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Spotlight on Merchandising and Training

Dori Soukup 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.

Creative merchandising

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.

Team training

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?”

How often do you walk into a store and still hear that phrase? Your answer usually is, “No, thanks.” Yet this silly question is still prevalent. For a team to succeed in engaging clients and to generate sales, it needs training. No one is born a sales expert. Just like in sports, no one is going to win an Olympic medal if hours, weeks, months and years aren’t spent practicing. Yet in the skin care industry, team members are expected to be successful by skipping sales training. Companies cannot survive if they think of sales as a dirty little word. To be successful in retail, your team must be able to effectively communicate with your clients who buy products when they trust, like and see value in what is being presented to them. They buy when they see that your products are going to solve a problem, and when your team members come across as professionals and experts. Spend time training your team on how to approach clients and how to make recommendations. Then, watch your sales soar.

Make incredible strides

An imbalance of more focus on treatment profits and less on retail profits can cause a major loss in revenue potential. By focusing on creative merchandising and team sales training, you will make incredible strides in improving your retail profits.

Dori Soukup is the founder and CEO of InSPAration Management, a firm specializing in spa business development, advanced education and BizTools. During the past 10 years, she has contributed to the success of spa companies worldwide. Soukup is a published author who has been featured in national and international trade publications.

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