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Vocal Point Survey

The results are in! Here's what you had to say about our question from January 2011.

The Vocal Point responses have not been edited, and are posted as they were originally submitted. The opinions expressed in these responses are not necessarily those of or Skin Inc. magazine.

Is it worth it to get involved with online group buying deals, such as Groupon? Why or why not?

This month's Vocal Point Survey winner!It is worth it if you use it correctly. Package an offer that won't cost you more than you are receiving, even once you've discounted it. Only book as many Groupons in a day or week that keep other spots open for your cash flow. The advance money you receive for the Groupons also helps with your cash flow (but keep the money back until they cash them in). There is always a percentage that will never use their certificates and that will enhance the overall money and service received. Make sure you have follow-up offers, as always, for your new Groupon clients. Give them a reason to come back. Even though the spa industry has been sluggish, this is a good time to offer incentives to encourage people to put spa into their lives. If you treat the client right and give them more value, they will think it is worth paying more for. I have witnessed this first hand, and our business has grown because of it.
- Jennifer Durand, Owner, The Nurture Nook Day Spa, Houston, TN
No. You make no money and the clients will never be back anyway.
- Candy Dietrich-Ganz, President, Elegant Designs Day Spa, Ellisville, MO
Yes! Get people introduced to your business. You need to get yourself out there every way possible!
- Barbara Wicklund, Owner, Cleopatra's, Rockford, IL
Yes, I think so because the more you can network yourself, the more you will succeed. Plus, with the economy in the state it is now, the more money I save on a product, the more money my client can save as well. Everyone is happy; a win-win situation in my opinion.
- Lisa Jones, Esthetician, GA Dermatology, Warner Robins, GA
Yes, you can save money on things you like. It's a fast way to attract attention and gain new customers.
- Kathleen Fuery, Owner, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Roseville, MN
My feeling is that once you discount a service, the client will always perceive its value at less than the full price. You'll never get them to rebook for full price again! I think this marketing model works best on retail goods, not services. My employees want to make a living and at a discounted price, they may have to leave the industry to do so. When local spas discount drastically, it lowers the perceived value of services and reflects poorly on spas charging the price necessary cover expenses.
- Sheryl Baba, Co-owner, Solstice Day Spa, Hyannis, MA
Most definitely! Considering the current economic state, branding and marketing are everything. By getting involved in group deals, you are opening your business up for more visibility and potential foot traffic. The key to being successful with these promotions is to be prepared and staffed. Poor service and turning new customers away will flop your campaign.
- Anthony Silvestri, COO, Sella Skincare, Batavia, IL
I've been in this business for 23 years and advertising can be costly. So, having someone else spread the word about your business is worth doing your service (one time) for a discounted price. I think the issue is that business people are looking at the people who purchase their service as deal-seekers and aren't treating them as potential lifetime clients. If your energy is negative, these people will pick up on that whether they realize it or not, and they won't be back. Use the opportunity to wine and dine these people, and then you've created that potential long-term client.
- Shelley Hancock, Owner/Esthetician, Real Transformation Center, Foster City, CA
Absolutely! It's a great way to take advantage of deals you wouldn't be able to get by yourself!
- Christy Duff, Owner/Esthetican, The Art of Aesthetics, LLC, Malta, NY
Getting involved with deals like this can be good and bad. It is great to your name out to so many potential clients this way. That's the huge draw for businesses. The bad part of this is when you sell so many coupons, the person buying the offer gets highly frustrated because they can't schedule in for a service or, if it's a product, the product usually sells out. The other problem is most clients do not return unless you have a great customer relationship management system set up. Who is following up on those who purchased and don't come back?
- Haide Vitali, Owner, Haide Vitali, Indianapolis, IN
Absolutely! Exposure any way you can get is always a benefit to your business; why miss out on the chance? People are seeking out deals these days--times are difficult and they may consider our industry a luxury. Yet, these are clients who possibly may have never considered visiting a certain spa before. If you can somehow get them into your door and educate them on all your services, you may possibly have a client you previously had no way of reaching out to without such a deal.
- Gladys Dyer, Laser Technician, American Laser Center, Tinley Park, IL
Yes! I am a huge advocate for jumping on the bus with online group buying deals. This can be a very successful and inexpensive form of advertising for your company. The key is to do it right. First of all, you have to make sure that it is the right deal for you, and that the company is giving you a fair percentage. If you make sure that your staff is prepared for the surge in business, and that they treat every client with the best service possible, the potential is endless. I recently did a buying deal, and it has been nothing but successful for me. I have a huge surge of new clients without spending a dime, and they are continuing to come to me for other services and referring their friends. If you have an abundance of amazing services to sell, this is a great way to get people in your door to see all that you have to offer. The only thing that I would advise people is to not do too many deals in a row; the last thing you want to do is seem desperate or cheapen your services.
- Elizabeth Elshaboury, Medically Trained Esthetician, Ideal Skin Laser Rejuvenation Center, Maplewood, MN
It depends on your objective for the business. It can really get your name out there and bring in new clients. It gives people who otherwise might not try your business a chance to come in at a cheaper rate. However, you can also flood your business with clients, making it difficult for loyal customers to get in. So, it is a great business-growing tactic for the right place.
- Crystal Layman, Esthetician , Sugar Sugar, Bothell, WA
No, at least not for our company. Receiving less than 25% of the total service dollar after all the fees does not allow our staff to be successful. It also targets clients who are looking for a deal, not necessarily our target demographic as we are not targeting the deal-seeker who has no loyalty to a staff member or brand and is just looking for the next best deal.
- Megan Davis, Director of Marketing, Gadabout SalonSpas, Tucson, AZ
Yes, if the service is perceived as valuable to a specific group of people and is perhaps a slight indulgence and not overly expensive when discounted. Also, if a business needs a bump and can handle a possible onslaught of new clients, then yes.
- Constance Garrett, Owner/Esthetician, Skin Alchemy, Denver, CO
Only if its on a service or product with a very high markup. Most of these deals require an advertised discount of 50%, then they take 35-50% of your gross sales leaving you with 25-35% of your original price. As a spa owner, I then have to give a commission on this amount, usually leaving me losing money. Be careful because most of these clients are bargain-shoppers only.
- Cassie Vasileff, Owner, Orchid Day MedSpa, Birmingham, MI
This question has come up many times when I visit spas because many spas use Groupon. This is a win-loose: a win for groupon but not for the spa. First, say that you offer a $100 Groupon for $50. $25 goes to Groupon and $25 to the spa. The technician receives 50% commission, so that's $12.50 for the tech and $12.50 for the spa. Add in payroll taxes and product use, and you can clearly see who comes out the winner. Plus the market for Groupons are coupon-shoppers who might not become long-term clients unless you have a deal every time, and a spa just cannot get ahead doing this.There are so many ways that you can offer a deal.
- Robert Severo, Vice President, Robert Severo Signature Salon & Day Spa, Winter Park, FL
Absolutely worth it. You get so much exposure so people recognize your name even if they didn't buy the deal. I myself have purchased laser deals. Most people that buy them are looking for the product or service already.
- Diana Wilson, Owner/Esthetician, Desert Sun Skin Care, Tempe, AZ
Most of these programs require you to offer a service at half price and then they take half of what is sold. An esthetician who charges $80 a facial would offer it for $40 and bring home $20 per client. This means one hour of time and hard work for $20. It may be worth it if you set a limit on the amount purchased. You should pick a service you want to draw more clients in for. The businesses these programs benefit most are those that can service clients in a group or fast, such as a yoga class or scoops of ice cream because time is money. I have heard estheticians say that they sold more than 200 services and ended up getting bad online reviews because their work got a little sloppy or ended five minutes early. Think hard to decide if these programs are right for you.
- Carrie Griffin, Owner/Esthetician/Massge Therapist, Slice of Heaven Day Spa, San Jose, CA
Yes and no, it depends on the size of your business. These discounts can drive some traffic, but can also change the perception to the client about the type of business you operate.
- Melinda Reeves, Owner/Medically Trained Esthetician, Melinda's Medical Day Spa, North Myrtle Beach, SC
I just saw a news article on the CBS morning news about this subject. It appeared to me that although businesses were getting more traffic, they were drastically discounting services to get the people in the door. My opinion is that you are making it seem that the original prices are too high, and that the value is not really worth the original cost. Is that really the impression that we want the public to have of our services? I do not think it's valuable to my business.
- Cindi Wanta, Owner, Oasis Day & Wellness Spa, Mosinee, WI
I am not a big fan of extreme discounts. However, websites like Groupon have attracted millions of clients' attention. For the sake of the deal being 24 hours, it can be worth a try, at least for notoriety.
- Gina Virgilio, PR Director, NuU Unlimited, Schaumburg, IL
I have not tried it yet, but do not think it is good for a small massage or esthetic business. I use a local online service within my county, and it is working.
- Shirley Zak, Owner, Harbors Healthy Touch, Winthrop Harbor, IL
I would say for a larger facility, yes, it would be beneficial. But for someone such as myself who is the only one and work out of my home, I don't believe it would be as effective. A larger facility can accommodate the volume that Groupon would generate much easier than a smaller one.
- Kristi Rauscher, Owner, Kristi's Nails and More, Hillsboro, OR
Yes, if you don't have a large overhead and you need to encourage business. No if you have a larger business in which you have to pay a lot of employees. The employees suffer the most when these deals are made.
- Tina Gau, Owner, Skin and Wax Studio, Springfield, VA
Sure it is! You get exposure in multiple ways. The deal brings new clients to your spa, as well as makes others view your website to keep you in mind.
- Marcie Spires, Owner, Chocolat Day Spa, Manvel, TX
Yes, if you budget it correctly. Essentially, you are giving away free services, since the price markdown is dramatic enough that it usually will only cover product cost, so make sure you budget correctly including the cost of paying your employees. Just a note, asking employees to work for free to cover your marketing budget is unethical and a surefire way to lose good employees. If you figure the cost correctly, it is excellent advertising that gets people in your spa.
- Gretchen Wilson, Owner, Day Spa Central, Hammond, IN
I recently participated in a Groupon special. I had just relocated and wanted to let a large number of people know where I was. I think that the basic idea for advertising online is good. The shared profit (they send you the money in three allotments directly after the promotion was released) is wonderful because you can then use the money immediately. However, there are many things to consider. When participating in an offer, make sure that you can control the number of deals that are sold. If you have a single-person establishment, this can make a huge impact on your income and availability for full-paying clients. If you sell a large number of deals, you may also find yourself pressing through your treatments because you have so many people that have discounted services. Make sure that your offer isn't too discounted; there is a tendency for deal-seekers and if your offer is higher priced, you will attract clients that are willing to pay for quality rather than just looking for quantity services. Try to limit how often you participate in discounting offers; you must consider that you can be conditioning our clientele to expect not to have to pay full price for any service, much like the discounted nail salons affected spa nail services. Participating in online groups will provide for you a large number of new clients coming through your business. Make sure that you tally them well so you can see which clients return; this is part of your income from your offer. Tally how many of your deal clients return to really determine if it was worth it, or if just placing an ad with Yelp, Facebook or Google might reach as many people without a discount.
- Patti Barila-Wilmot, Owner, Earthly Rituals, Seattle, WA
Any form of free mass advertising is good if you can get your name exposed. For the business owner, it may bring fresh clients that may potentially become loyal regular spenders. When a Groupon coupon is being used, ask if the client wants to add a body polish or mini facial to make it into an inexpensive way to experience the quality and relaxation of your spa. A Groupon buyer may have never entertained coming to your particular spa until an offer was available. This is the business owner's chance to acquire a new stream of steady clientele through a little special that is advertised to the masses. You just need to be wise about how to make it work to your advantage. When the Groupon client checks out, ask if they would like to leave gratuity on the special price or the regular pricing of that particular service. Ask them if they would like to be a VIP client and receive specials through their personal e-mail address. But always remember, we all only get ONE chance to make a first impression.
- Donna Dodier, Spa Marketing/Sales, Donna Dodier, Boca Raton, FL
Yes, because business is slow and advertising is expensive. This way, you are targeting the local area. You may not be making much money, but you may be introducing new people to your services and location.
- Laura Subik, Owner, Suebee, Greensboro, NC
No, because half of what you sell the promo for goes to Groupon. But you still have the cost for supplies and your time, so you are not making any profit. The goal then is to get clients to come back in and, from my experience, only about 5% do come back.
- Allison Ombres, Owner, Epilait, La Jolla, CA
Yes, I definitely think it is. Even though Groupon will result in little-to-no profit from the clients who purchase the deal, it gets the name of the spa out to thousands of other potential clients, as well as providing an opportunity to meet with and build lasting relationships with the clients who do purchase the deal.
- Vanessa Ramirez, Esthetician, Vanessa's Waxing Studio, San Francisco, CA
Yes. People are really looking for great deals, especially around the holidays, and I think it really has the potential to bring in business.
- Lisa Pickney, Esthetician, Beauty by Tabitha, Sewanee, TN
In my opinion and experience, it is well worth it. It is a way to promote your business with no upfront capital. My skin care and waxing studio has only been open for about a year, and the money is a little tight. A friend told me about one of the online sites. I tried it and the exposure was nice in a financial pinch. I would recommend that other businesses try it; it really does work.
- Carla Thomas, Co-owner, LaFace Cafe ( Skincare and Waxing Studio), Chicago, IL
It was a very difficult decision for us to make, considering all of the bad and good info surrounding Groupon and Living Social. In the end, we decided to take the leap. Our date came up very fast--we would have liked more time to prepare, but we did not want to do the deal any time near the holidays due to holiday gift certificate sales. We offered everything to be valid for Groupon except nail care and Thai massage, due to availability of these services. In order for us to make it work, we asked all therapists to take a 25% decrease on their Groupon services, leaving our loss on it 75%. It was not easy, but every therapist agreed and they found they easily made that money up ... we were SO busy. We also gave our front desk strong guidelines about how to up-sell. We increased our Groupon sales by an average of 40% to date. Ummelina has found we are up this year in sales for the holidays also. It might not be for everyone, but if you work it right and are diligent with spreadsheets and tracking the info, it really works.
- Meghann Lawrence, Chief of Operations, Ummelina Seattle and Yakima Valley, Seattle , WA
If someone owns a big spa, has several well-trained employees at the phones (several landlines and smart phones), is ready to handle texts, Tweets and Facebook requests as well, then sure, Groupon can be fantastic. For the rest of us, it's a nightmare. The onslaught of customers trying to get the deal, demanding instant appointments or multiple guest bookings at same time, or tying up your phone with inane questions and then not buying the deal, can give small, unprepared spas a big headache. Then there's the folks that give you bad reviews because they didn't get the date they wanted (because your spa was overwhelmed with calls hours ago) or their phone call went to voicemail. I thought long and hard, and decided Groupon might actually hurt my little business. Judging by harsh comments posted on their site, it has been a tough situation for some of my competition. I feel bad for them. The remarks were hurtful ...some vicious. They didn't deserve it!
- Joy-Marie Peterson, Owner/Esthetician, Joie de Vie Expert Skin Care, Clackamas, OR
With Groupon specifically, I feel they are too judgmental on the businesses they select. I am part of a nice above-average spa, and they did not feel we were good enough to be offered on their site. Also, most of what I have seen is that the services offered are often 50-70% off the regular price and Groupon then takes 50% of that. It may get people in your door, but are they just bargain hunters? For example, if you have a $100 service that you offer for $50, and then they take $25 of that, it is not necessarily worth it after you subtract all your expenses. You could be very busy working for next to nothing. There are other services that allow you to offer similar deals that you advertise yourself that cost less than 10% of your offered price. It's little more work for you, but at least it can be offered for more than just one day.
- Susan Ferguson, Owner/Operator, Body Basics Skin & Body Care, Port Richey, FL
It is worth it if you use it correctly. Package an offer that won't cost you more than you are receiving, even once you've discounted it. Only book as many Groupons in a day or week that keep other spots open for your cash flow. The advance money you receive for the Groupons also helps with your cash flow (but keep the money back until they cash them in). There is always a percentage that will never use their certificates and that will enhance the overall money and service received. Make sure you have follow-up offers, as always, for your new Groupon clients. Give them a reason to come back. Even though the spa industry has been sluggish, this is a good time to offer incentives to encourage people to put spa into their lives. If you treat the client right and give them more value, they will think it is worth paying more for. I have witnessed this first hand, and our business has grown because of it.
- Jennifer Durand, Owner, The Nurture Nook Day Spa, Houston, TN
Absolutely not. You will sell your time slots for 25% of the price. If you are a commission spa, you are getting 12.5%, and it's not one slot, it's bulk. You will look busy, but would it pay off? It is OK to do free services to new clients, but people from Groupon will run to the next place with the next offer.
- Larisa Miron, Owner, 5 Salon & Spa, Fort Lee, NJ
Using one of these services to boost sales is only ideal for someone who already has a client base. You may pick up a few regular clients from this type of exposure, but the cash flow will not keep your doors open. To have one of your services displayed to buy, you will need to lower your retail price by half, if not more. Plus, you will be charged a fee for this online service. So, there goes your profit. If you are not able to mix these (basically free) deals in between your regular paying clients, you will not survive.
- Dawn Sook, Spa Manager/Esthetician, One Stop Wellness Shop, Dacula, GA
That would depend on the spa's ability to handle a large response to the offering. You would appear very unprofessional if the volume negatively impacted your service.
- Cheryl Stephens, Esthetician, Spa of Tranquility, Troy, IL
Yes; with the economy and money the way it is, coupons and discounts are a necessity.
- Maurene Mongan, Owner, La Vita Organics, San Diego, CA
I'm not sure if it does or doesn't. It does bring people into your spa; however, I don't really think that they re-book at regular prices. I think we need to track it better.
- Rita Stern, Esthetician/Nail Technician, , North Olmsted, OH
I have doubts as to whether offering services through one of these companies is a good investment. You end up realizing only 25 cents on you dollar usually, and while you might retain a couple of new clients, the majority of the people that come through are only looking for the cheap deal and will not return. Perhaps for larger businesses, this is a good advertising plan, but for a small operation, I think you would cause yourself a lot of work with little return, especially after you consider your time and the cost of your supplies. I have not tried the online deals, but I was involved in a similar promotion where a company went out and sold discount packages to consumers, and it turned out to be a nightmare for our spa.
- Marilyn Dahl, Electrologist/Esthetician, DahlFaces, Salinas, CA
In my opinion, it is not worth it. Discounts devalue the services offered by all business in this industry and create 'hoppers' who are always looking for the best deal and are not loyal to any one technician or spa. They will always go to the place where they have a coupon and not return as a loyal consumer. Any business that undercuts the competition by a huge amount only harms the industry they are in. I understand that the idea is to create more traffic and drive business, but these customers do not usually equate into long-term clients.
- Brenda Griffin, Owner/Operator, Faces Plus, Tucson, AZ
I think it's great for products or a very short treatment that doesn't include using much product. Overall, I don't think It's beneficial since there is a spa service offered every week and people don't really care about having a professional service, but just getting a good deal. My concern for our industry is: Will this result to people never again paying a full price for the services we offer?
- Manja Obid, Owner/Master Esthetician , LePA Skincare, Austin, TX
I did not get involved in Groupon, but I am thinking about doing it. It sounds like it is a way to attract customers in a bad economy. But, the offers are so low that the clients buying the deals will be one-time customers. Unless they will buy more, then it is worth it. Some clients get smart and buy deals from many spas. They come to you just for three treatments prepaid at a very steep discount. Then, I lose time and money. I will like seeing others opinions.
- Regina Zadik, Esthetic nurse, Harmony Beauty, Hercules, CA
As a new start-up business and currently a part of Groupon, I can say positively, yes! With the economy as it has been this past year, I absolutely do not think I would be where I am at this point without participating with Groupon. My offer was more than 50% savings to the consumer on a European Facial. I sold close to 200 coupons. As of this date, over 50% have redeemed, I have been paid by Groupon (exactly as promised) and have grown my client base significantly. I created frequent visitor cards to give to each Groupon client that gives them an additional $10 discount on their upcoming facials, provided they come within three months of their last treatment. Then their fifth visit will be 50% off. As a result, I have had many already return, some even for other services such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and also to purchase gift certificates. Sounds like a winner to me! Would I do it again? Absolutely. I am already planning another Groupon campaign during the slower summer months.
- Marci Delaney, Owner/LE, m.d. Skin llc, West Columbia, SC
Yes, because it brings in clients that normally would not come in. It's also an awesome tool for social networking.
- Christi Brown, Esthetician, Cutiecules Day Spa, Midwest City, OK
We are very proactive with strategic marketing in our spa and use social media, our website and the Internet in general as our main marketing strategies. We have done several promotions, such as Groupon, and have found that the majority of consumers that purchase these offers are our existing guests. We have had very few new people. We are no longer participating in this type of marketing.
- Angela Quadagno, Owner, Essencia Salon, North Palm Beach, FL
I believe we have to keep up with the next generation and since this is a form of advertising online that costs no money up front, it works for me. It is a new, fresh approach that offers new clients an introduction to a service and business that they would not have otherwise tried. Also, it is a great gift-giving source to allow friends who do not frequent professional spa services to shop. As business people, it is up to us to figure how to treat these new clients as royalty and make up the dollar difference with repeat business or helping them pass it on. Win-win negotiations always work!
- Brenda Romanow, Owner/Esthetician, Desired Image Skin Care Clinic, Amherst, NY
Yes! You reach out to potential clients any way that you can. Online groups can give your business exposure to people that might not normally be looking for, or know about your services. You gain valuable reviews about your services and products. Most people value word-of-mouth over blind purchasing.
- Yvette Mitalovich, Esthetician, Healthy Skin Zone, St. Ann, MO
Yes, by using Groupon or other online sites, you can gain exposure from a whole new spectrum of potential clients, who may not have known about the services you offer. Just be sure that you retain all of the new clients information for further promotions.
- Desteni Bisio, Esthetician, Kalay Zoay Salon, Visalia, CA
In my opinion, it is definitely worth it to be involved with online group buying deals. Sites such as Groupon can really get the word out on new businesses to create new traffic. I know from my personal experience--I always look into whatever deal that is going on in my area.
- Grace Louise Baumer, Esthetician, Dun'Artie Day Spa, Havelock, NC
Groupon is a great way to expose your business to people that would not normally patron the business. Because there is an expiration date, it can assist in a business's off-season or slow season sales. Also, the business can limit the number being sold, which is a positive because Groupon requires a commission that can be a little steep for their services. As with any discount, it needs to be well worth the exposure. I have signed up for Groupon and other programs similar to Groupon, and I have really enjoyed the bargains as a consumer. I have had opportunities to frequent businesses that I normally would not have, and I have become a return customer.
- Jennifer Aleman, Esthetician, The Spa at The Hotel Galvez, Galveston , TX
I definitely think it is beneficial to get involved in group buying deals just for the sheer fact that it can bring new faces into your spa. You don't make much money on it initially, possibly enough to cover cost of product, but the future prospect is worth the risk. Just be ready to book the influx of calls you will be getting!
- Amy Hooker, Owner, Amy-J's Faces & Feet, Deltona, FL
I think it depends on the area and nature of the business. Spas in high traffic or urban areas may benefit because it gives people a reason to go to that particular spa to redeem a deal. In tougher economic times, consumers are certainly swayed by being able to get the most for their money. I was recently at a spa conference weekend where the subject of Groupon came up. Spa owners with businesses like mine (local, boutiquelike, loyalty-driven) all agreed that implementing Groupon-type deals at our spas would have little to no benefit for our spa environment. Know your spa climate and your clients. Keep it cohesive. Adopting group buying programs is an individual decision for each spa, but owners must weigh the short-term boost in customer traffic versus maintaining and retaining a loyal customer base.
- Kirstin Eldredge, Owner/Esthetician, Kiki's Spa, Tavernier, FL
In theory, it is a great idea; you are trading a significant discount for a service to get the client in your door. It can be a smart way to spend advertising dollars. However, the client visits your business and now it's showtime and the question is: Will you and your staff take advantage of the advertising dollars? The presentation of the business and the talents of the staff really come into play now. I think it’s important for the owner, staff manager and staff to be on top of their game and not discount services just because a client has a coupon. There should be clear goals as to the percentage of re-booking, upgrading services and retail sales. Yes, it might be worthwhile to get involved with online group buying; it is a great way to get your name out there, but it could also backfire if your business plan when offering the discounts is not clearly thought-out.
- Yvonne Harper, Student, ISSN, Marietta, GA
Yes because it gets your name out there. Maybe it's free advertising or little to no cost to you ... and maybe it get you some business with possibility of a lifetime client. It lets clients know that you care that the economy is not that good and you're willing to work with them to get them in and to return. They really appreciate that!
- Brenda Hendren, Co-owner/Massage Therapist, Lily Manor Day Spa, Danville, KY
I think from an advertising standpoint, it does. It gets new customers in the door who might otherwise not take the chance and puts you in front of a different audience than a targeted mailing list.
- Shelly Schneider, Esthetician, Nevaeh Medispa, Whitefish Bay, WI
It is to your benefit to become involved in an online group buying deal site such as Groupon because society is trying to get the most for there money in this poor economy.
- Dana Jarrell, Esthetician/Nail Technician, Zano Salon and Day Spa, North Aurora, IL
I think it depends on the structure of your business as well as how the deal is structured. It may be a great business-building tool for new businesses and spa professionals just starting out on their own; it'll bring a lot of exposure and get a lot of people through the door, and then provide the opportunity to keep them coming back by providing a superior service. For businesses that are already established and busy, or that has employees they pay on a percentage-of-service scale, I think it might be more difficult to accommodate the influx of deal-seekers and remain profitable. Those businesses may also run the risk of lowering employee motivation (if the employee is not making enough money because of the deal) and increasing employee burnout (if the employee is working more hours because of the deal). We all need new clients coming through our doors on a regular basis, whether they are referrals from current clients or from running a deal. When considering running one of these deals, you must be realistic about what your goals are, how much it will truly cost you and how many people your business can realistically accommodate. Map out a plan, list the pros and cons for your particular business, and weigh all of your marketing options. If it feels right for your business, then go forward; if it doesn't feel right for your business, then pursue other marketing formats.
- Teri Kotantoulas, Owner/Esthetician, Face To Face Esthetics, Highlands Ranch, CO
I don't think so, because they take 50% of your already 50% discounted prices. Sure they send to thousands of people, but it's a lot of work for the money you get out of each treatment, and it's usually the people just looking for the next deal that never come back.
- Betty Gandara, Owner, Skin Care By Betty, Covina, CA
I am an independent business owner who recently relocated my practice to a major downtown business hub in a wellness center providing massage, yoga and more. The distance between my former location and where I am now meant that I was going to lose a certain percentage of my regulars and needed a way to replenish that consistent customer base. My online group buying deal was promoted in late November. It was resulted in 238 sales generating needed cash flow for business improvement, and enabling me to turn a significant number into repeat business. You don't expect every purchaser to return; however, it does promote awareness that my business exists. I have had such a good experience, I plan to repeat in the spring.
- Denise Neal, Owner/Esthetician, Serendipity Esthetics Skin Spa LLC, Greenville, SC
I think you can see it both ways. Often, when you get involved with programs like Groupon you are nearly giving away your product or service. If you can look past the initial hit you take, there is always the possibility of expanding your client base and winning back that initial loss sometime in the future.
- Tammy Kosnik, Esthetician, Nicole's Salon and Day Spa, Saint Johns, MI
I think Groupon and Living Social are great. They bring people through the door to experience your services. I work for myself and also work a couple days of week for a spa that is doing nothing but Living Social and I am slammed all day. The other places I work at are very, very slow, and if no one comes through the door, you can't sell them more upgrades or product. So I am a firm believer in this concept. I am waiting for it to get to our small town in California so I can try it.
- Marina Ramos, Esthetician, Aesthetics and Permanent Cosmetics, El Dorado, CA