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Shelf-talkers—The Silent Salespeople

By: Patti Biro
Posted: January 2, 2013, from the January 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

What if you had an employee who never came in late, got sick or took a day off, and worked tirelessly to promote your business but asked nothing in return? Is this too good to be true? You actually have this employee—it is the shelf-talker. Shelf-talkers are sometimes called the silent salespeople of retail because they work wherever they are assigned to promote your business and boost your retail sales.

Stop for a minute and think about the last time you visited the wine or gourmet cheese section of your favorite grocery store. You probably saw a variety of shelf-talkers on display. Some of them probably drew you in, even if you were not aware of it. What attracted you in the grocery store can be applied to how you create and use shelf-talkers in your skin care facility.

Creating a shelf-talker

Many product lines will provide these as marketing support items; and, with a little creativity, a computer, or perhaps a camera and a digital photo album, you can inexpensively create a team of effective silent salespeople of your own. Use quality paper to print your messages and display them in attractive picture frames. Select frames that fit with your products, color theme or brand. Look for frames in various sizes to use in retail displays at the front desk, in the client bathrooms and in your treatment rooms.

Shelf-talkers have three main job functions: to entice, to inspire and to educate. When creating a shelf-talker, the best way to begin is by identifying its main purpose.

To entice. One job function for the shelf-talker is to entice clients to stop, look at the product and read the message. A key factor leading to a retail sale is the amount of time a client spends looking at or interacting with a product. Shelf-talker messages can be as simple as “Try me!” “New product!” or “New for the season!” Asking a question is an easy way to get attention. One of my favorites is “Hot date tonight?” Think about how effective the “Got milk?” ad campaign has been, and the power of a simple question becomes evident.