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  • Plan a Spa Party with Pennies

    The retail landscape has changed over the years, with e-commerce becoming the number one shopping venue. Retailers need to evolve their strategies to entice shoppers to visit our businesses to purchase rather than in the comfort of their own home.

    Physical stores are still most customers’ preferred shopping method, as online shopping cannot replace the personal experience stores allow. While in store, clients can touch, feel, smell and test products, immersing themselves in a multi-sensory experience while receiving live expert advice. Fortunately, this cannot be accomplished while shopping from your couch. Nowadays, the fastest, most cost-effective way to elevate the in-store experience and attract new clients is by hosting in-store events.

    Provide an Educational Experience

    Your event shouldn’t just be about selling products, but rather to provide a unique experience that differentiates your store from the rest. Offer education and encourage client and professional skin therapist interaction by offering complimentary one-on-one skin care analysis. Your team of professional skin therapists will then have the opportunity to explain the benefits of your products and how they will target specific conditions for client results. Clients can play with their recommended products, ask application questions and receive professional tips from you to help maximize their results.

    Offer mini-treatments to allow guests to sample your services when maybe they wouldn’t otherwise. The therapist can discuss products throughout the entire treatment, explaining what they are using and encouraging home care, as well as solidify a future treatment booking.

    These interactions will provide your guests with professional advice and are the key to stimulating an emotional connection between the client, your team and the product. Clients who are educated and are able to try recommended products are more likely to purchase. In fact, an average retail transaction post service is 40% higher than a retail transaction without a service.

    Partner Up

    Chances are businesses in your local community wouldn’t mind driving business into their stores with some free advertising. Network with like-minded retailer neighboring businesses with a goody bag of samples and your business card. Tell them about your event, and encourage them to partner.

    Partner businesses could include: blow dry bars, fitness studios (yoga, Pilates, spin), clothing boutiques, bakeries, waxing salons, health food stores, massage studios and active wear boutiques. Local businesses can participate by donating bounce backs, or products to be included in your event gift bag or an item to raffle. Many restaurants are willing to provide food or beverages to be served during the event as a way to promote their business.

    Let them know you will include their logo on your invites and tag them on social media. Include a charity you feel passionate about and plan to pledge a percentage of your event’s revenue.

    Motivate your Team

    Hold team meetings to get everyone excited and communicate the in-store event details and retail and service booking goals. Assign the team with event tasks such as: door greeter, cash wrap, treatment services, gift bags, bartender, etc. Launch a contest for the team member with the highest sales of the event or most treatments booked.

    Create Buzz

    Get creative when designing invites. Be sure to include your partner’s logos and all that will be offered. Use words like “complimentary treatments,” “gifts with purchase,” and “door prizes and giveaways.” Charge a small ticket fee redeemable for product purchases to encourage product sales during your event. Events that require ticket purchase and RSVPs have a 60% higher show rate than events with no ticket charge or RSVP requirement. A small ticket charge redeemable for product purchases motivates clients to show up and redeem their retail credit which leads to 95% of attendees purchasing product. Utilize event hosting sites like Eventbrite, which manages RSVPs, payment and the guest list.

    Promote Your Event

    Social media is the most effective way to promote your event at no cost. Create buzz and increase ticket sales with a simple social media strategy. Come up with an event tag line that’s short and catchy, put a hashtag in front of it and use this on all social media channels leading up to your event. Add it to your event invite, signage and use it anytime you are promoting your event. Encourage your partners do to the same. This will expand your reach, create excitement and increase ticket sales.

    Set-up for Success

    Set-up and presentation is a vital part of holding a successful event. You may need to rearrange your store to fit all of your guests and allow for maximum service and retailing capacity. Set up a check-in area outside displaying an easel or step and repeat at your entrance. It is important that clients and passers-by know there is a special event happening.

    Gather your partners’ raffle items and a complimentary treatment gift card from your store and set them up by your entrance. Don’t forget entry cards, pens and a bowl or box of entry cards at this station. The purpose of this is to ensure you capture the email addresses of new customers and existing customers who attend the event. Pick raffle winners multiple times throughout the event to keep the excitement and energy high. This will ensure guests will stick around longer in hopes that they are one of the winners. Clearly display promotional items on a focal table to allure attendees to shop.

    Set up a food, drink and gift bag station. Pump up the music to create fun atmosphere and greet attendees with champagne. Take pictures of the event and post to social media, tagging your partners and attendees and utilizing your hashtag. Encourage attendees to do the same by rewarding the best photo using your hashtag with a prize.

    Follow-up

    Your event was a success. You made some new client connections and achieved your retail target. Events should do so much more than generate revenue; they should leave a lasting impression. Most importantly, they should connect with clients emotionally. This connection alone gives customers a reason to return. Solidify those new relationships and follow up. This is the most important part of holding a successful event. Send a handwritten thank you card to each attendee and include a bounce back to encourage them to return. This personal touch will stand out in their mind, and they will be more likely to become a repeat client. Share event pictures and videos of favorite moments across social media from your event, using your hashtag. Post onto your website to promote, build excitement and encourage guests to attend future events.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • SKINtuition: 8 Fast and Slow Retail Strategies

    Dermalogica retail shopper

    As spa owners or managers, we need to make retail a focus instead of an afterthought, and our approach to retail and service should be both fast and slow. Sounds confusing? Let me explain.

    First, some good news. Although the idea of omni-retail (or multichannel retailing) might be overwhelming for small business owners, the good news is people are buying plenty of products. According to the NPD group, $16 billion was spent in 2015 by U.S consumers on prestige skin and beauty products and a staggering $21.7 billion in the mass channel. That’s a lot of lotion and lipstick. So, how can we make some better retail gains in the professional industry?

    When shoppers leisurely hanging out and enjoy themselves with in-store services, storytelling with less inventory, having customers take a seat to try products or even having a library or art installation, sales can increase by as much as 40%. Customers not only leave with three products on average, but a future service booking with a skin therapist and a much stronger understanding of their skin needs.

    So what more can you do to secure your sales? What best practices should you be replicating in your retail area? Here are eight fast and slow ideas to get your slice of that $16-billion-dollar pie.

    1. Add Experiences

    Investigate new ways to “power-up” the client experience through complimentary face mappings, self-serving or guided product bars, and in-store skin lesson mini events.

    2. Create Mini Services

    During quieter times, offer “on-demand” 10-minute services that don’t require a booking and are complimentary when a number of products or a core service is purchased.

    3. Remove Clutter

    Remove clutter and any inventory that either muddles your message, you don’t wholeheartedly believe in or can’t adequately differentiate from other product offerings.

    4. Design a story

    Have a weekly “story” in your retail area with curated product picks on your feature table that tell the backstory. Clients or customers should see something unique or different every visit. Use great visuals to spark inspiration.

    5. Amplify your theme

    Feature one-time-only treatments that tie into new product launches to amplify the central theme or story.

    6. Personalized marketing

    Personal­ization reigns. Make sure your outreach and promotions are customized as are your recommendations—not just to your customer’s exact skin needs but their desires, habits, lifestyle and preferences. Banish cookie cutter everything and replace with custom-made designed.

    7. Be real

    Whenever you speak, tell the real stories behind the product without needless fluff.

    8. Don’t forget about neighbors

    Focus on your neighbors and local community—how can you come together and support each other and the community as a whole?

    Remember, that you must convert your service clients to retail clients. If you are not, then you are not only doing them a disservice, but someone else who’s less qualified than you is wiping the pie crumbs away after eating your slice.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • #TopicsonTrend with Annet King

    annet croppedKeep an ear to the ground with an eye toward the future—that’s my motto. We live in a world in constant motion; goods, capital and labor are traveling globally at a faster pace than ever and moving in novel patterns. Not to mention that pop culture and consumer trends are quite fascinating to me. So I took the liberty of researching trends like multi-masquingmanscaping, cannabusiness, sound therapy, fast shopping vs. slow shopping, even 3D bioprinting of skin (I can go all day with this!) to understand how they can affect the future of our business.

    In order to successfully navigate the ever-changing world of consumer perceptions, it helps to understand the landscape. If you don’t know where you stand, it’s difficult to get to where you want to be. Technology has rapidly changed how we behave, shop and interact FOREVER yet many skin centers, salons and spas continue to operate in the same manner.

    To stay relevant, profitable and successful we have to continuously adapt our business around the needs, wants and desires of the consumer. We need to think differently and act fast to seize every opportunity to attract new clients, increase services, boost retail revenues and secure loyalty. It’s time to open your eyes, act fast and make sure you don’t get left behind!

    Get started by watching my webinar #TopicsonTrend, courtesy of American Spa, to discover the most important trends that impact our industry and what you can do to ensure your business stays relevant.

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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!

  • Is your Business Ready for Mother’s Day?

    Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the importance of the mothers in our lives. It is also an occasion to give thanks to them for being a constant guiding force in our lives and for the support they have shown in helping us achieve our dreams and goals. Not only is this a special day to celebrate anyone who has been a mother to you, but it is also an opportunity to promote your business and to connect with your clients and potential consumers.

    Remember to organize ahead of time with a marketing calendar so you can optimize the opportunities that special events, like Mother’s Day, can bring to your business.

    Many people are unsure what to get their mum’s for the holiday, so why not take away the confusion and make it easy? Bouquets of flowers are a traditional Mother’s Day gift, but bouquets can come in many shapes and sizes. Think of your own products or services as bundles that you can then translate into great Mother’s Day packages of your own.

    Target your existing data base and send out an e-blast and/or text to your clients, as many of them will be looking for ideas. Prepackage gift baskets for Mother’s Day with themed items such as hydrating, anti-aging, reducing stress etc. Remember men purchase a significant portion of Mother’s Day gifts overall, so make it clear to them the gift options they have. This might mean partnering with businesses that have a significant number of male patrons for cross marketing.

    Use social media to connect with your customers as many people will be searching online for ideas. You could engage them with a competition for the best story on how their mother has inspired them, and the gift could be a treatment or product for their mum. A different social media channel to promote is Pinterest (instead of just Twitter or Facebook), as a lot of mums use this site to save their ideas for food, kids, the home and much more. You could also create a “Mother’s Day wish list” of gift ideas to post on your blog, website, or email newsletter.

    Don’t forget to also take the opportunity to bring them back to your business once they have purchased their gift. Ideally, a Mother’s Day gift won’t just represent the sale of products for your business one time, but rather it will result in a new customer coming back to your business. Include a bounce back offer, bag stuffer or special offer along with the customer’s receipt. If you’re offering a service, consider creating a tangible gift that a spouse or child can wrap up to give to their mothers. For example: a free gift with the purchase of a treatment.

    Events are great to link with celebrations like Mother’s Day; you could create a mother and daughter/son event to celebrate. Events create an ideal environment for them to interact over skin lessons, treatments and product.

    Lastly let’s not forget that we can also use Mother’s Day to make a difference and support women around the world who struggle to provide for their children. You could connect with a charity or philanthropic initiative that helps give women support and opportunity to enable them to provide for their families, allowing them to raise their children in a safe and healthy environment. You could also connect with a local organization that supports women and mothers, encouraging people to pay it forward and get involved in sharing with others the opportunities their own mothers have given them.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Spring Promotions for your Business

    Spring, a season of renewal and beauty, is the perfect time to revitalize your treatment center with revenue boosting promotions for clients, both new and old. There are so many people who have yet to receive a professional skin or body treatment, so it’s imperative to continuously provide updated and fresh, seasonal promotions to draw new business to your door!

    A great way to plan a spring promotion is to start small. Weekly, mini events for a smaller group are a great way to celebrate the season without interfering with business as usual. The business owner or manager can run the event, or each skin therapist could host her or his own mini event. One idea I love is to host a mother-daughter tea party, in which a small group of mothers and daughters come in on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and receive customized skin care lessons. Offer a discount on products purchased at the end of the event, and include a gift bag with samples and a coupon to encourage their return. Always offer a discount for rebooking a future service on the spot; this is a great way to ensure they will be back! Mini events can be promoted in-store or by sending out an e-mail or postcard to your customer database. To save money on postage, send out a mailer to your top clients only and offer them a “Refer a Friend” discount if they send a friend in to the event.

    Another idea is to partner with a local gym or yoga studio and plan a “Beauty Bootcamp,” offering guests your selection of complimentary mini services while a nutritionist or instructor from a gym can offer to get clients summer ready. Partnering with a gym or yoga studio is also a great way to meet new clients and cross promote throughout the year. Bounce backs for each other business’ are a great way to do this; for example, with every skin treatment your clients receive, they’ll get a bounce back for a discount on a yoga class, while the yoga studio can do the same for you. When looking to cross promote, look for businesses that share common ground with you.

    Spring is also a great time to introduce a new series or package to lock clients in for the season and keep them coming back all year long! Your clients are recovering from the winter blues and are usually inspired to start some new healthy routines! Make sure to provide a selection of packages that will appeal to a variety of different clients, such as a bundled package in which clients receive larger discounts the more they purchase. If you are trying to introduce a new service or add-on, this is a great time to add it in!

    Another offer I love is a gift with purchase and new product samples! Clients always love a gift when they make a purchase, even if it is small. Offer tiers of gifts depending on how much they spend, such as a new eye cream or complimentary service such as a brow wax. If you are offering a gift with a purchase, make sure to advertise it on a sandwich board outside or on a window sign if you can. This will help draw in new business, and if your clients know they can usually get a small gift or sample with a purchase, they’re more likely to remain loyal to you.

    April is also the perfect month to plan spring celebration events such as a “Spring Fling” or a “Beauty Brunch,” with customers already in the mood surrounding holiday celebrations. Reaching out to local women’s groups, Girl Scout troops or schools is a great way to network. Additionally, May is a great time to start planning some events surrounding Mother’s Day and other focuses later in the season, which could include some bridal, graduation, and/or prom-themed series or events. Partnering with a flower shop is a good idea for May as well.

    And speaking of flowers, it’s always great to keep fresh cut flowers in your business to create a warm and inviting environment. A small bouquet near your cash wrap is all you need but it helps create a sense of renewal and beauty, and I believe it helps increase sales. As one of my skin therapists said recently, “How can anyone be in a bad mood when there are daffodils in bloom all around?” And when clients are in a good mood, they are more likely to book their next service and purchase that new eye cream. It’s the little things that can make a big difference!

    Happy spring selling!

  • Top Tips for Reaching Your Team Targets!

    The MacLeod Review of employee engagement proposed that the relationship between employees and employers should be placed at the center of business plans. Strengthening this relationship can have a multitude of benefits on the overall success of your business and can be the tipping point of whether you achieve set targets or not.

    One of the best ways to build a positive proactive relationship is through implementation of a rewards program into your business. Employees that work in businesses that have a reward program in place say they feel more valued (85%), are more loyal to the business they work in (65%) and get better results (60%).

    Tips for Implementing an Effective Rewards Program
    When introducing a reward program, be mindful of these few points:

    1. The program should have well-defined business objectives (increasing their retail sales or raising productivity or ability to up-sell or cross promote).
    2. Your rewards program needs to be meaningful and valuable to employees, and it must encourage better levels of performance. It should not put their targets beyond realistic reach.
    3. Employees need to be consulted so that the benefits of the rewards program can be effectively communicated and clearly understood by all those participating. One-on-one meetings tend to work best in this regard.
    4. All set targets need to be tracked on a daily basis and their results measured and reviewed regularly.

    It is important to choose a reward program that is customized to fit your team and business model. Take the time to get to know your team and what motivates them, and try different rewards until you can until you can formulate what works best for you.

    Here are a few basic examples of reward incentives that could work for your business:
    • Reward therapists for retail sales using a sliding scale for commission.
    • Reward entire team when monthly goals are achieved.
    • Reward highest re-booking rate.
    • Reward achievement of productivity goals.
    • Reward for therapist with the highest retail-to-service ratio.

    Remember that money is not the only reward that motivates people. Other options might include:

    • Product allocations
    • Time off
    • Tickets for a special event
    • Internal staff recognition program

    While rewards will incentivize some team members, others may simply need some additional training. We all know that knowledge equals growth and success, yet it always surprises me how few businesses in our industry actually invest in staff training. One the biggest reasons why someone is not good at retailing is because they have little to no knowledge about the product that they are retailing and therefore lack the single most magical ingredient when it comes to retailing – confidence! Investing in staff training is a sure fire way to boost confidence levels while providing the individual with the fundamental retailing skill set. It’s imperative that you partner with a company that has an ongoing training program that provides your team with a variety of workshops to help them refine or develop their individual retailing skill set.

    These workshops should be followed through with a specific action plan that has been set by management. The action plan should include specific, realistic retail targets and a customized reward incentive for achieving those targets.

    Ideas to help your team achieve their goals might include:
    • Use a strong retailer to coach someone who needs improving.
    • Have a product focus of the week/month and follow through with education at your team meeting.
    • Allow team members to try samples or testers of products. Therapists are more confident in recommending products they use and love themselves.
    • Make sure that your day-to-day management is positive. You’ll waste both money and time if you use negative reinforcement as your management style. There’s no substitute for daily contact with employees – asking how they’re doing, asking if you can help with any problems and, most importantly, recognizing even small improvements.

    By implementing a few of the above-mentioned strategies, you’ll find that success is easier than you may have initially perceived.

    Wishing you a successful and prosperous new year!