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An Important part of a spa pro’s job is helping clients keep up their beauty and wellness routines at home—and offering retail items is one of the most effective ways to ensure they do so. “It’s only natural that spas send guests home with the tools that will help them meet their goals,” says Lisa Starr, senior consultant at Wynne Business, a spa education and consulting firm. Your retail offerings also reinforce your brand and build customer loyalty, notes Janice Nichols, corporate operations director, spa division, for spa management company WTS International. “Satisfied clients will want to bring a piece of their experience home with them, and it will serve as a constant reminder of your spa,” she explains. Of course, retail sales can be a serious boon to your bottom line, too. According to market research group NPD, prestige beauty sales reached $18 billion in 2017 in the U.S. alone. “Consumers are buying these products from somewhere, so it might as well be from you,” notes Starr. Here’s how to make sure of it.

1) Give it Away: After a service, offer samples of the products you used, or those that you recommend the client try. “It’s all about the consult—it has to be a two-way conversation, and not a sales pitch,” says Starr. “Your goal is to give them a great treatment and also send them home with products that will help them maintain their results.” When they see how effective these items are when used over the course of several days or weeks, that will ultimately lead to the purchase of full-sized versions

2) Offer a Test-Drive: Providing samplers in the retail area will engage guests and motivate them to make a purchase. At The Flowering Almond Spa at Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tester stations are hugely popular with clients, says spa director Mechelle Smith. “There’s nothing like being able to try, feel and smell new products,” she explains. “Even guests without appointments love to visit the tester station and have enjoyed that alone as an experience.” Carefully choosing which items to display, as well as creating a festive or beautiful space—perhaps themed to reflect some of the product ingredients, be it flowers or herbs—will make the opportunity even more enticing.

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3) Set Them Free: People love discounts and bonus gifts. In one scenario, you might offer a $10 retail credit to anyone who gets a treatment lasting longer than 50 minutes, suggests Nichols, explaining that people don’t want to “leave money on the table.” WTS International also gifts a free product of the guest’s choice when they buy five full-priced items of $75 or more. “Offering a free item when they spend a certain amount on retail works as well,” notes Nichols.

4) Get With the Program: Loyalty programs help keep client purchases in the spa instead of at one of the myriad other options. For example, The Flowering Almond Spa has membership incentives that include a special discount on anything guests buy in its boutique. “Our members take advantage of this perk, and it’s another way we’re able to show them how much we value them,” says Smith. You might also award a certain number of points for purchases, or extra points on certain days or particular brands, suggests Starr. This will encourage guests to buy plenty of products with a view to earning points, which they can then redeem for a service or even more retail items.

5) Create Urgency: People tend to clamor for things that are in high demand, so posting signs letting them know certain offerings are running out or won’t last long can help entice them to buy. “Display unique seasonal items and let guests know these quantities are limited,” says Nichols. Whether that means pumpkin-packed products in fall, holiday gift sets in winter or a limited-edition beach bag loaded with summer goodies, odds are that clients will want to get them before they’re gone.

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6) Go Online: Having a website where guests can purchase products 24/7 from comfort of their own homes opens up a whole new retail revenue stream for spas. “Selling online is very important,” says Smith, who notes that The Flowering Almond Spa has a link right on its home page where clients can purchase gift certificates for retail items or spa services. “Having this option allows our guests to make a purchase when it’s convenient for them,” she says.

7) Think Outside the Box: Opening a pop-up shop in a hotel lobby, by the pool or outside large conferences is a great a y to let more people know about your retail offerings, says Nichols. “‘Sip & Shop’ events are also effective—champagne and socializing tend to loosen the guest’s grip on their credit card,” she adds. Smith wholeheartedly agrees: “We host private events where people can enjoy champagne, see product demos by our spa pros and purchase their favorites,” she says. “We offer this seasonally, and it’s especially successful around the holidays.”

–by Keith Loria

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