Fact: More than half of all retail purchases are unplanned.

That little bit of information can mean big business for you if you??re ready to start selling retail products to your clients. Even a small display of some popular items and a bit of suggestive selling will give you the opportunity to increase your income by a potentially significant amount.

In this article we’ll show how the individual massage therapist or small clinic staff can create profitable retail sales without feeling like high-pressure salespeople.

Selecting the right product to sell

When you’re thinking about offering retail products, stick to items that are an extension of your business personality. Focus on products that will most interest your clients. For example, if you use aromatherapy, offering aromatherapy body care, essentials oils, or aromatherapy accessories will work better for you than selling magnets or massage slippers. Selecting products that you use in your work, or that complement the work you do, will make a connection with your clients. Also, think about your best clients and select products based on their interests. A few carefully selected items in a particular line can easily outsell a large mixture of non-related items. Think quality, not quantity.

How much inventory to order-

This will depend on how much space you have for retail. You can start with just one type or line of products, and as your retail success increases you can always add more products. Order enough inventory to stock 6-12 of an item in your display to show customers you are serious about your product. Plan on replenishing your inventory about six times per year, keeping it fresh and continually rotating product off your display. Always rotate your product forward, keeping the oldest product closest to the front of the shelf. Decide what your minimum inventory should be so you can order and receive new shipments before your display product runs out.

How to price products-

There are two basic ways to price products:

1. Pricing based on a percentage added to your product cost, in which you always add a set percentage to your cost.
2. Pricing for retail, in which you decide an acceptable markup percentage to include your business overhead and profit. Often a manufacturer will provide a suggested retail price for you. The suggested retail price is exactly that: just a suggestion. Feel free to price the product higher or lower depending on what seems reasonable for your business and client situation.

You have a variety of pricing methods. Some lines use Odd Pricing ($5.63), with odd dollars and cents. Exclusive products use Even Pricing ($10, $15) where you round the price up to an even amount. If you carry a lot of items in the same category, Group Pricing works well (i.e., lotions $12, soaps $8, vitamins $15).

You can put a price sticker on each item or use a shelf clip or price menu. If you use a price menu, list all the items you offer and post the menu in a highly visible spot in your merchandise area. For both stickers and price menus, either type or print the information from a computer for a polished, professional look.

Displaying Products-

Once you have decided what items to carry, you need to design an effective display area. The size of the area isn’t as important as its visibility and accessibility. If your clients can easily see and sample the products, the display will be your silent sales person. You won’t have to suggest purchasing the items because the successful display will draw attention to itself.

Based on your office or clinic size, you may have two different types of displays — a merchandising display where you stock products in volume, and a teaser display, where you promote just a few items. In a clinic the teaser display could be in the therapy room, and the merchandising display in the reception area. If you work out of an office without a reception area, the merchandising display is all you need.

Types of displays:

Floor displays have a big impact. Depending on your display table size, one or more products can be shown. The most effective strategy is to use a small table and choose one product line to promote. Place your product grouping on the table with your product postcards, brochures, or signage to attract attention. Change out or rearrange your table products every few weeks to keep the display fresh, and your clients interested.

Corner shelf displays or small shelves can be used very effectively in a massage room. Create a mini-sales display by showing a few products from the same line, or with a similar theme, like a candle, lotion, and bath soap in a particular fragrance. Display a product brochure or your own brief product introduction with the products. This extra information encourages clients to spend time learning about the products. Once they see the benefits of a product, clients are much more likely to purchase it.

Wall racks and merchandise displays are designed to stock product in larger volume, showing customers you have ample inventory and products are available for purchase. Keep the shelves from overwhelming the room by organizing and grouping products by brand. For instance, if you carry two or three brands of vitamins, place all the vitamins of one brand together. Group by brand, not by color, type of product, or product size, for an organized and uncluttered display. This type of grouping also promotes purchasing several items from the same brand instead of just a single product.

Eight Great Selling Tips

1. Stock enough product on your merchandise shelf to show ample inventory, but don’t overdo it. You may have 24 bottles of ABC lotion in inventory, but you only need to display 6-12. You don??t want customers to think the product isn’t selling.
2. At the same time, keep adequate inventory. No one wants to take the last item on a shelf. Sparse inventory makes customers wonder how long the product has been sitting there, or if it’s a line you feel confident selling.
3. Position shelves so products are ideally at eye level, and easily reachable. Have testers available so your products can be sniffed and sampled by customers. Placing them behind magazines in the waiting area keeps them out of reach. Once customers have the product in their hand, the odds are they’ll buy it.
4. Use counter cards, shelf talkers, brochures, and sales pieces from the manufacturer to provide product information and help sell product for you.
5. Keep products well lit so labels can be easily seen and read.
6. Keep your products dust-free and organized. Dirty and cluttered displays are a quick customer turn-off.
7. Be creative. Use colored shelving, table drapes, or even small props like flowers or accessory items to pique customer interest and help tell a ”story” about your product. Don’t go overboard, though: only 20% of the shelf space : maximum : should go towards these extra touches.
8. Clearly mark products with either printed stickers or a price menu so the customer does not have to ask how much the item is.

Excellent Customer Service = Sales

Once you have sparked a client’s interest, be prepared for questions about the product(s) you carry. Make sure you and your staff are familiar with what you’re selling. Being informed and helpful when describing your product inspires customer trust: and additional purchases. Effective sales preparation includes:

1. Know how to use the products, and be able to describe how they feel and smell.
2. Know the ingredients.
3. If a customer comments on a product, show them where the product is stocked in your room or clinic.
4. If a customer inquires about a product, use ”sales words”, intriguing adjectives — to describe smell, texture and appearance. If your retail lotion is luxurious and silky with the delicate fragrance of orange blossoms, don’t simply say it moisturizes and smells like citrus.
5. If the customer makes a purchase, make a note of it. Follow up with them to see how the product worked for them, or ask about it at their next appointment. Follow-up can facilitate a future sale, provide opportunity to update them on new products, or direct them to other products they may also enjoy.

Since there’s a better than 50-50 chance your clients will impulsively purchase product anyway, it’s smart business to make it convenient for them to buy that product from you. They’re already coming to you to feel good, and you can help them take some of that good feeling home with them, and boost your bottom line at the same time.

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”Since there’s a better than 50-50 chance your clients will impulsively purchase product anyway, it’s smart business to make it convenient for them to buy that product from you.”

Interested In Retailing to Your Clients: Contact us for information about a 40% discount for resale of the Aromaplex Body Care Line at (800) 445-6457 or e-mail us at service@biotone.com.