How to Increase Retail Sales in the Internet Age
by Julie Pankey
Retail sales are an important income source for spas. According to a July 2016 ISPA Snapshot Survey, 38 percent of spas reported an average of 10 to 15 percent of their total annual sales revenue came from retail sales. But spas face a greater competitor than each other these days when it comes to selling retail: the internet. You can’t beat Amazon, but you can be something better for your customers: a complete educational resource. Internet retailers may have fast and free shipping, but the spa has licensed experts who can cater to each individual customer in a way the internet will never be able to accomplish. By following a few key marketing tips, you can create unwavering brand loyalty and increase your retail sales numbers, even in the age of the internet.
1. Selecting the Right Brand Partners
First off, selecting the right brand partners is key. There are many amazing products in bottles, I look for three key characteristics in my vendor partners:
- Exceptional customer service, which includes the partnership being as important to them as it is to me.
- Good products with good ingredients from a company that shares my same values, mission and vision.
- A vendor with a strong marketing plan that can really help me build our partnership in many different directions.
Additionally, some simple things my key vendors help with includes: merchandising, sales training, sales incentives for your team, promotion ideas, gratis product for special promotions and setting and monitoring goals.
But always keep in mind every relationship is two sided and as a spa manager or owner, it is up to us to build a good partnership between our spa business and spa vendor partners.
2. Training Your Staff to Sell
Once we have selected the right mix of vendor partners, training is paramount. Vendors are eager to help with this, but we must take the lead and require our team to attend trainings and take it seriously. Many therapists and estheticians simply don’t want to sell, but explain to your reluctant staff that retail sales training is more than just sales; it’s about building a trust with customers and going beyond the treatment space to educate them on self-care and self-improvement.
We can also take it one step further by making sales a condition of employment. But, if it is a condition of employment, as leaders we must give our teams the tools they need to be successful. Training, training and more training followed by coaching and encouragement is necessary to ensure your staff is successful in retail sales.
By focusing on true customer service and ongoing training, it becomes a more natural organic experience so that a client never feels sold to or pressured, just nurtured.
3. Go to Where Your Customers Are: Online
Finally, we need to actively engage our customers. What I mean by this is that our regular customers should be so engaged with us and our business that they are no longer customers but brand advocates and raving fans. Engaging the customer will happen with several different touch points. It starts with providing exceptional service, and continues with these online marketing essentials.
- Create a loyalty rewards program.
- Keep your fans “in the know.” Sort of like an exclusive insiders’ club. Let your fans know about new products, service updates, new staff, upgrades and improvements being done so that they feel personally connected to the spa.
- Actively listen and react. Your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest etc. They are pinning, tagging, liking and following. You need to actively listen to what your customers are engaging in online and participate. You need to provide content that is engaging and educational not promotional through your spa’s social media channels and website.
You must personalize your business so that your customers can relate. Engage on a human level and share valuable content.
Following these key tips will help you win the game of staying relevant and creating brand loyalty in both the digital and non-digital world.