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Navigating the Beauty Industry Shift: Reflecting on 2023’s Success, Anticipating 2024’s Potential


Every client that enters your space is an opportunity to edify not only your community, but our world at large. What a beautiful gift and responsibility! It is in that same spirit that each December, I engage in the annual ritual of reflection—a deliberate pause to review the past 365 days and glean insights for the road that lies ahead.

With hopes of renewal and progress, I eagerly anticipate 2024, armed with innovative solutions and strategies designed to meet the evolving needs of the beauty industry. There is still much to accomplish, and I am confident our efforts will pave the way for an even brighter future in our dynamic industry.

As highlighted in the recent Kline report - understanding the evolving landscape is crucial for professionals in the field. In this blog post, I spotlight key findings from the report and provide solutions for navigating the beauty industry in 2024.

Professional Channel Decline:

The Kline report revealed an overall 4.5% decrease in the professional channel. Within this channel, salon back bar purchases, including color, shampoo, conditioner, and styling products, experienced a 3.1% decline. Additionally, salon take-home products saw a substantial 7.3% decrease.

Reasons for Professional Channel Decrease:
The report identified three primary reasons for the decline in the Professional Channel:
  1. Convenience: Consumers are increasingly seeking convenience in their beauty product purchases and booking services. They are making their buying choices based on how convenient a business is (or is not).

  2. Assortment: The variety of products available is extremely important. Guests expect a salon or spa to have the full assortment of their favorite brands, so they may shop without the fear of not being able to purchase what’s on their needs (and wants) list.

  3. Brand Mixing: Consumers are embracing the freedom to mix and match beauty brands. They like one brand for their shampoo, another for their conditioner, and yet another for styling. Brand loyalty has shifted, and consumers want a guilt-free experience with choices. It’s not only okay to have more than one brand in your location, but also expected.
To address this decline, salons should consider the following strategies:
  • Leverage the Power of Connection: The future of the professional channel lies in the unique ability of hairstylists and estheticians to connect through touch - emphasizing the personalized, hands-on experience that only a professional can provide.

  • Enhanced Retail Experience: It's important to improve the in-salon retail area's visibility and accessibility. Use attractive displays, promotional signage, and strategic product placements to encourage purchases. Plan for a monthly or bi-monthly refresh to attract continued interest.

  • Educational Engagement: Consumers desire to be educated on effective at-home beauty routines. Position yourself as a trusted source of knowledge, providing expert advice on product selection and usage. This positions you as an invaluable resource in the eyes of your clientele. And, in turn, builds loyalty.

  • Loyalty Programs: Speaking of loyalty - implement programs that reward clients with discounts or free products/services after a certain number of purchases to encourage repeat sales.

  • Bundling and Promotions: Create bundled offers that combine services with take-home products to provide added value to customers. Remember that they need the right product & tools to recreate their personalized style at home.

  • Digital Marketing: Increase online marketing efforts, including social media and email campaigns, to highlight product benefits and promotions. Like many of us live on our phones, so do our clients. Be where they are!

  • Community Connection and Local Support: Foster a sense of community and local support. Establishing a connection beyond the salon chair and treatment room creates a loyal customer base. Encourage engagement through local events, workshops, or online platforms to strengthen ties with your clients.

E-commerce and E-retailers Growth:

Despite the decline in the professional channel, the report brought to light a notable 13.1% growth in e-commerce. This shift indicates changing consumer preferences and shopping behaviors.

Given the significant growth in e-commerce and e-retailers as outlined by the report, the following solution can help leverage this trend:
  • Develop a Robust Online Presence: Salons and spas should strengthen their online presence. This includes creating or enhancing e-commerce websites optimized for mobile shopping and ensuring a seamless, user-friendly online shopping experience. Engaging with customers through social media platforms to drive online sales will also capitalize on this shift in consumer behavior. By embracing digital transformation, businesses can open a new revenue stream to complement and potentially surpass traditional in-store sales.

    But how do you get started on your digital journey?

    If you have not already, setting up a free SalonInteractive account provides an easy solution to creating a more accessible business. In less than ten minutes, salons and spas can create an online solution where they can sell products online without the additional hassle of housing inventory, packing boxes, or sending out shipments. There is even a free feature called On Behalf Marketing that allows us, as your distributor, to create and deploy marketing emails to your clients quite literally on your behalf. Let our marketing team be your marketing team!

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Brick and Mortar Expansion:

Major retailers with physical stores saw a growth of 9.3%. The combination of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce also experienced a commendable 11.2% increase.

To capitalize on the growth of both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce, the solution is to adopt an omnichannel retail strategy. This approach seamlessly integrates in-store and online shopping experiences. For salons and beauty retailers, this should mean:
  • Consistency in all channels: Ensuring that the online shopping experience is reflective of the in-store atmosphere and vice versa, providing a consistent brand message.

  • Traffic, traffic, traffic: Using in-store events and promotions to encourage online shoppers to visit the store, possibly incorporating exclusive in-store discounts for online customers.

  • Embrace Technology: Leveraging in-store technology such as digital kiosks where customers can browse and order products that may not be immediately available in-store.
While the beauty industry has witnessed shifts in consumer behavior and purchasing patterns, professionals in the field have a promising future. Together, we've touched lives, overcome hurdles, and set the stage for a promising future. Here's to gratitude, shared successes, and the anticipation of a vibrant new year.

George Learned
Owner and CEO