Spa Retail

Did you know that retail is an important source of revenue that can boost your skin care business’s bottom line and can contribute up to 50 percent of revenue? Margins are higher for retail products than they are for skin care services, making retail low hanging fruit, especially during slow periods.

As we have seen in the past few years, spas shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions and, in some states, multiple times. As spas have opened back up, many spa owners and estheticians are looking to increase their retail sales to make up for lost revenue. Sounds easier said than done, but it really is! Here’s the thing—a product is just a product until a professional endorses, recommends, and uses it. Guys, we are the magic ingredient!

Think about it this way: People come to a spa and see their esthetician because, well, they want a facial, an antiaging treatment, a wax service, or an advanced procedure. They come to us because we are specialists educated in skin care. They trust us to perform a service, and they trust our opinions when it comes to products. It’s the same concept as when we go to the doctor. We see them because we either need treatment, a check-up, or medication because we cannot diagnose and treat ourselves. The client is coming to us (check-up) and taking home product (medication).  


You need to know what products you are using, why you are using them, and who they are for. Most importantly, you need to believe those products and the results they can achieve. This also means educating the client. If you recommend a product, the client needs to know how to use it and why it is important for them. A doctor will not recommend the wrong prescription for us, just as we wouldn’t recommend the wrong hair care products for our clients. If you are adding products to the ticket that the client isn’t going to use or need, you risk losing a client or having them leave unhappy with something they wasted their money on.

Client Interaction

This process starts when your client walks in the door. It’s also a part of their overall experience in the spa and with you. For example, during the consultation, this is an ideal opportunity to suggest a new serum or eye cream to increase hydration and combat the fine lines they just mentioned. During the analysis and cleanse, the esthetician can introduce skin care products that target the clients skin type and skin care goals. During the treatment, the esthetician can mention each product as it’s applied and state its features and benefits. Finally, at the checkout counter a simple statement like, “Which one of the products will you be taking home today? I recommend the cleanser, serum, and eye cream we used today to help you achieve your skin care goals at home.” Remember the “rule of three.” Mentioning a product at least three times during the service, then recommending three products for them to take home. When three products are recommended, the client will be more inclined to buy at least one, if not all the products you have suggested.

Engage your salon receptionist

Our receptionists are just as important in making professional products magical as we are. They are there to help sell the product and validate the education we gave our clients. They can help recommend and reiterate the importance of the product. Just like in the doctor’s office, the receptionist is who we check in and out with.  

Product displays

Don’t let your product displays become a dust collector. Placing products in locations where clients’ eyes naturally focus, such as near the entrance, by your refreshment station, or next to your reception seating will give ample opportunity for clients to see the product. A bonus is to have a sample station in the waiting area. Highlight new products or a product of the month for a client to touch, smell, and feel. Yes, this means taking the time to rearrange and move the products around monthly. This also keeps it fresh for those repeat clients.  

Still don’t think it’s licensed estheticians who make the product professional and magical? Think about how bothered you get when you see a product you considered professional end up at a big box store. We scrutinize the packaging to convince ourselves, “No, no, that’s not really what I use in my spa! That one must be counterfeit, old, compromised ….” Many times, the “professional” products on box-store shelves aren’t even cheaper than what we’re selling them for in the spa. They aren’t even necessarily more convenient for our clients because our clients are coming into the spa and could easily buy them while they’re there. The real reason we get so worked up is because we feel betrayed by manufacturers who promised exclusivity.

You are the magic ingredient to a professional product. Your clients come to you for recommendations as part of their service. Don’t drop the ball by shying away from recommending a product for fear of being “salesy.” The box stores down the street won’t shy away from selling your client something. You are doing them a service to share your professional knowledge and ensure they get a product that will actually benefit them. Be the magical ingredient!

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