Spa RETAIL: Handy Retailing Guide for the Holidays

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Just when the general public was starting to see spas as filling a need beyond simple pampering, the Great Recession stormed in, curbing visiting frequency and leaving potential newcomers reluctant to part with precious discretionary income. The day spas that survived and thrived despite this blow were those that scrambled to make up for lost service dollars by sharpening their selling prowess, mimicking big-box retailers’ tactics and finding creative ways to accommodate an increasingly plugged-in and time-starved generation of shoppers.

The paradigm shift to retailing is perhaps what ultimately saved our industry, despite the fact that spa professionals are, by and large, nurturing by nature, and wary of coming across as aggressive or pushy. Fortunately, in compiling this reference guide, for which DAYSPA consulted with retail experts, spa consultants and successful spa owners (see Our Panel, below), we found that much of retail savvy lies in channeling that same creative, nurturing energy used to engage clients with a peaceful sanctuary and superb treatment. Evidently, it’s not necessarily the “bulldogs” who achieve record retail-to-service profits ratios, but rather the planners, who think outside the box to devise tantalizing promotions, and approach each client with the caring attention that sends the message, “We want to take care of you and your loved ones, here and at home. Let us help you out.”

It’s also the thinkers who can put themselves into each unique client’s shoes, and ask themselves: What is her five-second impression of my upfront retail area? Does it invite her to linger and shop? Can she clearly read labels and see sections? Is my entire staff able to communicate to her the vast importance of home care? What are the points of difference between my spa’s offerings and her other choices?

Read on to uncover foolproof display strategies, sales-training pointers, sampling wisdom, inventory management how-tos and online selling techniques, and discover the amazing things you can do to maximize your gift card operation. Here’s to this upcoming holiday season’s many gifts; may they include a truly engaged staff, and repeat clients who appreciate your spa’s guidance and take-home goodies!

Our Panel:

Stacy Cox, owner of Pampered People in Los Angeles
Mark Deans, CEO of Deserving Thyme and Deserving Thyme Lifespa in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Eva and Scott Kerschbaumer, co-CEOs of EsSpa Kozmetika Skincare & Spa with multiple locations in Pennsylvania
Carol Phillips, founder of BeauteeSmarts
Bruce Schoenberg, president of Oasis Day Spas in New York City and Westchester County, New York
Dori Soukup, CEO of InSPAration Management
Lisa Starr, senior East Coast consultant for Wynne Business
Keith West-Harrison, CEO of Spa Enrichment Strategies and co-owner of Great Face & Body Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico