Shooting from the hip

Retail? I've heard it all before!

9th Oct 2017
Retail? I've heard it all before!

As I was going throught my final preparations for my session at Spa Life International (Ireland) back in June, a spa director approached me asked what I was going to talk about? "Retail", I began; and before I had time to say any more, he rolled his eyes and muttered: ‘Heard it all before. The truth is digital sales are taking over, that’s all there is to it!’

It’s often like that. When I mention retail sales, eyes roll or glaze over. Throughout my career, I’ve been fascinated by retail in spas. Mainly because my background is with commercial companies like Clinique, Clarins and L’Occitane, where retail sales are at the heart of the business and each employee is taught to think of the achievable results from the customer in front of them. But it’s also because I know retail sales easily increases revenue.

when was the last time you did a mystery shop?

To tell you the truth, I too have heard it all before. I’ve done 38 mystery shops so far this year and only four included consultations. Four. Just four. Out of that measly four, only one was so great I made a purchase. One spa owner thought I was lying when I mentioned these figures. ‘I can’t believe that is true,’ she said. ‘I train all my staff in retail!’ Yes, but when was the last time you did a mystery shop on them? What type of consultations are they actually doing in the room? Do you have protocols for them to follow or are they trained as the experts?

I became fascinated to learn why some spas are more successful at retail selling than others and it became my mission to create a Retail Programme for Managers. Now I talk about retail sales to everyone I meet.

Retail sales will only happen if they’re viewed as a team effort.

As far as I’m concerned you can have the world's best therapist, giving the world's best sales pitch in the treatment room, but once the client leaves that room and spends 15 minutes decompressing in your relaxation area, they completely forget about the sales recommendations that just happened. Retail sales will only happen if they’re viewed as a team effort.

I created a tool called Retail 360° Tool in Spas and Salons© that analyses the customer journey in detail and asks key retail questions;

Why are you losing the sale and how can you recoup it?
How can the management team manage stock efficiently?
Reception – it’s where it all happens! What’s the key to successful retail sales?
Merchandising makes or breaks the sale, how are you handling it?
What about marketing … are you bringing the sales alive?

We need to stop making excuses, from management (‘I’ve trained them but they don’t care, it’s cheaper online’) to therapists (‘I can’t sell, it’s not my job’). The bottom line is that selling is the law of averages, the more you try to retail, the more you will retail. Your mindset is the beginning of successful retailing… so, are you ready?


Author: Valerie Delforge has been in the beauty industry for more than 25 years and worked for brands including Clarins, Urban Retreat in Harrods and L’Occitane. As well as having had her own business, Valerie is a commercial trainer and coach for managers and owners in the beauty industry, and has created specific modules to increase revenue.

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