We often hear terms like merchandise, yet few spa professionals have taken time to study consumer psychology – the science (or theory) of why consumers do what they do. Remember your clients are the same customers who shop at Macy’s or Nordstrom and these prestige brands spend millions of dollars understanding consumer behaviors. They have developed their merchandising methodology over decades. Whether you own a thriving spa in a metropolitan city or a single treatment room in a rural town, these merchandising tips are proven to work. Relax. We’re not going to suggest you make your waiting room look like Sephora, but we do want to share five secrets to improve the retail success of your spa.

1. Set the scene

Every brand you offer has a story to tell. Your retail area should tell that story visually. Decorate your space with flowers and realistic looking artificial fruits for your organic products section. Think science, chemistry and innovation when it comes to your anti-aging products. This could include test-tubes, beakers, molecules and DNA strands. The key is to pique interest and lure your customer in. Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on displays such as the counter cards, brochures and shelf talkers your vendors provide. Spend time thinking of what you want to communicate to your clients. What story is your spa telling?
Read more: visual merchandising for skin products

2. Take customers on a journey

It is not enough to simply place items on a shelf and expect clients to peruse, remain engaged and ultimately purchase. You should place your best-selling products at the back of your retail area just like a grocery store. This tactic forces your clients to consider additional purchases along the way. Organize smaller floor displays with new product testers, candles, fragrances, jewelry and bath products. Maintain good spacing to avoid the appearance of clutter and resist the urge to ambush clients with marketing pieces in the immediate entryway. Impulse buys should be placed in high-traffic areas such as the cash register or reception desk.
Read more: a window into the consumer mind

3. Know your customer

Study your customer and design an experience to suit their needs. There is a chance you are sending the wrong message if your average patron is mid-40’s and your retail area is decorated with bright/bold colors. More mature clients prefer subtle colors while the younger generation will appreciate a bolder approach. If your clients are bargain shoppers you should offer lower price point items and place signage calling attention to sale products. Focus on high-end brands and clean modern décor if you are in an area with luxury shoppers. The bottom line is don’t leave it to chance. Think about your customers and design your business around them.
Read more: the importance of knowing your customer

4. Can you smell what the spa is cooking?

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) became famous for his catch phrase, can you smell what the rock is cooking.” You may recognize him from movies or more recently from this amazing short film with Apple’s Siri. This is not really relevant to merchandising, but we needed to justify our heading and we like Dwayne. Back to merchandising! The spa business is all about relaxation. Your spa should be an oasis from the outside world. Smell is one of the most fundamental senses and is directly tied to various parts of the brain. Lavender is an excellent choice for retail and is recognized for its ability to bring about calm. There are even studies that have proven the smell of lavender can reduce signs of depression. Design the scent of your retail area to reinforce the themes you are trying to convey. We recommend using this scent cheat sheet to help your creative process. Also keep in mind that a winning scent can have a positive influence on your business, but the opposite is also true. Don’t use a fragrance that only you find appealing. Ask some regular clients for feedback before you make your entire spa smell too overpowering. Some scents may even cause anxiety for customers.
Read more: how to start scent marketing now

5. Eye level is buy level

Products merchandised at eye level or the sight zone receive at least a third more attention than items placed below. Shelf space is not unlike real estate – location, location, location. Vertical merchandising is a technique accounting for the natural eye movements of average consumers. This is left to right and downward in the same pattern as if they were reading. This is a simple concept to grasp and one you can implement almost immediately. The margins you have on a particular product is another perspective to consider when merchandising your spa. Consider merchandising an item in a more visible location if your clients like to buy it and you make a better than average return on your investment.
Read more: retail merchandising theory

We have barely scratched and sniffed the surface of what is possible when you apply some research based logic to your retail area. Ideally these powerful insights will have you brainstorming ways to improve the experience for clients and better merchandise your spa. We’d love for you to share any creative merchandising ideas you have found successful in your spa. Email us at info@expurtise.com.

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