August 9, 2017
Despite the disproportionate number of introverts in the spa industry, most retail sales training is still presented from a traditional perspective geared toward outgoing personalities. Join me at ISPA2017 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 8 – 9 AM. Read More
August 8, 2017
When training spa therapists I’ll use story-telling to measure where they are with engagement, and recommendations for products and services. If you are a spa manager or director try presenting this case study to your staff. Read More
June 22, 2017
May 13, 2017
Enrique founded a spa/beauty product line created from plants and vegetables unique to a village in South America. For each product sold he gave back 15% of the profit to assist the village in building a school. His distributor positioned the line in the spas of a very upscale hotel chain. Read More
April 26, 2017
Spa managers who achieve high retail sales know that a strong front desk team is worth their weight in gold. Conversely, show me a spa with low retail sales and chances are great that the receptionists are weak in product knowledge.
Recently I trained a city spa team with product sales that hovered around 6%. (25% and higher is ideal) Staff included three receptionists all of whom had worked there for over a year. A technique that I always use is to ask the front desk staff to tell me their complete skin care regimen based upon the products on the shelves. This does several things; it allows me to gauge their knowledge, comfort in explaining product use, enthusiasm for the brands and level of engagement.
None of the receptionists were well versed enough to inform me of an entire daily routine. Despite the fact that the spa carries only three brands, they have complete access to product samples and serve as treatment models during training, they were somewhat clueless.
I wonder what happens when guests come in to purchase products?
In contrast, high performing teams always have strong receptionists. They are more than just pretty. They’re highly engaging and product obsessed! If your guest has last minute doubts or questions about their purchase, a good receptionist calls upon their personal experience with the products. They can provide the reassurance necessary to close the sale.
For managers with a weak front desk staff, resolving knowledge gaps and apathy is not difficult to resolve. Take these five steps:
1. Ensure that down time is spent familiarizing themselves with your products.
2. Ask product related questions frequently.
3. Conduct role play sessions with them.
4. Include product knowledge expertise as part of their performance review.
5. Create a program to incentivize sales.
This is something that you can begin today.
Consider that your front desk is first and last contact for your guests. Make the experience excellent.
September 4, 2016
Day Spa Association cited an interesting statistic in their latest Snapshot Report;
Spas that generated 20% or higher in retail could potentially improved their sales by as much as 14%.
This is not surprising as success tends to breed more success. But if you’re in that lower 20% group and desperately want to make a giant leap into the elite 30% plus club, how do you make it happen? Read More
August 21, 2016
August 3, 2016
As beauty outlets like Ulta continue their explosive sales in cosmetic and skin care products, how is the spa industry strategizing to capture its own share of the retail market?
Not all retail stores are under pressure. One new chain is expanding. Based on a successful formula, the chain plans to add 100 new 10,000-square-foot stores this year for a total of more than 970 units. The stores are called “Ulta Beauty” (Ulta, not Ultra, notice) and offer makeup, skin care, fragrances and hair products.
A recent article from The Wall Street Journal revealed Ulta’s strategy (1). The first building block of success is location. Ulta avoids the premium urban sites some retailers choose. Instead, Ulta picks less expensive secondary locations, with little or no competition, in outdoor strip malls instead of enclosed malls, where shoppers can easily park and walk directly inside.
The second building block is Ulta gets women to try, wear and, most important, play with beauty products. Mass brands like Cover Girl and Maybelline, normally available in drug and big-box stores, occupy one side while prestige brands like Lancôme and Clinique, usually found only in exclusive department stores, are on the other. Customers can test most products, even hair dryers. And Ulta is dynamic with promotions that bundle top sellers with new items, a technique that takes the focus away from straight discounting and instead encourages customers to discover new things.
This mix of brands offers a broad range of prices, from $2 lip liners to $200 hair dryers, and appeals to all ages. Mothers and daughters often shop together, with three in four customers spending 15 minutes or more in the store, and one in five spending 30 minutes or more. The stores have hair salons, and often facial stations and “brow bars” for eyebrow shaping.
“You hear and see and smell and feel beauty happening around you. It elevates the whole store, even if you are not using it,” Dave Kimbell, Ulta’s chief marketing and merchandising officer, told The Wall Street Journal.
Shoppers test shades of lipstick, sniff different fragrances or get a blowout. “You can’t Amazon that,” said Oliver Chen, head of retail and luxury goods at analyst Cowen & Co, calling Ulta one of a handful of “Un-Amazon-able” retailers in The Wall Street Journal.
Some consumers describe their experience as feeling like a kid in Disneyland. And while there is increasing competition from drug stores and more upscale beauty retailers like Sephora, Ulta differentiates itself by offering both mass and prestige brands together. This encourages what the company calls “mass migration,” where a shopper coming in to buy a cheaper lipstick will wander over to check out more expensive items.
To encourage prestige brands to market outside their usual exclusive upscale retail settings, Ulta sets the high-end brands apart with dedicated areas, special seating, signage and fixtures.
While salon services make up just a small percentage of sales, those customers must make an appointment that forces them to come into the store regularly. These shoppers spend 2.5 times more than non-salon customers and shop twice as often.
Natural products retailers have the ability to offer the same sort of elevated shopping experience by creating areas where customers can linger and learn, try product samples or demonstrate equipment, receive a chair massage or other health treatment. With a little creative thought, you can apply the lessons from Ulta to make your store “Un-Amazon-able,” too! WF
1. E. Holmes, “A Beauty Retailer That Knows What You Want,” The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2016, www.wsj.com/articles/a-beauty-retailer-that-knows-what-you-want-1466536921, accessed June 29, 2016.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine August 2016 Author Jay Jacobowitz
May 29, 2016
Innovation is a hot buzzword. Senior executives in the hospitality industry are burning the midnight oil trying to find ways to innovatively one-up each other. Flying yoga, wellness strategies, sustainability campaigns, the list goes on with one thing in common. They’re all designed to target a larger portion of revenue from the upscale leisure consumer. Read More