A Merchandising Paradigm Shift

Change Your Entire Mindset About Merchandising To Dramatically Increase Business Profits

San Diego, CA For most salons and day spas, retailing and merchandising plans involve your staff selling products that you have displayed on a shelf in the corner of your business.  By making a paradigm shift and changing your entire mindset about how to retail, you will dramatically increase profits by creating a real shopping experience for your clients.  Lauren Gartland is the president of Inspiring Champions, a business training and coaching company specializing in the beauty industry.  Gartland regularly advises business owners on how to instantly boost their profits with merchandising expertise. “Many businesses earn a million dollars or more a year in retail.  You will at least double your profits and will most likely earn three to ten times more by merchandising the right way, ” Gartland notes.

The first shift in mindset comes with your reception area. Typically, this consists of a seating area with tables full of magazines.  This type of setup does nothing to encourage your clients to explore your retail.  “Turn your entire reception area into a retail store.  Get rid of your seating!  Clients are only sitting for about 5 to 10 minutes before their appointments, which is the perfect amount of time to browse through your products.  If you must have seating, arrange it around a testing center where clients can be engaged with trying merchandise,” Gartland says.  The retail store area should be about 20% of your total square footage.  The next mindset shift comes with the store’s design.  “The store should be functional, with basic shelving that highlights the products.  Do not use ornate furniture or go overboard with the design or displays. Shelves should be completely full of products, no deeper than eight inches so you will have enough inventory to fill.  With too little on the shelves, it will end up looking like a museum!” Gartland shares.

Create an enclosed environment with your store, lining the walls with shelves and building a wall of shelves between the retail area and the treatments areas, so clients do not see them.  In the middle, place tables or islands that are waist high.  Gartland notes, “Tables are great for retailing and sell better than shelves.  Create a promotional table with your special sale items within ten feet of your front door.  Use your precious counter space at the reception desk for impulse items like lip balm or scented candles, higher priced items like perfume or jewelry, or product specials with testers that clients can try while they wait for check out.  Never put products behind the front desk or anywhere that clients cannot easily reach.”  Always use promotional signage; contact your product reps to see what materials they can offer or create your own simple shelf talkers, brochures or counter cards.  Keep displays neatly arranged, clean and well lit, with clear product prices and your business contact information on each product.

A final mindshift is to make your reception area hard to find.  Move it as far away from the front door as possible, forcing clients to walk through your store on their way in.  Now you have created a real shopping experience and a traffic pattern that engages your clients in your retail area.  Continue to engage them with interactive displays that feature testers, samples and items shown out of their packaging.  “Salon and day spa clients are much more likely to buy if they are able to smell, hold and try the products.  Always have testers for perfume, lotion, makeup or anything with scent,” Gartland says.  If you sell spa music, have a place to listen to CDs or a mixing station for essential oils or aromatherapy. 

Peruse your favorite retail stores and steal a few of their display ideas.  Remember that good merchandising always includes flattering lighting, beautiful signage, functional shelving and plenty of diverse products.  Fill your windows with enticing displays that clients can see from the street, using traditional sales and product promotions. Creating a real shopping experience for clients will instantly increase your business profits while also building client loyalty, retention and referrals.   Evolve your business by changing your entire mindset of what successful retailing is all about.

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Inspiring Champions is a business and coaching company offering live training camps, coaching and mentoring services, webinars, audio tapes and educational resources.

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Jenny Hogan is the Media Director at Marketing Solutions, Inc., a full-service marketing, advertising and PR agency specializing in the professional beauty business.

For more information:
email MktgSols@MktgSols.com.

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