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Dermalogica District Manager, Aaron Sonnenschein is photographed at the Face & Body Midwest Spa Conference & Expo 2013, where he presented valuable industry insights for “Planning for a Profitable Year.” An estimated 125 industry professionals attended the presentation.
The professional skin care marketplace has never been more competitive. To thrive or even survive, especially in today’s lean economic climate, Dermalogica district manager Aaron Sonnenschein offers this advice: “Train yourself to see through the eyes of the customer, especially a new customer you want to acquire, every day.”
The primary downfall of salon and spa owners everywhere, says Sonnenschein, is that they allow themselves to lapse into an automatic pilot mode. “This robotic mode may work when your appointment book is full for months ahead, and everyone in town knows every product on your shelf and every treatment on your menu,” says Sonnenschein, who is district manager for the central west sales territory of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota/Fargo, Iowa, Nebraska/Omaha, Kansas, and Missouri. “But no business-owner really has that luxury these days. We are all hustling, and the key to hustling is to see the world through the person you want to reach most—your customer.”
What’s most essential to this consumer-based way of seeing is to create displays and floor-plans which are appealing, contain an immediate call to action, are flexible and are easy to revise, update and upgrade. While a static, permanent, formal style suits the architectural design of institutional buildings such as churches, schools and governmental offices, as well as traditional businesses which want to convey an image of stalwart stability, such as law offices and academic institutions, the key to successful retail is the opposite.
“Healthy retailing requires creating a fluid, personal space which moves and changes often enough to capture the attention of easily jaded shoppers. Consumers are all about the next shiny new thing,” says Naperville, IL-based Sonnenschein, who has received several District Manager of the Year awards and other honors from Dermalogica. “Retail product must be front and center, and the way the product is presented must be kept fresh, surprising and new. We are not an insurance company selling policies. We are selling an upbeat, fun, inspiring, and highly personal concept that needs to feel relevant, contemporary and absolutely necessary.”
Seasonal themes and holidays are an obvious marketing hook, and a great reason to get your team to pull together, stay late one evening and completely revamp your floor plan and traffic flow, signage, “hot spots” or “sweet spots” where key items are displayed, color palette, product arrangement and shelf-talkers in time for the next big holiday. Store “makeovers” for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, back to school, Halloween and the end of the calendar year should be mapped out two to three months in advance, and timed carefully with promotions and GWPs, as well as community events and advertising campaigns.