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Improve Your Retail Revenue

Lydia Sarfati August 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

As a spa owner, you have the liberty of getting creative with your strategies for increasing sales and profits. The spa industry is already offering a truly professional experience, but it is having a difficult time in translating that experience to retail. So often, retail areas are afterthoughts—dusty shelves, one or two products and no marketing material. Can you blame the savvy consumer for being underwhelmed? Imagine your favorite department store’s cosmetics area—beautifully decorated and attended by well-dressed, well-educated sales associates. If skin care facilities want to compete in today’s market, they need to get retail savvy.

Consultation, diagnosis, recommendation. These are the main points of difference between seeking advice from a beauty counter salesperson and a skin care professional. Use your specialized knowledge of skin care to listen to your clients’ concerns, perform a thorough skin analysis and recommend an at-home care program. If you are doing this correctly, you are going to provide your clients with fantastic results, and they will forever love you and trust you for it. Your clients have come to you for your professional opinion, so give it to them.

Invest in your success. Hire a full-time retail specialist. Your clients will come in, visit their skin care professionals who will give their recommendations to your retail employee, who can then go into full detail with the clients about each product. This way, skin care professionals can keep their schedules on point, clients will still get a professional recommendation, and the well-educated and driven retail associate can drive the sale home. It is a win-win for everyone. Your retail specialist can’t be just anyone though; she needs to be qualified, well-versed in your product line and, above all, friendly but tenacious.

Engage the senses. If clients’ eyes don’t light up when they walk into your retail area, then you have a problem. Your client has just received a treatment in your spa; you already know she is interested in her skin. So, if you bring the client into a room stocked with the latest in at-home products, she should be acting like a kid in a candy store.

Sight. Give them something worth looking at, something so enticing that they will want to look, touch and eventually carry it over to your register. Your displays should be neat and clean, with bold marketing materials.

Sound. In recent studies done by Andrea Bovero, PhD, it has been found that classical music stimulates the purchase of luxury products. Slow, classical music will relax your clients and make them feel like they have time to peruse and shop. So bring on the Bach!

Touch and smell. Have samples of each product in your retail area. Your clients will like that they can touch and smell the products before they purchase them. Be sure that you are controlling the sampling process; if it is not well-maintained, products can get messy and contaminated. Keep antimicrobial wipes nearby, and small garbage cans with lids so that you can maintain the area. To ensure your testers are not expired, mark the date it was opened on the bottom of the bottle.

Taste. A drink is not only a perfect end to their fantastic spa treatment, but it will also take your clients a few minutes to consume. Take advantage of this time to give your professional recommendations, as well as your spiel on exactly why they need them. Use this time to inform and entertain clients. The retail area is your stage, the products are your props, and knowing your clients and product lines creates the perfect dialogue.

Your retail business should be at least 50% of your service revenue. Take a hold of your retail business and your skin care facility’s success will reach new heights.

Lydia Sarfati, president and founder of Repêchage, is an internationally recognized skin care expert quoted in Vogue, InStyle, Glamour and The New York Times, and featured on CNN, CBS and Fox. Sarfati has more than 30 years of experience as an esthetician, spa owner, manufacturer and consultant, and is the author of Success at Your Fingertips: How to Succeed in the Skin Care Business (Alluredbooks, 2005).

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