"You’ve Got to See This Spa” — 6 Retail Strategies to Make Your Spa a Contagious Experience
by Anne Obarski
When was the last time someone told you that you just had to see something? They wanted to share their experience with you. When your clients have a great retail experience in your spa, you’ve piqued one or more of their senses and they’ll want to share their contagious experience, on purpose!
6 Contagious Strategies to Add "Retail Excitement" to Your Spa.
- Unique Branding: The key to being unique is discovering items your clients can't find elsewhere, getting them, and then displaying them in an unusual way! Your branding process should create a memorable, repeatable, recognizable and unique way of doing business. Clients should say, “I see you everywhere and I tell everyone I know what unusual and great products you have!”
- Infectious Atmosphere: Did you know that the first impression of your salon is made within the first 10 seconds of someone walking through your door? The goal is to attract them emotionally through their senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Over 80 percent of what a person remembers is through sight. What is the first thing your customer sees when they walk through the front door? Creating a display of fresh flowers on a table at the doorway entrance, playing soft music and burning scented candles creates a called the “decompression zone,” an area where guests can relax and enjoy the experience.
Take time to walk through your own entrance. Look at a 45-degree angle to your right as you walk in, because that is exactly what your clients will do. What’s there? Retail product placement in this area is shown to be best for your highest-turning, highest-gross-margin items. Take advantage of it and make it work as a sales magnet.
- Astonishing Retail Merchandise Displays: Your retail merchandising is not just about “housing” merchandise, but about displaying it in such a way that your customer wants to relax and spend time and money. According to a recent ISPA Snapshot Survey, a majority of spas derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from retail sales—and some even get over 25 percent of their revenue this way!
One of the biggest retail categories for spas for 2018 is apparel, according to that same survey. Apparel can be one of the biggest profit margin items in your entire salon, so it’s important to give it the correct amount of space and merchandise it effectively.
Focus on these principles:
1. Attract attention through design
2. Keep your shelves clean and well-stocked
3. Utilize bright, clear lighting
4. Monitor your inventory
5. Place merchandise from “knees to shoulders”; avoid bending over to get products
6. Provide access to mirrors if you sell jewelry or apparel
Common errors in display:
1. Too much or too little product
2. Too many props
3. Inventory changed too seldom
4. Lack of attention to detail
- Retail Inventory Control: Becoming a true retail merchant isn’t as easy as one would think, but, if done well, it can add extra profit to your coffers. The foundation of good retailing is knowing your customers’ wants and needs, buying the right merchandise, pricing it to sell, having a dedicated place to display it and reacting quickly when the merchandise stops selling.
Use a software program to keep track of vendors, amount purchased, amount sold over a specific period and what percentage of the business is directly related to retail.
Be aware of how much square footage is dedicated to retail and how much business is done in that area, even if it is just on a counter or simple shelving. My mantra is to make sure every product you sell has earned its right to be there; if not, get rid of it.
- Unpredictable Events: Events are retail business builders. Entice customers and they will come. It’s not the “expected” events, but the unusual events that make the customers say, “I can’t miss that.” If you have a unique idea, market it everywhere your customer is. Planning is key. Ask yourself: what is the retail product or service you will focus on? How will you market it? How many people will it draw and how much staff should you have on hand? What is the projected “return on experience?”
- FOMO: The recent ISPA retail Snapshot Survey shows that almost 60 percent of spa owners planned to introduce as many as three new product lines in 2018. The customer wants what isn't on your shelves yet. They expect you to be the connection with what is new, and to show them how quickly they can buy it and use it. Find that new item that they want to break the door down to get. FOMO, or the “Fear of Missing Out’, will attract even more customers through your marketing campaign. Delivering on that sense of urgency is part of the job of your staff “super heroes.” Have you educated your staff to be “super heroes?” A super hero goes out of their way to make sure that the customer is informed and thrilled to do business with you; there is never a time that they aren’t empowered to answer any question a customer might have.
These retail business strategies work together to create WOMA, “Word of Mouth Advertising”. Unique items, dynamic ways to display them, and special events staring your super hero employees will create that contagious experience that your clients will want to share with everyone they know.
Anne Obarski is an award-winning speaker on merchandising, retail and customer service. Be sure to catch her Education Session, titled "Spa Business is Show Business — Maximize Your Sales!" at the 2018 ISPA Conference and Expo. For more information on her session, click here.