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Professional Grooming Marketplace: The Benefits of Selling Home-Use Products

Posted: Nov. 19, 2012, 7:40 p.m. EDT


Selling grooming products to clients can build loyalty and boost income.
By Audrey Pavia

In these uncertain economic times, it can seem counterproductive for grooming salons to offer their clients home-use products. However, it is precisely because of such financial fluctuations that helping customers keep their dogs clean and trim at all times can not only engender close relationships, it can also add to a shop’s bottom line.

“Carrying at-home grooming products gives the grooming professional an opportunity to spend time with the client to explain which tools are best for touch ups in between groomer visits,” said Bob Erler, national sales manager with Andis Co. in Sturtevant, Wis. “Groomers can also earn extra income by carrying nonprofessional grooming tools.”

Displaying grooming supplies for home-use
Prominently displaying products that groomers use in shop can boost sales.Ethan Mizer/BowTie Inc. at Scrubby Puppy
While dogs should see a groomer every six weeks or less, pets have maintenance needs that should be addressed by their owners in between trips to the groomer, he added.

“Since it may not always be convenient or feasible to have a professional bath or groom for an animal, we suggest clients be prepared with all the grooming essentials they need to do the job right at home,” said Janene Zakrajsek, owner of Pussy & Pooch Pethouse and Pawbar in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. “We recommend an all-natural, quality shampoo, coat spray, nail clippers, and a brush/comb at minimum. The better job clients do with their own grooming routines at home, the easier job we have grooming their animals.”

Since a well-cared-for coat is easier for a groomer to deal with, Daryl Conner, manager of Yankee Clipper in Rockport, Maine, advises clients to brush their dogs in between visits.

Grooming products
A special grooming-product section works well for salons that double as a boutique.Courtesy of Furry Face
“We encourage pet owners to maintain their pet’s coat in between grooming visits, for several reasons,” she said. “For one, it helps the groomer because then they don’t have to do de-matting. It also helps keep grooming costs down for the customers. De-matting is a long and arduous process. It’s hard on the animals, and it’s hard on the groomers.”

For products that go directly on a dog, such as shampoos and conditioners, many groomers reported they promote products with natural ingredients because of their gentleness on a dog’s coat.

“We recommend using Wild Animal organic shampoo between spa visits,” said Pat Hyatt, owner of Naturally for Paws II in Ventura, Calif. “The shampoo contains no chemicals and detergents. We also suggest natural flea products and toothpaste.”

Warren London, a manufacturer in New York City, offers a number of grooming-at-home items, including Hydrating Butter For Skin & Coat, a leave-in conditioner, and Grapeseed Oil Paw Revitalizer and Deep Cleaning Paw Fizz Tablets. The latter two help keep paws in good shape in between grooming appointments, making it easier for groomers to make paws look good, reported Eric Bittman, president and CEO.

The types of products groomers can offer clients run the gamut from coat to paws to teeth. For example, dental care products are popular take home goods for several grooming shops.

Setting Up Shop
Adding home-use grooming product sales to a grooming shop is a good way to boost revenue and encourage clients to care for their dogs’ coats in between groomings, reported groomers who carry such products for sale.

“I tell every groomer I talk to, if you have even just a little wall, start there and stock some home-use products,” said Lisa Medeiros-Grieco, owner and pet stylist of Groom Town Pet and Spa Boutique in North Andover, Mass.

“My first groom shop was only 500 square feet, and I had maybe 10 feet of retail,” she continued. “I put up pegboard and sold basic brushes. Now, if you look at my shop, I probably have $15,000 in product on hand. People need combs and brushes to groom their dogs. What better way to get an add-on sale? After customers buy a $40 grooming service, you can easily get them to buy a $20 brush.”

When determining which products to stock, Gladys Tay, co-owner of Bubbles and Ecotoure in W. St. Paul, Minn., recommended products made with natural ingredients.

“It is best to purchase the all-natural and organic grooming products,” Tay said. “Those products not only work well, but have ingredients that can be very beneficial to the dogs’ coat and skin. They can also help the dog’s well-being since many of these products have essential oils, which can be very calming.”
Product knowledge is vital if you are going to sell home-use grooming items in your shop, noted Kimberly Walker, owner of mod.dog Salon and Boutique in Boca Raton, Fla.

“The most important thing is to become knowledgeable about the products,” she said. “If you don’t know how to explain it to a customer, it will just sit there on your shelf.”—AP

“When it comes to retail demand, groomers are showing a sharp increase in oral care product sales,” said Brian Collier, creative marketing and public relations coordinator for Tropiclean in Wentzville, Mo. “Though there are many reasons why this could be trending, I believe it is linked to groomers providing pet owners with increased awareness about oral health.”

As with any product, how well home-use grooming items are marketed can determine sales volume. As experts in their field, groomers are in a unique position to call attention to what is on the shelves.

“People see how amazing their dogs’ coats look after grooming,” said Amanda Byron Zink, owner of The Salty Dog in New York City. “We then show them all the products we use so they, too, can maintain the look.”

At Klippers Pet Grooming in Columbus, Ga., Dawn Omboy, owner, introduces customers to the products she sells by providing them with free samples.

“If you give it away once, they will ask for it the next time,” Omboy said, adding that she also encourages clients to purchase products so they can maintain the health of the pets’ teeth, skin and coat at home.

“We use the breath freshening foam when the dogs are on our grooming table, as well as before the owner picks up the pet,” she said. “A spritz of cologne also helps sell those scents to the client.”

Showcasing products can be a challenge for salons that do not have a lot of display space. Savvy shop owners, such as B.C. Henschen, co-owner of Platinum Paws in Carmel, Ind., excel at creating compelling product sections in small areas.

“We have a little section that is probably only about two feet wide, with shelving that is different from the rest of the store,” Henschen said. “This is where we offer eye-care products and the Fresh Breath line. Across from this, we have shampoos.”

Chris Cleave, store manager for Beauty for the Beast in Portland, Ore., also makes the most of space while promoting home-use products in his shop.

“We merchandise our products with flat wall space and welcome vendors to pass along POPs, cards and posters that we can display,” Cleave said. “Grid walling is important because it helps us maximize our space. We rotate our look every now and again but not so much that our customers feel lost upon returning.”

For the best effect, Andis’ Erler recommended calling attention to home-use products in a number of ways.

“Display pet grooming products prominently in your waiting area with signs that provide tips on how often to use each product,” he said. “Give product demonstrations at your shop and offer discounts for anyone who attends the demonstration and purchases products afterwards.” 

Editors Stephanie Brown and Ethan Mizer contributed to this article.

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