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Meeting and Beating the Retail Challenge

By: Maritza Rodriguez-Aouanough and Dori Soukup
Posted: September 29, 2011, from the October 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Following is a selection of the most frequently asked retail questions—compiled from surveys completed by key industry experts—to help address the ongoing challenges faced by many skin care professionals.

What is the best way to manage my inventory?

The first thing you need is a good management system to track your inventory and provide performance reports. Run sales and aging reports per product on a weekly basis to quickly spot low-performing products in order to move them to a different location, re-bundle them with another product at a discount or, as a last resort, begin a markdown process until they are sold.

How can I maximize retail revenue per client?

Point-of-purchase (POP) is one of the easiest ways to do this. Place an irresistible product near the checkout counter with a price point that doesn’t exceed $19, and remember to change the product selection often. This is a crucial retail strategy for all spas.

What kind of product mix should I offer?

The goal is to generate multiple revenue streams while meeting consumer demand. Be sure to include not only one or two great, results-driven skin care brands, but also relaxation and meditation items, sun products, bath and body items, apparel, unique jewelry and other accessories that make great gifts. Be sure to run small purchase trials on new items, and then gauge performance before making a more substantial investment.

How many skin care brands should I carry for a profitable retail area?

Ideally, you should carry one or two primary skin care brands and in some instances, depending on the clientele, a medical or niche brand as a supplemental line. The adage “less is more” rings truer than ever because the more skin care brands carried, the more challenging it is to ensure staff members are properly trained, fully knowledgeable and extremely confident in the products they are recommending.

What is the key to a successful promotion?