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Spa MANAGEMENT: Holiday-ify Your Spa Retail Boutique
Explore these quick ways to create a bottom-line boosting winter wonderland in your spa.
The time is nigh to deck your spa’s shelves! DAYSPA’s comprehensive Retail Guide, featured in the October issue, contains a bevy of strategies to help boost your spa’s retail sales. In this web-exclusive piece, we’ve taken things a few steps further by whipping out experts' specific, holly-jolly tricks to perk up shoppers this holiday season! Here are some quick tips for attracting buyers in droves, decorating your oasis and coaxing the best holiday deals from your vendors:
If you haven’t started thinking about the winter holidays yet, what are you waiting for? “We plan for the holidays year round,” says Bruce Schoenberg, owner and president of Oasis Day Spas’ multiple locations in New York. “We order holiday-appropriate retail products throughout the year, aiming to be done with all planning by mid-October. Promotional emails go out the second week of November, and decorations go up the night before Thanksgiving.”
Kick off the shopping season with an email blast alerting clients to upcoming holiday specials, events, and gift certificate availability. And since most shoppers shop from a list of people rather than items, try making their lives easier by enlisting gift suggestions for everyone on their list (moms, dads, brothers, sisters, co-workers, best friends, etc.).
Trying to decide whether or not to decorate? Most spa experts agree that it would be foolish not to deck your spa’s halls at least a little bit. “Can you imagine going to the mall during the holidays and not seeing any decorations? No way,” says Dori Soukup, founder and CEO of InSPAration Management in Daytona Beach, Florida. “Decorating puts clients in the mood to purchase gifts and gift cards. I even encourage spa staffers to wear red T-shirts or scarves.”
Use your window displays to draw customers in via festive lights and eye-catching spa wares sheathed in holiday packaging. Inside, set the mood with decorations that appeal to your largest demographic. Think understated elegance such as gold and silver evergreen boughs if you primarily serve mature guests, for instance, and brightly colored, campy decor to bring cheer to younger spa-goers in urban areas. Be mindful of your guests’ religious affiliations as well—you of course wouldn’t want to alienate non-Christians by only showcasing trees and angels.
And of course, showcase enticing holiday retail selections! “Create a few baskets that are over the top with at least 20 products in them,” suggests Schoenberg. “Have as much inventory out for impulse buying as you can.” People are harried around the holidays, so offering last-minute shoppers grab-and-go options will increase the chance for purchase.
While large window decorations draw the most attention, Scott Kerschbaumer, co-CEO of EsSpa Kozmetica Organic Skincare, with multiple locations in Pennsylvania, says that it’s often the smallest details that leave the biggest impression. “My wife and co-CEO Eva goes out of her way to decorate with small touches in treatment rooms and bathrooms,” says Kerschbaumer. “Even if only one person notices a little cherub, they often point out these touches to other clients, or tell us we’ve made them nostalgic.”
Nothing says "perfect present" like luxe spa goodies packaged festively. But remember that you don’t have to rely on vendors to provide enticing retail holiday packaging. “You can negotiate to receive free, seasonally themed packaging based on how much your spa purchases per year, but even if vendors don’t provide special packaging, you should create your own and be creative with gift offers,” says Soukup. “Entice guests to say 'yes!'”
Don’t be shy about asking for help in creating the perfect holiday package. “Vendors will usually cut you a deal if you tell them you’re trying to create something special, like a gift basket,” says Kerschbaumer. “Then, if they don’t provide holiday packaging, just wrap the products in festive cellophane.”
The holidays are a great time to ask for product discounts as well, according to Schoenberg. “Vendors want to move a lot of product at the end of the year,” he explains. “This is also the perfect time of year to negotiate new terms."
Keep in mind one of the easiest ways to increase sales around the holidays—the addition of a gift certificates with special gift purchases. Who wouldn’t appreciate a trip to the spa after experiencing the products?
Creative expression lies around every corner throughout the holiday season, so don’t miss any opportunity to collect ideas for use in your retail area next year. While out shopping, pay attention to store display windows and retail areas. What attracts you? What inspired you to make a purchase? Keep a log and use some of these same tactics in your holiday marketing for 2013. “We look to other retailers for ideas and file them away,” says Schoenberg. “Every January we take inventory of how things went for us, and what we could have done better.”
Liz Barrett is an Oxford, MS-based writer and editor.
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Related: Handy Retailing Guide for the Holidays | DAYSPA's Expanded 2012 Holiday Retail Gift Guide—Part 1 | Boost Your Massage Therapists' Productivity | Manage Your Online Reviews | Social Deal Participation: Point and Counterpoint | Mobile Spa Management