The Importance of Retail

A lot of barbers struggle with retail – either because they feel they can’t do the ‘sales patter’ or because they assume their clients won’t want to buy but I really believe that recommending retail to our clients is all part of the service.

In terms of retail, I think there are two main types of barbers; Barber One who will finish a haircut and ask the clients what product they use at home, find that same product and apply the same product to the clients hair. Barber Two will recommend what they think would work well for the client’s hair type, explain why it would work well and show the client how to use the product. Who do you think is the professional barber, Barber One or Barber Two? I can confidently say that I think Barber Two is more professional. It is our job to educate ourselves on the products available and to recommend the right products for peoples hair and show them how to use them in the correct manor.

A lot of people I speak to suggest that men won’t pay more for a product then a haircut. I think the problem is more that we have let men believe that they do not need to invest in professional products for their hair. Let’s look at it this way; I do not know any man that spends less than £50 on aftershave. So why is a man prepared to pay £50 plus for a aftershave to smell nice but not a great hair product that also smells nice? Or a shampoo that will make his hair more healthy and not itchy? Or a shave cream that is good for his skin?

Earlier this month we had American Crew educator Ian Tucker deliver some product training with my team which was fantastic. One of the barbers said when you ask a typical man what shampoo they use they will likely say either their wife’s shampoo or a Lynx Set they got for Christmas. We had a great discussion about how so many men complain about their scalp condition when it’s likely to be because the products they’re using. Ian explained about how a lot of cheaper, non-professional shampoos contain silicons that coat the hair and give a false appearance of shinier, healthier hair. He then showed them how you can test the hair for silicon. It does not take a genius to work out a big bottle of shampoo for a pound is not going to be full of quality ingredients.

Men want to spend money on themselves! In the 1980’s a mid life crisis was getting a sports car. In 2018 it’s all about looking your best and looking after yourselves. Men want to be recommended new products to use that will help them look and feel great. As a professional barber now is the time to really embrace the change in men and choose the right product range for your barbershop and your clients and bring retail into the shop in a big way.

So what the next step? Research the men’s products available for professional use and also find out about the education that they offer. Finding out about the education available is so important because there is no point having products sat on the shelf that you can’t shift because you don’t understand their benefits.