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Retailing Results are More Than Skin Deep

By: Jenny Hogan
Posted: September 24, 2010, from the October 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
client shopping for spa retail products

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Of course, you do not want to be constantly chatting during treatments and intrude on the serenity of your client’s facial. However, it is possible to slip in very brief explanations about the benefits of the products you are using, such as how the exfoliating mask helps to speed up skin renewal on aging skin and leaves a healthy glow. Explain that you will show all the products you used during the service afterward, and then have an attractive tray prepared with those products to bring to the client. After the service, review them briefly and offer your recommendations; also write them out on a prescription pad. Or, if time allows, you could have the products waiting at the front reception area and walk out with the client to review, asking, “What would you like to get started with today?”

Often during skin care services, the opportunity arises to recommend a specialty product for a specific condition. Perhaps you’ve used an acne care product, a mask for sensitive skin or rosacea, or an item you’ve offered as an add-on service, such as a collagen eye treatment or a glycolic hand treatment. Always mention that you retail all the specialty items you’ve used in the service. When you finish your facial with a professional-grade sunscreen application, tell the client that you sell that item, and they don’t have to use those greasy drugstore brands anymore. Apply a delicious organic lip balm in a tempting vanilla, honey or mango scent and then offer those at the front desk; your clients will be much more likely to splurge on an item after testing it first.

Merchandising methods

Having a monthly product special displayed by the checkout area is a great way to promote seasonal products or new items. You can also create attractive displays in your treatment rooms, at hair care or nail stations, or get creative by suspending products from mobiles overhead. “If you retail hand soap, then make sure your bathroom is stocked with it, along with hand lotion, air freshener, candles or any other bath items you sell. Instead of wasting wall space with mirrors or artwork, put up shelving or display industry posters reflecting your product lines. Don’t waste counter space at your reception area with plants or decorative items; display your monthly product special with a counter card to pique interest, along with smaller impulse items, such as lipstick, candles or perfume,” suggests Gartland.

Clients love trying products, so always have testers displayed for items, such as hand lotions, makeup or anything with scent. “According to, the average length of stay for customers in a Bath & Body Works store is 45 minutes. People are fully engaged with smelling and using the products while there,” Gartland says. Many spas also feature items such as jewelry, purses or designer sunglasses. “As you are merchandising, the rule of thumb is to make sure that whatever you carry is aligned with the culture of your business,” continues Gartland. “Proceed with caution and don’t go overboard. You could bring in local designers and feature their work, or attend trunk shows to find unique items. Whenever you get something new, do an e-mail blast to alert your clients and feature a retail sale of 10–15%.”

Check with your product representatives to see what promotional materials they provide, or make simple ones on your own. Have shelf-talkers and other signage set up by the products to explain their use. Arrange attractive displays where your clients can see them while waiting for their appointments. Always have products above knee height and do not put displays behind a desk where they can’t be reached. “Have a minimum of four products on a shelf or it will look like a museum,” Gartland notes. “Placing a table within 10 feet of the front door with special offerings is a wonderful way to display and is actually more effective than shelves. Make sure all the products have labels with prices and your business’s contact information.”

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