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Meeting and Beating the Retail Challenge

Maritza Rodriguez-Aouanough and Dori Soukup 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?

Whenever possible, tie the retail promotion to a service promotion to help increase revenue in both areas. Be sure to measure the success of each promotion and keep a record of those that perform strongly so that you can easily repeat them. Some key strategies for promotional success are: Make sure there is a true value or overall savings; effectively plan, prepare and market the promotion; and ensure that everyone on the team is aware and involved, and always incentivize.

How do I uniquely position my business?

One effective way is to designate a community ambassador, a knowledgeable and charismatic person who can become your community’s spa and wellness expert as a guest speaker and spokesperson. The more favorably you impact the community, the more exposure, trust and perceived value your business gains.

Why should I use social media, and where do I begin?

The easiest way to begin is by setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts. According to findings from the Social Media Examiner’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Report, small businesses and solo entrepreneurs reported notably increased business exposure from using social media.

• Ninety percent of those surveyed say that social media is important for generating more business exposure.

• Self-employed and small business owners with two or more employees were most likely to report that social media helped them obtain new business.

Maritza Rodriguez-Aouanough has worked directly in the capacity of image and marketing consultancy with some of the most renowned professional skin care brands on the market. She is currently the global vice president of marketing & communications for Pevonia International, LLC and its related brands.

Dori Soukup is the founder and CEO of InSPAration Management, a firm specializing in spa business development, advanced education and BizTools. Soukup is a published author who has been featured in national and international trade publications.

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