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Welcome to the Future: Spicing Up Your Space With the Hybrid Concept

By: Heather Hickman
Posted: July 31, 2014, from the August 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Welcome to the Future: Spicing Up Your Space With the Hybrid Concept

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1. Reimagine your business. Consider decentralizing the floor plan, and doing away with the old-school cash register and queue. Apple, Marks + Spencer and Nordstrom did this years ago, putting their sales associates out onto the floor with tablets to offer clients accessible expertise and instant transactions.

2. No secrets, no surprises. Choose to work with brands that you can really stand behind without flinching. If a skin care line is receiving terrible reviews online, don’t pretend to not know about it. In the age of transparency, every decision must be made with the expectation that the public—the clients—will know all. For example, many mistrust credit card companies and other financial institutions for “trolls under the bridge”—hidden charges or fees mentioned in the very fine print at the bottom of the agreement. Avoid this kind of sneakiness.

3. Make contact. Creating a successful hybrid space means talking to people across all platforms. There is no avoiding social media, so use it to post and tweet in a seamless conversation with clients 24/7. They’ll appreciate learning about same-day specials, last-minute openings and newly scheduled events.

4. Allow connection. Create areas where the spa team can interact with clients in a nonpressured way. Sampling always breaks the ice. Offer loyalty programs and easy-to-use touch screens on which clients may enter their contact information. Supply team members with hand-held devices to collect this information casually out on the floor. Then, treat these connections like gold.

5. Remove barriers. If the lobby looks like something from the television show Mad Men, sales are actually being prevented. Love the pencil skirt and the matte red lipstick, but that dated front desk, coffee table and sofa layout actually separates clients from the immediacy of their experience. Open up the space to lead clients directly into the sight lines of sales associates, guiding them along the way—both on the right and left sides of the main aisles—with eye-level merchandising “pops” of energetic color and display. There can be no blocks or dead spots in your floor plan—every square foot has to be activated to create conversation and exchange.