Spa managers and directors have to cover a lot of bases, and one area in which the industry often falls short is retail.

In an interview with Spa Executive magazine Gordon Tareta of Tareta Group International and Marcus Hotels pointed out the reality of this. Tareta said:

“I think according to ISPA, there are about 2000 resort spas and hotel based spas, in the United States. The average revenue is about one and a half million dollars per location. And the average retail performance, as a percentage of revenue, is about 5% – 6% of that spa. But the skin care industry in the United States is 150-billion-dollar industry. Everybody else is selling way more than the spa industry is. We have all these experts in aesthetics and massage, and we have retail, and we have all these suppliers that supply to the retail industry, so why are we so much smaller than the actual skin care sales industry? Sephora alone does more in their revenues than the spa industry does in their retail revenue.”

 

It’s a hard-hitting truth, especially in a sector where profit margins can be low.

One of the issues might be that retail is often an afterthought. It’s not considered the meat of our industry. We think in terms of wellness and stress relief, of comfort and service. So much goes into that area of serving the customer that, by the time we get to the product sales, it might not feel like an integral part of the experience. But it should be.

Tareta’s suggestions for changing the situation include looking to other industries and seeing what business tactics they use that the spa industry could learn from and adopt. This is excellent advice.

We also believe that there is great potential retail value in shifting your focus to personalization.

New technology allows spas and salons to take personalization to a new level. Today’s software allows spas to note every detail – skin type, fragrance preferences, pore size – about a guest, and to personalize every experience based on these details.

Use this capability to connect your guests with products they will love

 It’s easy to connect guests with products using technology. And to track every product used.

A few ideas for personalizing your retail experience:

 

  • Take the time to educate the guest about the products you are using: Therapists should talk with guests about what they’re using and why, and outline a carefully curated homecare regimen around the products used during a treatment.
  • Communicate with the front desk: Adding products to the guest profile and software shopping basket, and communicate this to the front desk before checkout (your software can do this for you) — so that the desk staff can recommend product purchases. Make this part of the therapy routine.
  • Never run out of a favourite thing Use effective inventory management to ensure that any product that a guest loves in always in stock for them. Most people can relate to the attachment we develop to our favourite skin and body-care products, and to the (sometimes irrational level of) irritation that comes with discovering that something you love is suddenly unavailable. Conversely, we also know the gratitude that comes with knowing someone has gone above and beyond to make sure that we do get what we want.  This gratitude is valuable when it comes to building guest relationships.
  • Offer gifts based on guest profiles. Small gifts are never unwelcome: “I know you love our violet sugar scrub, and thought you might like to try this violet-infused toner for your dry skin.”
  • Offer treatment and product specials. Design these specials for individuals, and for members; and create personalized treatment and product bundles.
  • Use purchase histories to send replenishment reminders. Keeping track of a customer’s retail history will enable you to remind them that they may be about time to run out of something (after about two months). This is also an opportunity to ask if the guest was satisfied with the product – and perhaps recommend something else.

Use Book4Time to create an exceptional personalized experience for your guests and improve your retail performance. Book4Time offers secure cloud-based spa software solutions to help spa and salon management handle online spa booking, spa reporting, customer communications, and much more all in one place.

(Image: Copyright: antoniodiaz / 123RF Stock Photo)