The shampoos and conditioners that line your shelves should differ between the retail side of the store and the salon. Groomers’ needs versus consumers’ needs must be considered.
“Some consumers are looking for problem-solving products,” said Lonnie Schwimmer, president and CEO of Nootie LLC. “Groomers are looking for new products for better performance or that ‘wow’ factor so their customers notice them.”
Product selection can give your salon a competitive advantage. That applies to the shampoos and conditioners you use to groom your clients’ pets as well as the products you stock for retail.
“For consumers, all of our products have a different benefit to help their pet’s skin and coat. For groomers, we help them separate themselves from their competitors. When a groomer uses our products, their customer feels and smells the difference with their pet. This enables the groomer to charge more money and have a better clientele of customers,” said Schwimmer. “Unfortunately, many groomers are very talented but do not understand the value of using higher quality products to make their clients say, ‘Wow, my dog smells amazing!’ Otherwise, if they are no different from their competitors, they are looked at as a commodity.”
Salon brands like Petology offer high-performance shampoos. According to the company, they have the fastest rinse of any grooming formula and they maintain their results longer. Long-lasting results could provide an edge. Petology offers three versions: Professional, which includes a keratin moisturizing complex; Oatmeal & Honey, which is a sulfate-free formula to soothe irritation; and Sensitive, which is a blend of botanicals and other ingredients formulated for sensitive skin.
Because allergies have become so prevalent among dogs, customers may request allergy-friendly formulas or products that solve problems like dry or irritated skin. TropiClean offers a hypoallergenic formula that is gentle and mild enough to soothe sensitive skin while still providing clean results.
Beyond cleansing and allergy treatment, some customers may require flea and tick treatments. Natural Chemistry offers a Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo and one made for sensitive skin called Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal. These products offer efficacy without a harsh chemical treatment or unpleasant smell.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to help pet owners solve their problems,” said Schwimmer. “One of our newest products is a pet shampoo with argan oil. In addition, we spend a lot of extra money on packaging that functions well.” Argan oil helps with dry itchy skin and brittle fur.
Beyond treating specifics, some customers simply require a clarifying cleanse. Best Shot’s UltraMAX Pro Clarifying Shampoo eliminates gunky build-up of hard water mineral deposits, chlorine and mildew for the average family pet, as well as waxes, oils, resins, conditioners, hairsprays and gels for show dogs. Best Shot also offers life-stage specific products, like their Caressing Puppy Wash and Puppy Conditioner.
Another option when selecting a shampoo or conditioner is to focus on a unique element. For example, Reliq uses nano-enhanced volcanic minerals that work to eliminate odors. In addition, Reliq makes scented products that leave your clients’ pets smelling like green tea, lavender, jasmine, rosemary or pomegranate.
As in many other product categories, natural shampoos and conditioners are increasing in popularity. Brands like Glo-Marr produce shampoos that are all-natural and soap-, detergent- and cruelty-free. The brand’s Natrellé line combines fresh botanicals, essential oils and natural extracts. It is designed to soothe skin and serve as a natural moisturizer; it’s also hypoallergenic. Additionally, the scents are naturally derived rather than synthetically derived.
Recently, the brand launched the KENIC Retro line, which includes a re-launch of Pink Pup Pet Shampoo, a product that was originally introduced in 1965.
While there are many more brands and a tremendous range of shampoos and conditioners available, the key to success in the salon and in the store is choosing high-quality products that your customers can rely on. However, as Schwimmer pointed out, it’s important for groomers to select a product that will leave a pleasant, long-lasting impression to keep clients coming back.
If you choose to use a proprietary shampoo in the salon that isn’t available in the store, be prepared to suggest similar alternatives for those customers who need to groom their dogs between appointments. When selecting new SKUs, ask your regular clients what they would like to see offered; it’s likely that the right product exists to satisfy their demands.
Several brands indicated plans to launch new shampoo and conditioner lines at this month’s Global Pet Expo.