5 Things That Help Determine Your Retail Selection

By Bill Barczy, VP of Retail Marketing, Universal Companies

Determine your spa retail selection

Retail selection is difficult because it's such a subjective process. Everyone has brands they love, and those brands have rivals with their own loyal customers. It's human nature to gravitate towards personal tastes. That can be tricky when choosing your retail selection, as all of your customers are not just like you. So to help remove some of the subjectivity, here are 5 things you should consider when filling your retail shelves.

1. Your Brand – What does your spa mean to the people who frequent it? If your brand is about sustainability, yoga, meditation, or everyday wellness, your retail selections and classifications should reflect those ideals. Your customers have already made a connection with your brand, so the retail should be an extension of that connection.

2. Your Customers – Are your customers Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, or a combination? All these demographic groups look at the retail process in a different way, so having a firm understanding of who makes up the majority of your customer database will help steer your retail offerings. Boomers still have the most disposable income, so they're willing to pay more if they feel the product meets their needs or their definition of wellness. Millennials often consider a company's corporate philosophy and philanthropy when choosing brands.

3. Your Service Offerings – While we all know massage is one of the largest service offerings in the spa industry, customers seek massage therapy for many reasons. Your retail should reflect your clients' motivations, whether they're centered on pain relief, stress, or emotional wellness. These are three reasons why people get massages, and having retail items that align with and extend these services will help you increase your average customer sale. This extension of service will also help drive loyalty.

4. Your Physical Location – This will help determine what you can carry and how it's displayed. If a resort or destination spa finds a retail product that sells well, then they should just keep stocking the shelves because almost all of their customers are new. The day spa market has to rotate most of their retail offerings more frequently to keep their shelves fresh and their customers engaged over an extended relationship. Also, having the right impulse items for your spa can drive daily incremental sales.

5. Trends – Trends include both short-term (social) and long-term (cultural), and they are key to keeping your retail fresh and relevant. Wellness as a lifestyle started as a cultural trend. Examples of social trends are Himalayan salt treatments and the power of plums. All new products progress through a sequence of stages from introduction to growth, maturity, and decline. This is known as the product life cycle. Having products in the introductory and growth phases can often help you realize higher margins and reduce losing sales to online and other retail options.

While there's no magic formula to the perfect retail selection, understanding these five things will help you choose what's right for your spa or brand.


With nearly 20 years in marketing with a focus on retail, Bill Barczy has executed programs from single categories to national storewide programs. His experience ranges from owning/operating a small marketing agency to running a $16 million consumer product division for the largest privately owned marketing agency in the United States. Bill's wealth of experience working on marketing programs from every angle gives him a unique perspective as well as the appreciation that no matter how big or small the project, it all starts with the same approach and the same desire for success.

Universal Companies is proud to offer retail coaching and consulting, as well as spa retail products, supplies, merchandising, and displays. Dedicated to the success of spa professionals everywhere, we're grateful to be recognized with the American Spa Magazine Professional's Choice Award, Favorite Distributor of the Year, for 11 consecutive years. (Thank you!)

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