I went to SportsClips for the first time after work yesterday, and I have to admit… I was very impressed with their setup. SportsClips takes a commodity service and turns it into an experience people are willing to pay a little extra for. They know their customer demographic and market to them well.
My SportsClips Experience
The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was that the place was set up like a gym locker room. There was a small waiting room with a large plasma screen showing the latest on SportsCenter, and a stack of the latest editions of Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, The Sporting News, the newspaper, and probably more. But I didn’t have a wait, so I walked through a chain link fence and went right in to the “locker room” to get my hair cut.
When I entered the “locker room,” I noticed there were the lockers at each hair cutting station. These lockers are where the barbers store their grooming equipment and a vacuum to suck up the little crumblies that fall everywhere. The second thing I noticed was how clean everything was. The place was spotless.
Like your standard barber shop, each chair is situated in front of a mirror. But that is where the similarities end. Each station is equipped with a small flatscreen monitor playing the latest in sports. The trash cans had the logos from regional sports teams, and there were pictures of famous athletes on the walls. The barber turned my chair toward the television and got to work.
This was my first visit, and SportsClips knows how to treat their first time visitors right. They give a free complimentary upgrade to the MVP Package, which includes not only the standard men’s haircut, but also a shampoo and head massage (while seated in a massage chair), a hot towel treatment, and a neck and shoulder massage. This is normally a $40 package. Not bad as a complimentary upgrade!
After my head was sheared to my liking, I followed my barber back into the “shower room,” where they give the MVP treatment. (Get your head out of the gutter folks, this is a family show!). My barber showed me how to work the controls on the massage chair, adjusted the seat, and gave me a massaging shampoo treatment with a slightly tingly peppermint shampoo. It was cool and refreshing. Afterward, my barber gave me a hot towel treatment for my face, then a few minutes later gave me a neck and shoulder massage with a little massage wand. Add a little talcum powder for a fresh scent, and I was good to go.
I’m not normally one for pampering myself, but I admit, after a long, frustrating day at work, a haircut and massage was more than welcome. I left feeling energized and refreshed.
The price. A standard men’s haircut is $16 at my local SportsClips, which is more than I normally spend. I used to go to the Air Force base where I could get my hair cut for $7 + tip. Now I typically go wherever I have a coupon. In fact, the only reason I went to SportsClips was because I had a half price coupon and the location was convenient. The best part is, SportsClips honored the coupon and still gave me the complimentary upgrade to the MVP package for my first visit. While the total bill was $8, I spent $16 because I tipped based on the total cost of the MVP Package. It turns out I was so relaxed that I did my math wrong and tipped 20% of the total price instead of 15%. But it was worth it.
Will I go back? Yes, if I have a good coupon. While I certainly enjoyed the MVP package, I can’t justify spending almost $500 per year on haircuts ($40/month). I also enjoyed the store setup and experience, but I don’t think the haircut was any better or worse than the haircuts I get elsewhere. So my decisions will be based on where I can get the best deal. If the price is comparable, I’ll probably go back.
Why I am impressed with SportsClips
SportsClips offers a commodity service, but with a unique twist that people are willing to pay extra for. In fact, a standard cut is only about $2 or $3 more than the place I normally go, so paying a little extra for the experience is very reasonable. SportsClips markets their service the right way, and I think a lot of businesses would do well to take some tips from them. Here is what they do well:
- Know their market. This place caters solely to guys. (They don’t even list prices for female haircuts). Guys like sports, guys need haircuts. It’s a perfect mix.
- Make it an experience. Everyone needs a haircut. Most people look forward to it as much as they look forward to grocery shopping. Instead of 3 month old copies of People Magazine and Better Home and Gardens, guys can watch sports and stay current in the news. If only they served beer!
- Give a complimentary upgrade. Guys like to be pampered too. They just might not know it or be willing to admit it. SportsClips also realizes it costs them next to nothing to provide this additional service, but they are more likely to get people to spend money for this service once they have experienced it. Giving away a free sample is a great sales and marketing tip.
- Repeat customers are your friend. SportsClips offers free neck trims in between haircuts. Not all barbershops offer this, and it’s a nice additional touch. They also store your basic information in their system to reference your haircut preferences for your next visit. Oh yeah, they gave me a $5 coupon as I walked out the door. People love to save money.
I won’t say SportsClips is perfect. This is only based on one experience, and SportsClips operates franchises, meaning anyone can buy into the brand. So your experience may differ. But I have a feeling it’s a winning combination. If you’re a guy and you like sports, check it out. And if it’s your first visit, ask for the complimentary MVP Package. It’s great!
Note: This is based on my personal experience and what I noticed about why their business model is successful. This article is not sponsored by SportsClips by any means whatsoever. But if they want to send me a few coupons for the MVP Package, I won’t turn them down! (but I would give them away to a few lucky readers ).