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Show and Sell

Patti Biro April 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Remember looking forward to show-and-tell in your elementary school days? Finding and sharing the story of a special item for your peers was exhilarating. Recall that experience and apply it to the skin care environment. In today’s competitive world, skin care professionals cannot sit back and hope that a client will purchase retail items while waiting for an appointment or on the recommendation of a therapist. Retail consultants Frost & Sullivan have reported that in-store retail displays can boost sales by 65%, and a study conducted at the University of Minnesota found that consumers infer qualities of a product with the type of retail display used.

Can you afford to ignore this information? Not if you want to boost retail sales. The drugstore approach to visual merchandising, using neat rows of available products, will not invite clients to connect with your retail in a way that sells. Following are simple ways to improve your in-spa displays.

Mix it up! Product placement is important when designing your retail area for maximum sales. If your retail items are displayed in the same location they were last month, then move them. This is a good time to deep clean those display areas. Nothing kills a sale quicker than dust, which signals that the product has been sitting on the shelf and is not desirable.

Pick a theme and tell a story. Engaging retail displays tell a story and urge clients to interact with the products. There are literally hundreds of possible themes you can use; the easiest is a holiday theme, and seasonal displays are effective as well. Examples may include winter-skin needs, after-work relaxation and summer-related skin products. Create a theme that encourages browsers to spend time interacting with the display and the products. The more time clients spend in your retail area, the more likely you are to make a sale.

Function = education. You can group retail items by function, such as travel sizes, stocking stuffers or sun protection. Use signage or shelf-talkers to explain the items and their benefits. Signage can be as simple as an information card in an attractive picture frame or a digital photo album.

Ingredients and effectiveness. If you carry products that feature a specific ingredient, such as salt, coffee, cocoa or herbs, use those elements to create an interesting display. Clients often wonder why a specific ingredient is used in a treatment or product, and this is an opportunity to share the history, uses and benefits of both the ingredient and the product line. I recently created an interactive display featuring hand and body products with grape-derived ingredients. To tell the story of the benefits of these products, I used wine bottles, corks, artificial grapes in various colors and wine glasses to accent the colors used in the products. Shelf-talkers shared information on the benefits of wine, and the history of grape-based products for wellness and beauty. Bottom line: Sales of the featured products increased by 30% in one week.

Shine a light on it. To feature a new product, brand or special promotional offer, add lighting elements to make it stand out. Many spas tend to have subdued lighting, but a product can be highlighted by adding flameless candles to an area or a small spotlight without ruining the ambiance.

Try me = buy me. Testers are an important element in an effective display, and increase the likelihood that clients will spend more time in the retail area and will purchase an item. Be sure to keep testers clean and provide sampling supplies so that individuals do not cross-contaminate the testers.

Don’t miss the opportunity to boost sales by creating a retail message and turning browsers into buyers.

General References

J Ellis-Knapp, Tis the Season! Beauty Store Business, (Nov 2011)

R Zhu and J Meyers-Levy, The Influence of Self-View on Context Effects: How Display Fixtures Can Affect Product Evaluations, J Marketing Research, (Feb 2009)

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 industry. She is a frequent presenter on the regional, national and international circuit, and can be contacted at 877-561-0738 or


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