I love the topic of retail sales when it comes to our Professional Skin Care community. Not because my college major was Marketing, but because I recognize this area is lacking in our training. When I studied to become an Esthetician in 2006, the book didn’t have any chapters dedicated to sales, and we were released into the “real world” wide eyed and bushy tailed, totally oblivious to what could be a sizeable chunk of our earnings. Not much has changed today, and few estheticians can boast adequate sales training- we are licensed professionals, not salespeople, after all. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems of a small esthetics business, is that the business depends on the talents and expertise of just one person – the esthetician. Without the additional revenue from retail, the business becomes harder and harder to grow. A well-designed retail product display can not only bring in extra revenue, but will encourage customers to maintain the recommended skincare regimen at home, and retain customer loyalty.
Visual merchandising is a time-tested retail concept that focuses on enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a product or retail space to attract customers and increase sales. The best retail displays all have the same general characteristics in mind – they are well-lit, organized and sequenced, and well-stocked. Creative displays feature odd, cool elements, without feeling too stuffy, overwhelming, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, empty. Music plays an important role in a spa’s retail space environment – relaxing tunes encourage your clients to leisurely browse.
Every inch of your retail space costs you money. However, there are many areas in your spa retail area that have the potential to make you money. Understanding how much product comes along with its value, cost, and how it’s displayed is key in determining your merchandising margins. The star products that make you the most money should be displayed front-and-center, and take up prime real estate on your shelves. This means eye-level, close to the reception desk, by the check-out counter. These products should have testers/samples to allow customers to experience their fragrance and feel.
The Rule of Three
The Rule of Three is an important concept in visual merchandising, because it explains the best way to display products to avoid confusing the customer, and increasing the likelihood of making a sale by creating asymmetry. For example, instead of retailing 6 product lines to choose from, stick to 3 brands – this will make the choice easier for your clients. Another reason the rule of three is so important? You want to have plentiful displays that convey fully stocked inventory. When a customer sees one or two of a kind on the shelf, she may feel they are old, left-over inventory and be hesitant to buy. Having 3 or more of a given SKU on the shelf ensures customers see that you are well-stocked, and won’t hesitate to make a purchase. Also, you’re more likely to capture a customer’s gaze with imbalance – any odd number of products works. When you group products in threes like this, you can position cross-sells and up-sells next to the original product, either leading to a more profitable singular sale or more net sales if customers buy more than one product.
Giving Your Retail Space a Face-Lift
While some spas will update their retail displays as often as once a month, there are a few signs that it’s time for a change, even if you are unable to move things around that often. The obvious time to switch up your retail shelving and displays is when you get some new products that need to be front-and-center in your visual merchandising. If the new merchandising doesn’t fit the current space, it would mean an entirely new display to best represent the new items. When you don’t have enough space, displays start to look messy instead of inviting.
While all businesses would love for their display cases to last forever, sometimes they either fall victim to normal wear and tear or simply go out of style. When that time comes, ordering some new display cases and switching up the visual merchandising of a store can be an obvious next step. If your fixtures are starting to look tattered, it’s time for a change. Old displays are a turn-off even if the products on the shelves are brand new. If your current display cases are timeless and well-built, maybe all they need is some rearranging – and a coat of fresh paint. Refreshing the retail space doesn’t have to be costly – you can easily purchase inexpensive glass tower showcases from IKEA, for under $200.