Take 7 Steps To Plan For Retail Skin Care Success

By Ada Polla, CEO, Alchimie Forever

One of the most common questions I am asked when visiting with a spa manager or owner is, “How can we sell more products?” According to the International Spa Association, retail should be 15-25% of a spa’s revenue. How do your numbers compare with that statistic? Here are some things to consider as you plan for 2016 and budget your retail revenues:

The Concept of Selling

1. Remind your team of therapists that their clients are purchasing skin and body care products somewhere. Isn’t it in everyone’s best interest for them to buy the highest-quality product that is best suited to their skin type? This is most easily done at your spa after a treatment and conversation with a skin care professional, rather than at a drugstore or department store.

2. To take it one step further, optimal at-home care and the proper product recommendations are really an extension of the service.Often I find that estheticians are shy about retailing because they think it equates to “sales,” and they don’t think of themselves as “salespeople.” The key here is to reframe the sale into being part of the service. This is the part of the service that the client can take home, the daily care that will help maintain the results of the treatment and maximize both the time and money invested in the service. Not recommending at-home products is like not finishing the service.

3. As a salesperson and as a consumer, I often come across the tendency for the salesperson to shop with their customer’s wallet. In other words, because a salesperson (or esthetician) would never pay $150 for a moisturizer, she immediately assumes that the customer (or client) would not either. Don’t ever assume you know the wallet of your customer. Let the client decide what she wants to spend on what. Recommend what you think is best for her, regardless of price; this is called “presenting perfect.” What is the ideal case scenario for at-home care? Only after you have presented perfect to her is it appropriate to discuss choices and priorities based on budget.

The Knowledge of Selling

4.Product knowledge is key. Your team will not feel comfortable selling products that they are not familiar with. Make sure that your team is well educated on your retail assortment. Ideally, your therapists have a personal experience with many of the products they recommend. It is an easy and effective way to help increase retail sales.

5. If your team is feeling overwhelmed by the variety of products on your shelves, suggest they focus on one product or one product category per day / week / month. For example, do a “moisturizer Monday” theme. Or focus on exfoliating products for an entire week. This will help your retail assortment be less overwhelming. And after selling a single product for a week, your therapists will be knowledgeable about that product and ready to move on to the next one.

The Rewards for Selling

6. As a spa owner or manager, how are you incentivizing your team? Are you encouraging the behavior that you are expecting? I know of a very successful spa that builds in a minimum for retail sales in the therapists’ base. If that minimum is not met, the base pay gets decreased. And of course there is a significant upside and potential for a monthly bonus. If your therapists are not motivated by money, think about a team happy hour as a reward, or a visible “esthetician of the month” acknowledgement.

The Art of Merchandising

Finally, two inventory and merchandising recommendations: First, your team cannot sell products that are not on your shelf. Invest enough in inventory so you don’t run out of your best sellers—ever. And second, don’t underestimate the power of merchandising. What are your clients doing while waiting for their appointments? Rather than looking through old magazines, they could be walking around your retail area, opening testers to touch and feel products, and thinking about what they need, as well as gifts they might purchase. Make sure that your retail area is spotless (nothing kills a sale like dusty boxes or dirty testers) and that you have some “impulse purchase” items at checkout.

As you plan for next year, make sure that retail is part of your strategy. You will increase your revenues, and your guests’ satisfaction.

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