In what is an ever-more ruthlessly competitive industry, what are key factors that will keep your biz up with – but ideally ahead of – the game? Food for thought as we head towards 2018, by Spa Guru Kirien Withers*.
In my observation over 27 years of watching spas and salons come and go, or stay strong, those that stay strong generally exhibit three major qualities, year in year out.
The first is an absolute core philosophy of unfailing, brilliant customer service.
The second is the ability to precisely determine the core requirements of their key client base in both treatments and product, and absolutely nail the client’s diagnosis, treatment and home care to achieve precise results they can rely on.
The third is they keep it interesting, going beyond the basics with surprising and desirable retail, lifestyle and wellness support opportunities, exciting special promotions and gift voucher options that delight.
And if there was a fourth quality, it would be the ability to turn on a dime as they say, to know when the winds of change are blowing and be able to ride them, while the client only experience a seamless evolution, studded with those delightful special surprises.
EMBRACE THE NEW
Embracing new treatments and products is an important part of any businesses evolution as I mentioned prior.
But treatments and product change in a spa, salon or clinic does not happen simply, generally speaking.
In my observation, businesses that are changing brands often, or keep adding new offers to the menu until it totally overwhelms both staff and clients, is a recipe for disaster.
All changes and additions must be so carefully considered. Change and additions are essential but they have to be just right 95% of the time, or they are a drain on the bottom line and the team’s wellbeing.
Apart from that, client trust and loyalty that can be lost by chopping and changing or offering wrong choices.
THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE
Every service you offer clients should be an ideal experience – making it a ritual rather than a simple “get the job done” is key to success. Even an express treatment can be delivered with a style that sets it apart from the competitors.
Thinking outside the square is essential to constantly retaining clientele, and attracting new clients, in the face of savvy competitors.
Often new clients are drawn in by something you are doing that is different to everyone else, then it’s that superb service standard and excellence in execution that makes them stay.
The salons and spas who do it it well, I notice, stay steady with a brand they, and their clients trust, are circumspect with technology and really do their homework before they jump into large investments.
But they are always on the lookout for exciting new offers that can be implemented easily for staff that will deliver that “surprise and delight” factor.
Gift voucher sales times provide ideal opportunity windows to get the right return on investment, as even simple additions take time and money to implement. So a great kick-off return is desirable.
The revenue some spas and salons achieve in gift voucher sales at key times of the year is staggering. Most gift purchasers want to buy the recipient a special experience, not generally the core grooming or care services the recipient has all the time or is readily available. So new offers in the market are great to consider.
MAKE PEAK TIMES WORK ALL YEAR
We are coming into peak season for the industry, so why not use this year’s gift voucher season as a time to try out new offerings.
One brand that is perfect for special ritual style experiences, with gorgeous retail and very new to Australia, is Africology.
As the name suggests, the brand hails from Africa featuring unique African botanicals.
It’s South Africa’s leading spa and skincare brand featured in many of Africa’s most exclusive resorts and retreats, as well as individual spas and wellness centres.
This exotic, lush, all-natural range meets all spa needs including anti-ageing formulas utilising Africa’s unique super-active ingredients, exquisite spa rituals, a full retail range including exquisite lifestyle products and excellent amenities.
It was created by holistic therapist Renchia Droganis, renowned for her “nose”. She grew the range from humble beginnings, creating formulas to support her wellness-challenged clients, knowing the highly therapeutic benefits of Africa’s indigenous ingredients.
Another idea is being able to promote gift vouchers sales to capture the younger client.
For instance, Australian organic skincare brand Vanessa Megan has natural acneic skin solutions which are gaining great testimonials.
While results-based, the products are natural and luxurious so rituals targeting young skin can be packaged as an ideal gift voucher opportunity.
Another hugely popular offering from Vanessa Megan is their world-first Cryo Facelift Ice Cube Treatment.
Using the ageing preventative principles of cryotherapy, these ice-cold serum applications incorporate active ingredients, including the certified organic and scientifically proven anti-ageing extract narcissus tazetta bulb, and uber-hydrator hyaluronic acid, to help repair, regenerate, brighten and hydrate skin on face, neck and décolletage.
The “ice cubes” are an ideal addition to any facial treatment, and are especially beneficial for clients who’ve just had therapies such as laser or peels, to soothe their skin and rapidly reduce redness and swelling.
They also make a great retail offering for regular at-home use. There are six “ice cube trays” in each box.
Clients are recommended to use them once or twice a week, putting the trays in the freezer before use. Then remove the foil cover of an “ice cube”, press it into the muslin cloth provided and apply in a circular motion until it has melted. Lifting results are immediately visible and cumulative.
Linda Meredith from the UK is also very new to Australia – again ideal for gift voucher implementation as an easy add-on that may last you for years.
Its only offer is luxurious “celebrity” facials incorporating some highly marketable options such as an oxygen infusion facial with immediate visible results and a “no-tox” relaxant solution that is highly revered internationally.
Lastly I think it’s so important in these times that every salon, spa or clinic has an option for the client who is, or has been, challenged by the illnesses that are affecting way too many of us, or are extremely sensitive to ingredients.
Also from Africa is the ultra-sensitive Esse solution based on probiotics.
I have personally witnessed their live probiotic serum bring post-chemotherapy skin back to vital life in an incredibly short time.
The speed with which the skin went from being like a translucent, dry, thin paper sheath to dewy integrity was quite remarkable.
Esse therefore lets you market gift vouchers as suitable for the wellness-challenged, as well as always having a safe solution and real contribution for any clients that may need support in this way, or have friends or family that do, as happened to me.
With these type of add-in solutions, your trusted regular menu and brand/s that your clients trust are not challenged, but you can promote exciting gift sales, new experiences and retail opportunities for existing clientele, and can target new clients with fresh ideas.
To my knowledge these brands would be pleased to be added into existing menus in “biteable”chunks with realistic add-in opening orders, making implementation easy and affordable.
Here’s to a successful, prosperous 2018!
Kirien Withers is the founder of numerous spa and salon industry initiatives over 27 years, including SPA+CLINIC magazine.
Today she primarily consults to spas, salons, retreats and brands and is always pleased to hear from clients with new initiatives that she could potentially assist. She has a special interest in wellness, eco and women’s specialty areas. KIRIEN@SPAGURU.COM.AU