According to the 2011 U.S. Spa Industry Study from the International SPA Association (ISPA), 95% of spas dedicate space to retail operations. However, it remains an area of untapped potential for skin care professionals and spas by contributing a dismal 11% to overall revenue. Retail sales can contribute extra dollars to your monthly revenue, boost your average ticket cost and provide additional income during slow service times. A spa boutique is a service to your clients and helps maintain the benefits of their treatment between sessions. It is known that American women spend a large amount of money per year on health and beauty products. Don’t you want a piece of that pie?
Let’s get real about retail
First, make retail a part of your entire business model—not just a space. Free up your thinking and begin to consider retail in every facet of your business operation. Limited room for retail? Try these easy-to-implement ideas and tips to boost your bottom line that don’t require additional space, but can help to integrate the retail experience into your skin care facility.
Your treatment room is a mini boutique. Your spa boutique begins with the products you use. Your clients need to know how to maintain results between appointments and recommending retail products for home use is a key strategy. A beginning ritual for any treatment can be an attractive display of the products you have personally selected for the client’s service. Display the retail sizes of your products on a charming tray along with a beautiful plant or flower. Don’t miss the opportunity while clients are in your treatment room to share your range of retail items. This requires little extra space, and sets the mood for the treatment and the purchase of products and accessories.
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Expand your definition of retail items beyond products. Does the ambience of your treatment room incorporate candles, salt lamps, aromatherapy or relaxing music as part of the experience? Do your clients enjoy the comfort of a wonderful robe? Remember, clients are more likely to buy items that they can experience firsthand. These make excellent retail items and do not require a large amount of space for storage. If you use it in a treatment, it can be a retail product.
Create a spa-at-home recommendation. Use recommendation pads to outline skin care products and protocols, and include a listing of additional items for the client to purchase to complete their spa-at-home experience. Even if they do not buy today, they will take home a list of all the elements they experienced.
Undiscovered spaces can create additional retail display areas. Take a fresh look at any unused space in your facility. You may have space in a hallway, in a waiting area or next to a manicure or pedicure station. Use your front desk to display a few impulse purchase items, such as attractive lipsticks, pocket mirrors or other small items. Perhaps your artwork can be rotated or moved to make a space for a shelf to feature a product display. Even more unique would be to partner with a local artist to provide original artwork for display in your business. You can negotiate a commission for artwork that is sold.
Take advantage of a captive audience. Don’t overlook the potential of using your client restroom as a way to feature retail items. You can display soaps, home fragrance items, candles and featured products in a way that lets clients try and experience them before they purchase.
No additional space required—create an online store. Use your website as a selling tool, not just a marketing tool. It requires no extra space to create an online store. The 2010 Retail Sales in the Day Spa Industry report from the Day Spa Association indicated that only 23% of spas used their websites for retail products, but nearly all sell gift certificates. Most websites or online booking programs can create a shopping cart for retail products, as well.
Focus on visual merchandising. Clients buy with their eyes. Product displays should be planned out and changed at least monthly. Mixing things up makes your retail area look fresh. Don’t display your entire product inventory at once; fewer products beautifully displayed will have more impact.
Patti Biro is the owner and founder of Patti Biro and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in planning and providing innovative continuing education in the spa and wellness industries. She is a frequent presenter on the regional, national and international circuit. She can be contacted at 877-561-0738 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.