Guest blog: how to compete with budget nail bars
Natalie Vo is owner of White Nails in London, which won the Professional Beauty Nail Salon of the Year 2016 award. She reveals why a focus on quality is the ultimate differentiator when competing with budget nail bars.
Over the past 15 years the Vietnamese have quietly taken the lead and dominated nails on the high street, with a new nail bar opening every couple of months. Competition is high and the market has become extremely saturated, to the point where salons are competing purely on price alone – some in London are even offering acrylic extensions for an incredible £10!
In the past two years my salon has had to compete with three different nail bars, all within walking distance of my premises. However, with a strong focus on quality rather than price, my business has gone from strength-to-strength. Even though there will always be price-sensitive consumers, you don’t need to compete purely on cost because customers value great service and will happily pay for it.
Five reasons customers will choose your nail salon over cheaper alternatives:
- Hygiene – First impressions matter. When a client steps into my salon an envelope of cleanliness makes them feel that they are in safe hands. Many of my clients have often expressed concern about cheap nail bars and how low hygiene standards may correlate with infection. Combat this by always ensuring your salon is in pristine condition.
- Design – Having invested substantially in bespoke manicure and pedicure stations we’re often asked whether we’re a branded salon or part of a chain. Clients love our personalised stations – they are a unique selling point which helps to create an atmospheric feel. Cheaper nail bars require customers to walk over to a sink to wash their hands but our built-in wash stations are much more convenient. Look at your layout and see how you can improve the experience for clients – it may mean investing in new kit
- Customer service – In our line of business building client relationships is a must, especially because loyalty generates return business. I’ve had several clients express their dislike of staff ignoring them and talking to their colleagues during treatment at cheaper nail bars. Make customers feel welcome and valued by asking them how they are, how their last holiday was and so on. This extra attention could result in the client rebooking their treatment before they leave.
- Professional standards – We follow a set protocol in sterilisation and like to go above and beyond to help deliver healthy, long-lasting nails. However, some of the cheaper nail bars tend to cut corners to keep prices down, and when the health of the client’s natural nail deteriorates from excessive high-speed drilling or poor workmanship it leaves the customer dissatisfied. Clients value nail technicians that are knowledgeable, highly-skilled and don’t rush a job. Therefore, investment in staff CPD is a must.
- Added value – We all know that going to a salon isn’t just about the application of nail polish. Any person can walk into Boots and pick out a colour to paint their nails at home. What’s amazing about a trip to the salon is the experience. Create an atmosphere of relaxation by, for example, offering cucumber-flavoured water and coffee refreshments before treatment. This helps the client differentiate between an hour of conveyor-belt drilling at a cheap nail salon and an hour of complete pampering at a high-end salon.
Image: White Nails