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The Business of Retail

By: Christine Heathman
Posted: January 31, 2014, from the February 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
The Business of Retail

Resisting to sell your clients products they need is failing them as their skin care professional. It is your responsibility to educate them about the importance of taking care of their skin in between treatments using professional formulations. Without proper home care, the results clients receive are unlikely to meet their expectations. Worse yet, failing to provide proper professional retail home care leaves clients guessing about what is best for their skin—and they will likely turn to department stores, drug stores and television infomercials.

The difficulty for clients is distinguishing accurate information from misinformation and the fantasy sold to them by the open market. Skin care growth continues to be fueled to satisfy ever-increasing consumer expectations, and estheticians need to be an integral part of this personal skin care evolution.

By ensuring your clients purchase the proper home care to augment your in-facility therapy, you are building a successful passive income business. As your clients benefit from the use of the products, they repurchase them repeatedly.

The ideal ratio of revenue should be 30% service and 70% retail. Unfortunately, due to a lack of retail understanding, this is not always the case. Survival in skin care and spa commerce requires refining your business and marketing plans, setting sales objectives and tracking skin care economic trends.

Competition is overwhelming and the skin care market is segmented according to classes of trade. There are several segmentation schemes, but the main practical divisions consumers are exposed to include mass market, prestige designer brands and direct sales. The road to success is always filled with obstacles; however, your view of business survival can determine if you will win or lose. Having a positive attitude is one weapon of defense in any business ... and your income survival depends on retail.

What is your selling vision?

  • Are you giving an explanation of the products used during a treatment and recommending clients purchase them for home care, or are you simply going through the motions of the treatment?
  • Do you take the time to educate your clients on their retail home-care protocol, or do you just place products in a bag for the client to figure out?
  • Do you begin with the basic professional skin care to cleanse, treat, balance and protect, ensuring add-on products with each visit, or do you just skip the opportunity for the sale altogether?
  • How does your retail section look? Do you keep products rotated and clean, or are they dusty and look dated? Do you have full shelves, or do you only have one or two products on the shelves?
  • Do you decorate for seasonal sales and offer a gift-with-purchase? Are you taking advantage of the seasonal exclusive promotions suppliers offer to provide a special discount to your clients?

You will always sell what you have, not what you don’t provide your consumer.

Commit to grow your client base and retail sales this year. Often, the secret to finding business growth is to focus on what your clients need. Win clients over with new and diversified products. Upsell by helping clients decide to upgrade to the final purchase by focusing on their needs. If you upsell only one additional product to your client per transaction, it will translate into thousands of dollars of additional revenue.

The skin care industry is centered around one fundamental human behavior trait: the need for self-esteem. Acknowledging how this human need influences your business success will define how you thrive in 2014 and beyond.

Christine+HeathmanChristine Heathman is a licensed master esthetician, massage therapist and burn specialist with more than two decades of clinical practice and research at institutions such as Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Honored in 2003 as an industry legend by the American Association for Esthetics, she believes the future of skin care is now.