Spa Retail Facts: Everything you need to know to boost retail sales in your spa

Retail sales can make up to 50 % of treatment revenue without needing additional resources. This revenue stream should not be neglected, particularly in businesses with fix revenue capacities from treatments like we find them in spas. 

But… “I am no sales person”… many therapists rightly feel that way.

Spa service providers are highly skilled professionals with a craft between their fingers, they have to prove empathy when dealing with spa guests, be caring, welcoming, sometimes even act as psychological therapists learning the guest’s secrets…

On the other side, spas are businesses and require revenue and profits. Hence selling is a must. But by whom? And when is the right time to do so? Can this be done without ‘hard selling’?

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Spa Retail – When and Where to sell?

The sales process should neither be simply ‘re-active’, when the guest is asking for products, nor only at one single point of the guest journey. Retail sales should be pro-active and sales points should be found at every point of the guest journey which can include other facilities such as a hotel shop.

Storytelling is a great way of selling: chose different areas where you can display a selection of items for purchase, for example a variety of products the spa guest can take to the pool or sauna area for an even better eperience.

In a spa environment we typically have a very different relationship to customers compared to a traditional retail shop on a high street. We know their names, we may know about skin conditions, preferred treatments and aspects of their lifestyles. We are also able to prepare for most of our guests as their visits are typically scheduled. Above, we usually have more time to spend with them during their visit. This time can be used to inform and explain benefits of products and services. Unfortunately I can see a trend in spas trying to usher guests in and out on a stricter scheduled basis, thus trying to increase the volume of guest flows in a day. I see this as a missed opportunity for highly important relationship management.

Home care plans help create long lasting relationships with regular guests, supported by newsletter or postcards.

All to often we come across retail areas that seem neglected…. dusty shelves, missing lighting, smeared testers. A spa can put just as much effort in its retail space as a retail shop on a high street: appropriate decoration, a functional workspace for demonstrations, testers from products on offer, a clean and tidy and welcoming area in total.

Learn from supermarkets: they do not put easy selling items at eye level, as those are the ones buyers are looking for anyway and will find them.  Putting less popular items in plain sight helps shoppers to explore new things that they may never have thought about before.

An evaluation of displays, showcases and fixtures as much as decoration and testers will show if your retail area meets the taste of your spa guests.

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Spa Retail – By whom?

Every stakeholder of a spa can be a salesperson. Of course spa staff with primary guest contact should be considered prime sales people:

  • receptionists
  • therapists
  • beauticians
  • spa managers themselves

This requires good knowledge of all staff about products and treatments, so make sure to schedule sufficient time for regular trainings sessions. The spa guest wants to feel that their problems are understood and valuable solutions are being offered by knowledgeable staff which not simply sell products but benefits and individual solutions.

And even people that seem ‘further away’ can sell your spa retail:

  • satisfied guests by word-of- mouth (bring a friend promo)
  • hotel reception 
  • hotel concierge
  • service staff
  • product vendor, supplier: maintain a great vendor relationship
  • neighbouring businesses

So far so good, yet in which area should we focus on selling? reception desk? retail space? treatment room? hotel boutique?

I would say your treatment room is your strongest retail area. This is where your guest can experience the item – be it a cream, an oil, a candle, a brush… – whilst being talked through by a knowledgeable service provider.

That is why I am a great fan of recommendation cards. Like a postcard or greeting card, this little piece of paper is filled by the service provider at the end of a treatment with recommendations matching the clients needs, such as a product that can help with skin care issues, a music cd recommendation that can help stress reduction etc. The card is either handed to the guest himself or even better handed over to reception. At check out, the receptionist can then have the retail items handy nearby and hand over the recommendation card with words like: “your therapist has recommended these items for you…[explain products], would you like to take them home to extend your spa experience / to purchase them now?”

And even if the guest is not interested in purchasing the items straight away, she may find the recommendation card in her handbag (or bathrobe pocket) later on and be reminded of her lovely spa experience.

Spa Retail – Whom to sell to?

Your core spa guest!

Remember the 20/80 rule?
Find out about the 20% of your guests making 80% of your revenue.

This is targeting at its best. Find out what these 20% of your guests need, want, demand, and have in common. Then create offers that match. A business, a product, or a service can never please everyone. So don’t waste energy and resources on trying to sell to someone who is not your target group.

Why do spa guests come to your spa and why do they buy retail?

Spa Goers come to a spa or wellness facility because most of the time they are looking for solutions, such as pain relief, stress management or skin issues for example. Others may be looking for better or younger looks. A spa understanding those motivations can meet the guest’s expectations by offering suitable facilities, well trained staff and spa@home products as package.

Meeting customer’s expectations and even exceeding them whilst serving them during their visit in the spa, will make them more likely to buy spa@home and home care products.

Spa Retail – How to sell

Every person that walks through your door is a potential client. However do not try to sell everything to everyone. Focus on your target group and look at what they expect from a service at your spa.

Now let us talk about pricing and sales promotions.



Discounting is popular, however should used very sparingly:

  • a specific product item price discounted
  • an amount discount towards retail 
  • discounts on certain days of the week only / at certain times
  • discounts targeting a particular customer group, i.e. brides, mothers, managers

Another effective sales promotion are

  • gift with purchase is a way of bundling a service with a retail item. Ask your product vendors for cooperation
  • bundling products: selling two or more together at a discounted price, i.e. “this product goes well with that product’. Special packaging / wrapping can be useful
  • vouchers: gift vouchers for family and friends
  • bounce backs: issue vouchers with a certain value discount for the guest’s next visit
  • rewards: reward existing (for example your top 20 spenders) with a gift or special event. A great way to show your appreciation of their loyalty
  • referrals: hand out a gift certificate for an existing client to give to a friend, bring-a-friend is word-of-mouth marketing
  • down selling: offer to add a service at a minimum, for example offer to add the special eye treatment (let us say worth 40 Euros) to the classic manicure for only 10 Euros more.

Be creative with sales promotions and apply those rules:

  • understand your numbers, don’t just discount because the discount value seems right or because everybody else gives 10% off
  • change over and again, be creative, innovative, rotate promotions
  • Ensure that all staff understand the promotion and support it
  • Communication should be clear and consistent through all channels

Make it easy for guests to purchase items in your spa!

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Spa Retail – What to sell?

A first act is brand screening. Always partner with manufacturers and brands that have the knowledge to help you select the right assortment relevant for your target group, be it cosmetics or home wear. 

Your spa is the most important brand, and other product brands should complement your spa brand.

Depending on space availability I recommend not to stock more than 3 different brands. Too many choices can confuse clients and no one is going to buy a line each of 3 different brands. 

Offering additional items add value to the spa journey, such as small jewellery items, home or yoga wear, books, gifts etc.

When doing spa audits I experience that spas keep inventory that is not turning over. Letting go of dead stock frees up money for purchasing new items, that should be easy to re-stock.

A spa guest must never experience an expired or rancid item on your shelf!

A rotation of retail products is also important, so that core spa goers will not see the same products over and over and over again.

Evaluating inventory and constantly observing what is selling and what not helps spa managers to make necessary changes on an ongoing basis. Know your best sellers!

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting

I hope this article was useful to you and you have enjoyed reading.

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