Article | Category: Retail

Pulse Magazine, September 2014
by Gina Preziosa


Never be complacent in what you buy and how your store looks. Not only does your guest want the newest and on-trend item, but your team does also. By generating excitement within your team, and frequently re-creating your store, you motivate them to sell and promote more.

Common Mistakes When Buying:

You are not buying for yourself: This is a mistake that many buyers make.You must know who your customer is, what they want and how much they will spend. By analyzing your guest spend per visit, you can identify opportunities to increase that number by adding higher priced items and reinforcing multiple product sales with your team. On average, if two or more products are offered after a treatment, 60 percent of customers will purchase more than one item.

Your purchases must have a “story”:  Sometimes buyers think that they need to carry everything a guest might want, creating an over assortment without any focus.  Your assortment should include certain categories that reflect and enhance the customer’s experience, such as journals, jewelry, candles, books, spa products and lifestyle clothing. The products used for facials and body treatments should account for at least 30 percent of your overall revenue.

Markdowns: If you have purchased something that does not sell, mark it down immediately. Do not wait, as it takes up valuable space in your store. You will lose the opportunity to offer something else that will sell. Many buyers are afraid that it will affect their cost of goods. That is why it is important to budget an average of 55 - 60 percent for cost of goods.


Common Mistakes when Designing and Merchandising a Retail Space:

  1. Poor Lighting: This is very common in spas. While trying to create a peaceful and tranquil environment, designers believe that lighting should be soft in all areas. Unfortunately, this is not conducive to shopping. All products look more beautiful with proper lighting. I recommend spotlights that can be adjusted and lighting over shelves.
  2. Stationary Fixtures and Shelving: This does not offer any flexibility in merchandising. It is extremely important to move your merchandise around frequently. You need to be able to move fixtures and change the heights of your shelves to accommodate new and different products. I recommend that every wall have the ability to hold either shelves or rods. A shelf or rod should never be too high or low that a customer cannot reach it.
  3. Glass and Locks on Fixtures: Many people are concerned with theft, and decide to lock up their cabinets and put products behind glass. What this does is give the signal to your customers that they cannot touch anything, and that the products are very expensive. When a customer can touch and feel a product, they are more apt to feel like they already own it.
  4. Limited Space: Management sometimes does not understand the value of retail. Very often when determining space allocation, they will cut back in this area. The potential to generate incremental revenue with retail is enormous, if the space is adequate. The average revenue per square foot is US$750 - 1,000 in spa retail stores.


Merchandising Tips:

Walk into your store every day as if it was the first time, with your eyes wide open.   A visually exciting store allows your guests to easily see what you have, and subtly interests them to purchase more than they expected to!

Create small vignettes that are colorful and include “like” merchandise to suggest to the customer that they need to buy more than one item. 

The most important display is the front center location. After that, customers tend to walk to the right. These areas should be changed frequently to spark interest and keep your store looking fresh.

Never place sale items in the front of the store. Your customers will find sale items wherever you place them.

In each section and on each shelf, there needs to be a focal point. The item that is the tallest should be in the center, and all items next to it on both sides are in descending size order, similar to a pyramid.

Impulse items should be placed on or near the front counter. When people head to the register, they are still open to purchasing one last item. If they have to wait, their eyes will wander and touch what is near. It does not matter what the cost of the item is.

Merchandiser: It is critical that a person in the spa retail area be assigned the responsibility of keeping your displays looking fresh. Every day, a walkthrough of the entire space must be executed. 

Simply put, if you put into action a few of the suggestions above, you will experience increased retail sales and a visually pleasing store.


About the Author
She has more than 18 years of experience in resourcing and buying all categories of product for both retail locations and manufacturers.  In fact, Gina has helped create and establish distribution networks for manufacturer products.  Still, her unique gift for merchandising and designing both new and existing retail spaces, has made her a sought after speaker for many conferences, including ISPA. Gina shares her enthusiasm for retail sales and customer service principles through these seminars, as well as ,through candid customized courses that offer  her clients fresh insights on selling, and real working knowledge that can be implemented immediately to drive sales.