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  • Holiday Retail Strategies to Boost Your Bottom Line, With the Numbers to Prove It!

    Dermalogica Skin Therapist Retail Products

    As the holiday season approaches it is an exciting time as spa and salon owners know they will see a peak in retail, service and gift cards sales. It is also the time of year where there is an overwhelming amount of competition, with many customers simply looking for the best deals.

    The latest retail holiday sales forecast is projecting as much as $965 billion in sales between November and January, a 4% increase over last year’s shopping season, pointing to a successful holiday season ahead [1]. Keeping in mind the importance of exceptional customer service, lock in those holiday sales and keep your clients returning to you with the following tips.

    • This is the time of year it’s best to offer a promotion such as gifts with purchases. For example, try offering a gift of the customer’s choice with any gift card purchase of a certain amount. Customers will be more willing to buy if there is an incentive for them in return. Fifty percent of consumers indicated that they plan on buying gifts for themselves while shopping for others this holiday season [2].

    • Train your staff to ask every client if they need any gift cards or retail purchases that might be suitable for their friends and family. Remember that every gift card sold is a potential new client. This is the time to lock in new clients as 46% plan to give gift cards this season and a whopping 58% of recipients plan to redeem gift cards within a month of receiving the gift [2].

    • Offer complimentary gift wrapping during the holidays and display examples of gift wrapping options, including gift cards. Custom gift baskets are another great option for clients by allowing them to customize a gift for minimal or no extra cost. Offering unique and custom gift options will help separate you from the competition. Customers look for special gifts with 42% planning to shop at local independent stores rather than malls [2]. The holidays can be stressful and little perks can make all the difference in a sale!

    Merchandise to encourage upselling opportunities while keeping displays clean and cohesive; focusing on what will help entice and intrigue the customer rather than an abundance holiday decor. Stock up on holiday kits and take advantage of deals vendors are offering. Promote seasonal kits and specials on a focal table that can’t be missed and keep small items near your cash wrap as “impulse buys”, which can make great stocking stuffers. Make sure to also offer a selection of service packages such as a bundled package in which clients can receive larger discounts the more services they purchase.

    Host a holiday themed event with special perks for your customers. This is a great time of year to partner with other local businesses and attract new clients! Offer a discount or credit towards products or services with the purchase of a gift card or holiday set. Each business can offer a bounce back to each other and by joining forces can reach more customers through social media outlets. Consumers are open to change, often looking for new stores and brands to make holiday their purchases, with 41% making purchases from a new retailer in 2014 [3].

    Remember that the holiday season can also help set you up for success in the New Year by taking advantage of the increased traffic. Don’t forget to capture all client information during this time of year, especially emails, getting permission to send your clients special offers and updates!

  • The Genius of Local

    annet croppedThere’s a popular saying that raising a child, “Takes a village,” but that same phrase can also provide a smart template for shaping a business. That is not to say that it takes a village to run a salon or spa, though sometimes I’m sure it feels that way. Creating deep ties within a local community—or village—is the best way to set your spa up for success.

    Channel Your Roots

    As a small business owner or professional skin therapist, you might compete against bigger chain establishments or online “flash” sales from local competitors. These competitors might have muscle in the marketplace, but they cannot offer your personal touch or the knowledge and relationships you have cultivated over the years.

    Consider this: when the dust cleared after the recession, it was the neighborhood spa who knew every client’s name that remained standing. It wasn’t the multi-door medi-spa with the laser hair removal specials and fancy ad campaigns. Humans are social creatures by nature. Connecting with your community should be a key approach in building your business.

    People want local, personal flavor, especially if they need to commute a distance for work every day. Focus your marketing campaigns to a 3-5 mile radius to resonate with this “locavore” mentality.

    Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury, EnglandSupport Your Neighbors

    People want to feel connected, and consumers respond with loyalty to merchants and vendors who care about what is happening in the community.

    Smart businesses are attuned to this. Catch that wave and be part of it! Get to know, and be supportive to your business neighbors, even if you don’t share the same key target market. Owners, their employees and families are all potential clients for you.

    Support each other’s social media pages—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Not only will your following grow, but you will be building relationships and be more tuned in with the local conversation.

    Join your neighbors and welcome in wanderers by opening your doors late on the “first Friday” of each month. Hold joint events with the yoga studio up the road and feature fresh-pressed juices from the spot next door.

    Tie in to Local Services

    Network via merchants associations and the Chamber of Commerce, and tie your philanthropy into the local services versus branches of huge national companies. Show your support by involving your business in ways that benefit local schools, libraries, women’s shelters, public works and utilities, fire and police departments, animal shelters and more. These organizations are the heartbeat of any local village.

    I live in sprawling Los Angeles, the city that was built on the single-occupancy automobile and the freeway. Personally, I try really hard to always use local service providers like my veterinarian, dry cleaner, hairstylist and electrician. I try not to shop or eat outside of my community, especially on weekends.

    This way, I can ride my bicycle, be more eco-friendly, and also do my part to support small business—after all, selfishly, I don’t want them to go away!

    Share Your Appreciation

    Don’t shy away from telling your clients how much you appreciate them and how much you need their support. Emphasize that you need them to buy their products from you directly, versus going online to a faceless source. People will be happy to support you!

    Proof of this in Los Angeles, New York, and probably your town, is the anti-Walmart proliferation of farmer’s markets for regionally grown edibles, indie coffee shops, or open air stalls offering assorted local wares.

    To quote another popular phrase, “No man is an island!” Make a concentrated effort to become embedded in the fabric of your community, and the locals will thank you.

    This article was originally published in Skin Inc. Magazine

  • Shining the Light on LED

    Derm_Headshot28775BB-e1422475470394-150x150For some, using Light Emitting Diodes (LED) to treat certain skin issues like acne and aging may sound too good to be true. How is it that shining a light on your client’s face will clear up those pesky breakouts and plump up their skin? Well, the science is in the stars. About 40 years ago, scientists at NASA discovered through plant growth experiments that light therapy was a beneficial way to repair damaged cells and speed up the healing process.

    Through the years the basis for this technology has been accepted as a non-invasive popular application to treat a variety of common skin conditions. LED photomodulation works similar to the way photosynthesis works in plants as it triggers the body to convert the light energy into cell energy. The light encourages natural cellular activity and “re-energizes” the cells in the skin.

    While the visible spectrum of light can be represented in many LED devices, we are focusing on the most researched and effective light waves: Red and Blue.

    Red LEDRed for Wrinkles

    Red light therapy, is a technology that uses visible red light wavelengths from 630-660 nanometers and infrared light wavelengths at around 880nm to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin. Red and Infrared light increases energy inside cells and jump-starts the production of collagen and elastin to help make skin firm and supple. Because the layers of the skin have a high content of blood and water, it makes it easy for the skin to absorb light. Most researchers agree that light therapy increases production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)—the energy or battery life of cells—and it may also work by targeting water layers on elastin, gradually restoring its elastic function reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles. In addition, Red Infrared light therapy also assists with blood circulation, which effectively transports oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Along with fighting wrinkles, red light therapy has been used in skin healing for rosacea and even eczema.

    Blue LEDBlue for Blemishes

    Blue light has a wavelength of 400–490 nm and has special effects on the skin especially when it comes to treating acne. When blue light reaches the sebaceous glands in the skin, it can help excite porphyrins, which are compounds inside acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes). When porphyrins are activated, they release reactive oxygen molecules that damage the bacteria internally, basically killing the bacteria from the inside out. Since red light helps accelerate wound repair, it’s often used in combination with blue light to treat acne, encourage healing, and lessen acne scarring and under the skin lesions.

    These two light wavelengths can effectively and gently make significant changes in the skin at a deep level by repairing cells, stimulating collagen and elastin and helping to treat acne. By incorporating these light therapies you can add another level of expertise to your skin treatments and energize your services.

    Keep in mind before shining that light—manufacturers of LED devices must gain FDA clearance in order to make certain claims about their devices. It’s always good to check on the company’s status and proven results before purchasing so you can ensure your client’s treatment is on track for optimal skin health.

    To see LED in action, watch the IDI webisode Using Machines to Power up Your Treatments-Part 2.