Some things you might want to keep in mind; the setting that you work in, the amount of people traffic that will see your products, and how comfortable you are with selling.
Where you work has a lot do with determining whether or not retail sales will work for you, and also what kinds of products you might choose to sell. If you are in a clinical practice and filing insurance, you will need to consider that people might take your product recommendations as medical advice. Also you will want to make sure your product selection is appropriate for your business. You probably won’t sell a lot of candles and body scrub in a clinical setting!
In a spa or private massage office you can probably sell a greater variety of products without the worry of clients taking your recommendations the wrong way. If you stick to recommending not prescribing you should be fine.
Adding retail products to your business is a big step and a financial investment. Consider the following before you leap!
How many clients enter your business/retail area per day and per week? If you are actively recommending products on average 1 in 4 clients will make a purchase. That is pretty good if you have 20 plus clients coming in each week.
Do you have new clients coming in each week? Your existing clients can/will only buy so much (especially therapeutic pillows and items that don’t get used up). If you see the same clients week after week retailing might not be right for you. Another option would be to have some products available on your website (that can be drop shipped) or for special order.
Pros and Cons of selling retail items.
1. More money! You can certainly add to your bottom line selling products.
2. You clients take something home with them that will remind them of their session with you. This keeps you and your business in their thoughts.
3. Clients have the convenience of purchasing products that you recommend immediately, without having to drive to another store.
4. It’s fun! If you love the products you sell, a retail area can be a very enjoyable part of your business.
1. Some clients may feel uncomfortable or “put on the spot” when you try to sell them products.
2. A retail area can be expensive to start and takes time to maintain. Products must be priced, dusted, and regularly arranged. You also have to have great product knowledge on each item that you sell.
3. If you have employees and expect them to sell retail products. You will need to pay out very good commissions and provide (paid) training.
4. You may not be comfortable recommending retail products. They generally will not sell themselves; you will have to actively discuss products with clients.
Of course some clients will just see something they like and will purchase it. However, you will sell quite a bit more by recommending specific products that you think your client will like, or that will solve a problem they are having. Solving a problem for a client will rarely be seen as pushy! I also keep notes on my product recommendations so I don’t over do it, or suggest the same product they already said no to.
There are some people in the massage profession who believe that selling retail is never a good idea and even unethical. I’m sure that there are certain products and selling tactics that could border on unethical. This is why it is very important to educate yourself on your state board rules, the products that you sell and good sales practices.
I hope these points will help you to make an educated decision for your business. A retail area is an investment and a risk, it is not for everyone. On the other hand retail can be a fun and generate thousands of dollars in addition income!
What products do you retail? Let us know in the comments!