Thursday, 25 February 2016 12:09

The Feel-Good Factor Increasing retail sales through the client experience

Written by   Christine Pemberton

When it comes to increasing retail sales in the spa, it is vital for skin care professionals to create a positive customer experience. Creating a delightful experience for the client begins with the manufacturer or distributor, as they are key to increasing retail sales. The distributor must provide topical and educational content in an attractive format and the spa must deliver that content in a format that entertains and educates the consumer.

Put simply, increasing retail sales comes down to client satisfaction, or making a client look good and feel good. Feeling good is essential because it supports mental well-being. Clients who feel good after a visit or after using a purchased product come back; that is the ultimate goal.

Creating a Feel-GoodExperience
Society is surrounded by scientific skin care, medical procedures, and devices. These new, advanced formulations and wide range of products are designed to satisfy the needs of the client. As a spa owner, taking on a new line can be risky and costly because inventory, product merchandising, and education of staff must be invested in. For the client, there is both an expense associated with taking on a new product and a perceived risk. How does the spa owner launch a new product or re-launch an existing product and get the client's attention? How do they create that feel-good experience?headtowel
The first key to the feel-good experience begins in the spa. If the professional uses the products they are promoting at retail on their back bar, they are giving the client the opportunity to take home the spa experience. This is one of the keys to increased retail sales and profit. While this is not the only key, it is a great start. Try to understand the client's experience by thinking through scenarios. Everyone is a consumer; forget being a business owner. When people look in the mirror in the morning, or later in the day, they notice who they are, what they look like, and then how they feel. Sometimes these observations are intertwined and other times they may not be linked. People may see wrinkles, uneven eyebrows, thinner hair, or sagging skin. Sometimes they may see vibrant, radiant skin. Most likely, they always see something that, in their mind, requires improvement, something they do not like, or something they want to consider improving. The decision may be made to go to a spa or they may choose to try and fix it within their daily routine. Most often, it is a combination of the two. People usually look for something very simple that improves the mood. Often it is a very simple technique, cream, or service that will improve the spirit and how people feel about themselves.
It could be a cream that makes the skin feel softer, more radiant, more hydrated, and minimizes signs of aging. It could also be plucking a few stray eyebrow hairs that make the eyes look brighter and improve the inner feelings or even a bright polish, with or without nail art, that brightens the vibe and allows people to express themselves differently. Any or all can add to a person's outlook or uplift the look.

withcustomerAs a spa owner, there is an inherent responsibility to offer the best products and services to assist a person in addressing their concerns. Good service, outstanding products, and happy clients lead to repeat business, recommendations, and retail sales opportunity, so they can experience the same feeling when they go home. The main reason people visit the spa is to feel better about themselves. Feeling better, feeling good, and raising confidence is fundamental to mental well-being. Mental well-being extends into and affects physical well-being and is an extremely important factor in wellness. It is one of the seven facets of wellness.

Often, if not daily, people get consumed by trying to understand science and organic, natural, and effective, treatment protocols and regimens. Professionals often question what the best solution is for their client. While that conflict is going on, they are also serving clients, managing staff, and running the business. How do they select a product line and model their business to create the client's feel-good experience while also increasing retail sales and return visits?

Truly being with the client and dedicating the treatment time to them to make them feel better, address their fundamental needs, and send them on their way feeling better and happier is the most important task and responsibility. This is not the final step, however; providing them with the product so they can feel that every day and scheduling an appointment with them to continue that regimen is an important follow-up step. Creating a goal, and setting expectations of where they are going within their wellness journey is also part of the process.

facepaintingThe wellness journey can and should include simple solutions that address the fundamental denominator of feeling good and progressing. Forget for a moment about scientific skin care and daily protocols – it can take one cream or serum to make their skin feel outstanding. The result or claim may be younger skin and the elimination of crow's feet and expression lines, which does take time and dedication. In that moment, however, after the cream is placed on their skin, the feeling of hydrated, radiant skin makes them feel fantastic. This moment is essential to the client and provides them with something that is extremely important: the feel-good factor. The opportunity should be presented to them to purchase that product and be educated on its use and how it will help them daily to reach their goal. Skin care professionals should ask themselves how often during a facial they are speaking to the client about their goals and how often they suggest, advise, and recommend simple steps the client can take to feel better and look better. How often is the professional speaking to the client before a facial and setting time after the treatment to advise, answer questions, and make recommendations? This kind of communication builds trust. Trust is what brings clients back to the professional's spa and not to the competition down the street.

Wellness Facilities
Take a look at the simple pleasures that are often over looked as spas strive to be a wellness facility, a best in class wellness spa, or a retreat. For the client who juggles daily meetings, agenda items, home responsibilities, family, and deadlines, both personal and business, their nails look awful and they feel tired. Their simple solution is to visit the nail salon, spa, or local wellness facility and get a manicure.

The smart, knowledgeable, and highly-educated service provider knows that the client wants a manicure. However, it is important to dig deeper. They most likely want a manicureto feel better, improve the look of their hands and feet, and combat the dryness. While great nails are uplifting, it is even better if the manicure lasts longer than a few days, is complemented with funky, fashionable, and highly-desirable nail art, and is delivered with service that is different and offers more. These upgrades can include lavender essential oil in the water, soothing sea salts, a foot massage, and high-intensity and long-lasting color that is new and not at the bottom of the bottle. The service can even finish with some suggestions that are fashionable, favorable, and trending in the market.

quoteBuilding a StrongRetail Presence
When building a strong retail presence, professionals should offer the client what they are looking for with simple solutions that do not cost anything more than time, attention, and easy-to-implement differences. Ask the client about their issues, how they are feeling, and what they are looking for, as well as what they want. Based on their responses, make suggestions and provide information on product and treatment options. When the service is complete, or even during the treatment, inform the client about the care they are receiving. Also try to offer products according to lifestyle, budget, need, and something they can take home and improve how they feel.

Retail what was used during the treatment, recommending and suggesting one product to try. Recommend further products depending on the progress at the next treatment. Also try to retail the trends and key products that provide instant gratification. Know the clients and the client base and offer the products that they are seeking; establish a goal for future clients and provide those offerings as well. Be unique, offer solutions, and always set a follow-up appointment and point of purchase items that will make them feel good and help serve their needs until the next time they come into the spa. Build client loyalty by getting to know the clients and cross over to retail by sharing a product, as opposed to viewing it as selling the product.
Research the hottest-selling trends, such as nail art; nail stamping; decals and art; and intense stamping polishes. Serums that instantly make the skin feel good and essential oils that can be sold and used in a foot bath. Explore waxing options that are high quality and heat at a lower temperature for a more comfortable feel, bath bombs, skin butters, and coconut oil candles as they increase mood and the sensory experience. All these items can be retailed and can be initiated at the time of service. Exposing the client's senses to these and other items elevates the experience and helps increase retail sales.

fusciaflowersRetailing also needs to involve presence, such as appreciation events for existing clients with an invitation to bring a friend. Monthly workshops with an opportunity to purchase are always welcome events for the clients. Reach out to vendors for support and build a social media following to raise awareness and increase reach and demand for the offerings. With the knowledge that monthly events and off-the-shelf programs will assist in gaining more retail sales, choose a supplier or distributor that will help in the efforts. This assistance, not always the products that have the most marketing presence or well-known name, is key. More often than not, the better products are the ones that you have to be sought out, as opposed to those with high marketing dollars behind them and fillers on a retail shelf.
As a professional in the industry, offering well-being services should not be about the brand but rather about what is in the bottle and the impact the use of the product has on the client's attitude; feeling of well-being and happiness; the feel-good factor; and both immediate and long-term results. Everyone is busy and self-care is one of the primary reasons time is taken to visit a spa or wellness location. The simple touches and the retailing of items to lengthen that experience builds loyalty, repeat business, and increased sales.

During a treatment, the quiet one-on-one time that the professional has with the client is important for getting to know them and asking or suggesting products that would work with both their lifestyle and skin and improve their personal care. By offering solutions, tips, and advice, they will come to appreciate both the service and the information being provided.

By promoting and retailing a product, it also makes their life easier because they do not have to go out elsewhere to purchase products and are buying from a person they trust to service their needs. With one less stop, life is made that much simpler.

The retail aspect is fundamental to the success of the personal care service industry and offers both additional revenue streams and repeat clients. Loyalty is developed and, through referrals from outstanding service by knowledgeable team members, the goal for success can be achieved.

ChristineChristine Pemberton has over 23 years of experience in entrepreneurial ventures, as well as traditional corporate responsibilities within the health and wellness industry. She is currently International Sales Director for Skin 2 Skin™ Care and founder of Maia International Inc., a consulting company that assists companies/spas and medical spas in business development, sales, marketing, branding, market presence, public relations, Go-to-Market strategies, tactical planning, regulatory and brand positioning. Maia International also governs over distribution and agency roles to assist in global distribution, multi-channel messaging and presence.



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