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Spotlight on Merchandising and Training
By: Dori Soukup
Posted: May 27, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Have you assessed your retail area’s performance lately? Is it as profitable as it could be, or are your products collecting dust on the shelves? It seems that many skin care entrepreneurs focus most of their attention on treatment revenue and pay less attention to their retail area, even though the profit margin from retail is greater than it is for most treatments. By turning a creative eye to your merchandising strategies and training your team in the skills of sales, you can help your business enjoy the financial and client-loyalty benefits that come along with having successful product sales.
Merchandising is fun if you let creativity flow. Often, products are just lined up on shelves like little soldiers, one after another. This display tactic does not entice or pique your clients’ interest. You will multiply your product sales if you add points of interest and tell a story, which, for example, can be created by using some of the products’ ingredients. Use shelf-talkers, electronic frames, elevation and sampling opportunities. Also, feature the professional treatments and home care products that complement those treatments together. It’s wise to keep moving inventory in order to keep your merchandise fresh, giving the impression that you always have new items in your retail area.
About 90% of communication is nonverbal. Color plays an important role in the sales process, because it evokes emotional response. Use color to capture attention by painting an accent wall. Use appropriate lighting to highlight certain areas featuring the product of the month or a special promotion you are offering.
Merchandising should engage your clients and take them on a sensory experience. When you do that, your sales will increase. Merchandising should focus on the benefits your clients will gain, and compel them to purchase and re-purchase your products. Another key aspect of engaging clients is effective communication from your team.
Who on your team is trained to manage the retail area and ensure its success? Your team should be trained in merchandising, inventory management and sales. The No. 1 killer in retail is the phrase “May I help you?”