The topic of retail sales when it comes to theprofessional skin care community is lacking in training. When studying to become an aesthetician, the books do not have any chapters dedicated to sales, and students are released into the real world wide eyed, bushy tailed, and totally oblivious to what could be a sizeable chunk of earnings. Few aestheticians can boast adequate sales training – they are licensed professionals, not salespeople after all. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems of a small aesthetics business is that business depends on the talents and expertise of just one person – the aesthetician. 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 clients to maintain the recommended skincare regimen at home and retain client 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 displayshave all 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 clients to leisurely browse.
Every inch of retail space cost money. However, there are many areas in the spa retail area that have the potential to makemoney. Understanding how much product comes along with its value, cost, and how it is displayed is key in determining merchandising margins. The star products that make the spa the most money should be displayed front-and-center and take up prime real estate on the shelves. This means eye-level, close to the reception desk, and by the check-out counter. These products should have testers or samples to allow clients 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 client and increasing the likelihood of making a sale by creating asymmetry. For example, instead of retailing six product lines to choose from, stick to three brands – this will make the choice easier for clients. Another reason the rule of three is so important is because the spa wants to have plentiful displays that convey fully stocked inventory. When a client sees one or two of a kind on the shelf, they may feel they are old, left-over inventory and be hesitant to buy. Having three or more of a given SKU on the shelf ensures clients see that the spa is well-stocked and will not hesitate to make a purchase. Also, the skin care professional is more likely to capture a client’s gaze with imbalance – any odd number of products works. When grouping products in threes, a skin care professional 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 clients buy more than one product.
GIVING THE RETAIL SPACE A FACELIFT
While some spas will update their retail displays as often as once a month, there are a few signs that it is time for a change, even if you are unable to move things around that often. The obvious time to switch up retail shelving and displays is when new products arrive that need to be front-and-center in the visual merchandising. If the new merchandising does not fit the current space, it would need an entirely new display to best represent the new items. When a spa does not 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 the fixtures are starting to look tattered, it is time for a change. Old displays are a turn-off even if the products on the shelves are brand new. If the current display cases are timeless and well-built, maybe all they need is some rearranging and a coat of fresh paint.
Retail sales have long been a part of the spa’s bottomline. However, now more than ever, product sales have become the bread and butter keeping many spas afloat during the pandemic. Take the time to rearrange product displays – a little goes a long way.
Dasha Saian Marchese is the co-founder and current CEO of Saian and has over 21 years of experience in the spa industry. In addition to her business and marketing degree, she is a licensed aesthetician, certified nutrition and wellness consultant, official ambassador of the Aesthetics International Association (AIA), and certified family herbalist. Marchese is on the Editorial Advisory Board of DERMASCOPE Magazine; she gives lectures and classes internationally and regularly contributes to global trade publications.