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Cashing in This Holiday Season

By: Aaron Sonnenschein
Posted: July 27, 2012, from the August 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

You’ve heard it over and over again: Black Friday is when merchants finally make money at the end of the year. The holiday season is when merchants earn 25–40% of their entire year’s sales. In 2010, holiday sales represented 19.4% of total retail industry sales. There is a lot riding on the last few weeks of the year in terms of sales. Are you ready? Have you thought about it? Will you offer the same promotions as in past years? Use the same decorations? Host the same events? Are you going to start thinking about the holidays around November 21 and begin to get ready right after Thanksgiving, just like you’ve been doing for the past 10 years?

If this describes your skin care facility’s holiday plan, and last year’s sales and profits were down, don’t expect anything different this year. The public spending dollars are fewer than in past years, and retail merchants know it. Think back to last year’s holiday season. Retail merchants were more competitive, creative and aggressive in getting their share of the sales pie. Major retailers used e-mail blasts constantly to pull consumers into their stores with amazing specials. So while many stores were getting the larger slice, many skin care facilities were doing the same old thing.

Stores last year started the season earlier, stayed open longer and offered better promotions. Did yours? It may be hard to believe that each year, many consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween. Although little advertising is done during this time, stores will put merchandise on shelves because many people like shopping earlier to spread their spending out over a longer period of time ... and dollars spent elsewhere are not being spent at your spa.

Business is being done differently than ever before. Data from IBM states that online shipping jumped 16.4% on Christmas Day over the previous year, and the dollar amounts of those purchases that were made using mobile devices catapulted 172.9%. Last year, $27 billion was spent on Black Friday and $26 billion was spent last year on Super Saturday. The numbers are staggering.

The skin care industry enjoys what every major retailer dreams about: a regular flow of loyal, repeat clients. So, given all of this information, are your sales going to increase by just doing business the way it’s been done in the past? Probably not. Following are three ideas to help drive your holiday business and strengthen your profits to increase your cash flow for the start of next year.

Host an October pre-holiday sale