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Retail: Turn Ideas into Action

By: Carol and Rob Trow
Posted: May 29, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Clearly, improving retail sales and service upgrades is an essential building block to ensuring the financial viability of a spa. However, in this case, just knowing this isn’t enough—it is now time to move from theory to practice. You need to be able to plot specific courses of action to take in order to translate your goals into realistic, measurable and achievable action steps. Information on overcoming obstacles, finding the keys to successful retail sales, motivational tips, a guide to product selection, staff compensation plans, incentive and reward programs, and establishing an action plan that includes ideas on negotiating with and transforming your vendors into strategic partners are all necessary for strong retail growth, and that type of information can be found here.

Sell though education

In the spa, selling must be based upon education. The more you and your spa’s team members know, the better you can impart knowledge on to clients. That, in turn, will yield better treatment results and increased retail sales. Again, just to emphasize, it is about educating—not selling.

The skin care professional must create an at-home skin care protocol that will extend and complement the results of whatever professional treatment or service a client has had at the spa. Link specific products with specific services and treatments to create pre- and post-treatment protocols, and every service should be tied to no less than one product for at-home use. Reach out to your vendors to do this for you, if you need assistance. They should be able to prepare and equip you with key selling points to use in advocating at-home products, and if they will not do this willingly, get another vendor. Make your vendors an extension of your staff, adding their expertise and experience to your spa’s knowledge base.

One important caveat: If you carry more than three lines, it will likely be hard to get the support—financial and otherwise—from a vendor, so don’t spread yourself too thin. If you carry too many lines or only a product or two from a particular vendor, support can be harder to come by. If you invest in vendors, they will invest in you—it’s a two-way street. Try to limit your spa to carrying two to four lines. More than that can be confusing and overwhelming to clients and staff.

For example, an ideal scenario, depending on your spa’s size, might be to have a high-end line, a medical line, a lower price-point range and a spa line plus body products. A private label line may also have a role, but beware, as most private label products do not carry with them all the training and support needed to grow your business. Make sure your vendors provide quality support and education, and ensure the different lines you carry have different selling points. Then always carry six deep of each item.