try new products or services.
Some other client retention strategies include:
- Establish a membership program focused on the benefits clients will gain from joining, such as access to premium appointment times, a reduced price on a favorite product, or a complimentary service or treatment.
- Offer appointment series—prepaid bundles of services, treatments or therapies that clients can purchase in advance. Series can be a great way to lock in repeat business from clients.
- Implement a loyalty program, which can benefit clients with added savings and perks, and benefit spas and salons to drive increased customer retention and larger purchases.
December is the time for local service businesses to use the momentum they've mustered to finish the year on a high note and start the New Year with a positive push!
About the Author
Josh co-founded Booker in 2010 and has served as the company’s CEO since its inception. Josh is focused on expanding Booker’s reach through partnerships and client relationships while creating a culture of innovation and excellence in Booker’s offices around the world. Prior to Booker, Josh was President and COO of Arbitech, a leading independent distributor of computer hardware that achieved $1B of sales under his leadership.Follow on Twitter More Content by Josh McCarter