Our current inventory management program is very effective. First, it is important to notice that the inventory in the retail area is just as important as the inventory in the back that the stylists use. Since inventory can get repetitive it is crucial that nothing is missed, so the three people on the inventory team are people who are strong with numbers and pay attention to detail. The retail inventory in the front of the salon is counted once a week by two of our salon coordinators, and the back bar color inventory is done twice a week by our office manager and a salon coordinator. We manage the inventory by counting how many we have of each product, and then make sure that what we have in stock matches the number in the computer.
In addition to the salon’s inventory, it is also important to meet with district sales leaders (DSL’s). The office manager and the front desk leader both deal with different DSL’s so the work is split and they don’t feel overwhelmed. Whichever leader is meeting with a DSL, it is their job to represent the salon and get the information needed to share with the group on sales, new products, and if any products are being reformulated or being phased out. There are many people that help us keep moving in a positive and smart direction. The DSL’s are a part of our salon team, meeting with our leaders at least once a month to help the salon make sure that we are meeting our goals.
Following, is the internal process for a product’s success. We value every product’s success that we have on our shelf. To ensure that a product or product line is successful, first, we learn about the product, who sells the line in the area, why we should carry it, and is it an extension of a line of products we already carry. Then finally they’re tested by an employee that would benefit from the line. After some research and trial of the product, management then decides if it would be beneficial to bring on the product(s).
When certain products become sluggish and not selling, then that is when it’s a good time to bring in advanced education. When stylists have the opportunity to further themselves in education, then they are more likely to be excited and knowledgeable to sell products that were once sluggish. If a product is still not selling, then the front desk will investigate how many have been sold in the past six months to a year. This way we can see if any client is benefiting from us by carrying this product. If the decision is made to keep the product because it’s part of a line, then we would just take the inventory par down so we don’t keep as much on the shelf.
Another way we encourage the sales of sluggish products is by moving around the retail products up at the front of the salon. Quarterly, the front desk will move around the many different product lines the salon carries. This is beneficial because the salons retail area is in the shape of an L, so moving sluggish products to a high traffic V.I.P shelf space encourages more attention from the clients who just sit in the waiting area instead of shopping. Every salon has a line that they sell well: those products are destination products. Destination products don’t always have to be the first product line that a stylist walks up to. It should be on the shelving space that is the furthest away. This way it can also encourage the stylist to remember other products at different price points as suggestions.
Ultimately, our retail management systems ensure that we won’t run out of winning products. Since every salon has destination products or winning products, then it is important to be prepared and to have stock of what clients want. Tracking inventory every week and continuing to watch the sales is imperative to managing the appropriate amount of stock for our winning products. Sometimes there are weeks where more winning products are sold and we run out on the shelf. When this rarity happens, it becomes a priority to go make a special run to pick up more products to restock our inventory.
Furthermore, we take a different approach for evaluating new products or product lines. Having a wide range of retail is a statement. It suggests that our stylists are educated in a wide range of products as well as a passion to know about different lines. We value each guest who walks through our door and want to give them the best experience possible with the knowledge each individual stylist has to create an exclusive experience with the high quality products we carry. Since our team is educationally driven, it makes sense that we get most of our new product line ideas from different classes, shows, and being a part of Intercoiffure. Once a possible product has caught the eye of one of our employees, they love it, have a passion for the product, can teach the ingredients and benefits to others, and it works, then there’s a trial run for other employees to try it out. If many different people in the salon love it and believe they can sell it, then the product becomes a part of our team.