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4 ways barbers can increase their retail sales

How To Find Products To Retail In A Barbershop

Posted by Dean Forbes on

It’s no secret to you that if you want to absolutely crush it in your Barbershop Business, then you’re going to have to get very good at selling retail. It’s been said AND more importantly, proven, that barbers benefit most by affecting the client relationship after they leave your chair. One of the most effective ways to do that with lasting impact is through product, but the question of how to find products to retail is outstanding..

But, let’s get serious for a minute…

Sure, you know it’s important that you get good at moving product from your shelf into your clients’ home; however, your frustration isn’t in the knowing—it’s in the doing. How do you completely go outside the norm of our industry to start offering take-home-care to your clients seamlessly?

This is the dilemma and you’re not alone in it at all. The fact is that 78% of clients still report that they leave the barbershop or salon without ever getting a product recommendation. And more than 60% say that they use products but oftentimes they pick them up while at the supermarket or in the local drug store aisle.

The fact is that your clients are using products—just not yours.

And I know there are a myriad of excuses as to why they don’t buy from you; however, I implore you to consider this: the beauty industry still continues to grow at an alarming pace—close to double digits every year—and retail product sales are not dropping so what is the real reason your retail isn’t moving?

Are your products terrible? Do they turn people’s hair green? Are they unhealthy? I doubt it. I suspect that your product sales are stagnant for one reason alone: you’re not really in the retail game.

Sure, you have products on the shelf; but, you’re not really in the game. Successful barbershops understand that clients don’t do anything outside what is acceptable norm unless you tell them to. In other words, it is your responsibility to always give your clients a call-to-action.

When it comes to moving retail from your shelf into their homes, the only way it'll happen is if you tell them to buy it.

Well, you’ve certainly got a dilemma on your hands; one that could make or break your business. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that if you’re up for the task, there is a very simple fix for your dilemma. It’s a proven formula tried and tested for over a decade that I have taught my clients which has helped them absolutely crush retail sales in their businesses.

Formula 4P is a proven process that significantly boosts retail sales immediately when executed the right way. In fact, once you understand this formula, you’ll never have a problem moving retail from your shelf into your clients’ homes again.

Formula 4P includes, Perception, Placement, Positioning and Promotion.

Now, don’t think of these 4 P’s in the typical sense; let’s think deeper because ultimately you need to get into your clients psyche and deliver on what they really want. Here’s how each of the elements shake out in your process and what you should do to apply them correctly.


In this case, perception refers to your clients’ perception of your retail space in your barbershop. Do you even look like you’re in the retail game or is there just a smattering of product on the shelves? Does the real estate in your barbershop that houses your retail look shabby or underkept or worse, under-merchandised?

These things create a perception of value in your clients’ minds. If you don’t put a high value on your retail presentation, neither will they.

For example, I remember visiting hair salons a few years ago during the holiday season. They claimed that they had bought into a holiday promotion that I was selling at the time and yet I didn’t see a holiday display anywhere in the salon. All the product that came with the promotion was mostly in the back room or under a piece of furniture somewhere.

They definitely were not in the game. If you want to be in the retail game, you need to create “retail real estate” in your barbershop that triggers a perception of high value in your clients.

Here’s a 5-point checklist for creating the ultimate retail real estate:

  1. Go a minimum of two deep on the shelf for each product
  2. Use bold signage that clearly shows your clients where your retail lives
  3. Try to keep your best sellers at eye level when client is seated
  4. Keep the retail area clean and stocked at all times (spotlight it if you can)
  5. Give that area its own identity with a sign (ex: "Take-Home Care Center")

If you follow this 5-point checklist, you should have no problem stepping up your retail real estate in your barbershop.


This is super important to get right because it could make or break the sale. Since you’ve got your retail real estate space carved out well, that’s already a great start that puts you way ahead of most.

But, there is still more to do to really stand out. Placement is about two things:

  1. Where in your barbershop does your retail mainly live relative to the front door and the waiting area?
  2. Where do you highlight promotional items, clearance or specialty offers?

First, let’s talk about the main spot for your retail. If possible, by the time your client gets to your check-in desk, they should be staring directly at retail looking to the left or right of them. And when they sit down, ideally, they should be staring directly at it.

I know that in your case based on the way your barbershop is setup, it may not be possible to get the ideal setup I am describing.

So, here’s a quick retail real estate hack you can use:

Put your main retail shelves in an area that your clients must pass on the way in as well as on the way out. Leave no chance that they could miss it in some small corner of your barbershop.

You’d be surprised at some of the things I’ve seen; one salon owner I met actually kept all of her retail under lock and key because she was afraid of theft. How many pieces do you think she moved each week?

You guessed it—not many.

Just remember that where you put your main retail shelves in your barbershop matters.


So now that you’re looking right and your retail is exactly where you need it to be, the next step is positioning. In this case, what I am talking about is introducing the retail conversation as part of your service.

This is probably where your biggest and most uncomfortable change is going to come; however, I assure you that it is critical to your success.

A major roadblock to selling retail to your clients is that it is usually ONLY mentioned towards the end of the service if at all. That puts a lot of pressure on you and your barbers not to mention the unexpected request now coming at your clients.

While this is going to be a bit uncomfortable at first, it is a simple fix.

The key to successful positioning is timing and consistency. Let's try an example.

During the consultation, you let your client know that you’ll be educating them on the best take-home regimen for their hair and have them agree to it.

It might sound something like this…

Hey John, today as we’re going through your service, I’m going to use a few products that are customized to your specific needs. When I do, I’ll be sure to tell you what they are, why you need them and how to use them while you’re at home. Does that sound ok to you?


Just like that, you’ve planted the first seed of retail without breaking a sweat and the best part is that your client gave you permission to proceed.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. The consistency comes in with you actually using the products, educating your client about how to use the products and how they should use them at home. Keywords there are “at home.”

If you can do that consistently, it becomes a lot easier to ask for the sale once your service is complete.


At the risk of overstating the obvious, you need to promote your retail if you want to move a lot of it. By promotion, I am not just talking about offering a 20% discount; I’m talking about letting the whole world know that something spectacular is happening at your barbershop.

You should have between 4-6 retail related promotions in your salon every year. Take a lesson from the best department stores and supermarkets. Have you ever gone into one on any day of the year and not see a promotion of some kind happening? I didn’t think so—me neither. The reason is: it works like a charm and it will work for you too.

Here’s a 5-point checklist for running successful promotions in your barbershop:

  1. Create promotions that offer Value and Convenience
  2. Put signage on every station, front desk area, just about everywhere you can in your barbershop promoting the offer (including the bathroom—yes I said it and I mean it) Don’t be afraid of too many signs as long as they fit your barbershop brand. I once counted 227 promotional signs on one floor in Nordstrom’s. And I love signs that start with, “Ask your barber how you can save…”—it provokes the conversation from the client’s end.
  1. Promote a minimum of 3x per week for 6 weeks on all your social media platforms (be sure to create proper imagery for this purpose)
  1. Have a pow wow with your team and outline the parameters of the promotion to them; they need to talk about it with every client
  1. Run the promotion for 6 weeks

And voila! That’s your killer retail promotion strategy.

With these elements included in your retail campaign, you will see immediate and significant improvement in your retail game.

Not retailing yet? Join the Frederick Benjamin groomer network and apply to our wholesale program today!

About the Author
Dean L. ForbesDean L. Forbes is a Life & Business Success Coach who’s been coaching and growing beauty professionals for over a decade. His system has helped dozens of innovative business owners achieve amazing breakthrough results in their lives and businesses. Dean is the difference that makes the difference on your road to success.

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