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Spa Retailing: Whose Job Is It?

Spas know that retailing is an important component of revenue generation, and yet many still struggle to reach hoped-for results.

Who’s responsible for driving retail sales in your spa?

Management? Therapists? Support Staff? Product Companies?

It’s actually all of the above.

While spas consider product sales to be less important than the main spa focus of selling treatments, the business of retailing is a major industry globally. China is currently the second largest retail market in the world.

Retailing at Spas

Click to watch our short learning video with Spa Retailing Tips

According to McKinsey Consulting, the surging middle class in China is fueling a growth rate in luxury goods consumption that has ranged from 16-20 percent annually for the last four years, and Nielsen Companies finds that the health and wellness sectors are also maintaining a strong and steady rate of growth. Retail sales in China and globally continue to be fueled by social media, as shown by product and service reviews shared on Sina Weibo and Meilishuo. The retail industry global infrastructure includes trade shows, associations, best practices, and degreed university coursework. What spas do is dabble in retail; having a few shelves on a wall with a scattering of skincare products doesn’t make a business a “retailer.”


Since spas are clearly appointment-driven businesses, the common focus of spa management has been on selling treatments and experiences rather than thinking like a retailer. Spas open their doors in the morning with books full of appointments and knowing that those clients will be passing through certainly takes the pressure off the immediate need to create additional sales. And yet, the benefits of retailing are numerous, and include:

  • Providing an additional revenue stream
  • Creating sales that are NOT dependent on appointments
  • Enhancing and extending the value of the spa treatments guests have received
  • Presenting a range of margin opportunities for the business
  • A fast and simple way to grow average ticket for both therapists and spa
  • Building client loyalty and retention

All of these excellent results, however, do not happen by accident. Achieving a healthy retail to service sales ratio is the result of focused efforts by all of the stakeholders, working together to create a compelling retail environment.


As with many initiatives, effective retailing starts at the top. Successful spa retailers carry a selection of products from retail partners that are in keeping with the vision and mission of the spa brand, and that are priced appropriately for the target customer. Innovative spas will also look beyond the typical beauty brands for retail items that can drive sales as well as margin. But the most impactful action management can take is to be purposeful in hiring and training staff who can create rapport with guests, and in creating compensation and advancement plans for therapists which include retailing benchmarks as part of the career path.


Without a doubt, therapists play the biggest role in retailing to spa guests. As the uniformed experts, their artfully presented home care suggestions, in tandem with their one-on-one interaction with the guest, will be the biggest driver of sales activity. Therapists who are well-trained on the spa’s products and ingredients can weave suggestions into their service routine in a seamless way, which does not feel as pushy to the guest as a rushed effort at the service conclusion, or a list of products pushed into the client’s hands. Making home care recommendations MUST be part of every treatment on the spa menu.

Support Staff

While the therapist’s personal touch is key to introducing home care to the client, in a busy and/or large spa it can be difficult for therapists to complete the sale. Clients may be heading on to another treatment or spending time using spa amenities, and by the time they check out they have forgotten about products. Well-trained support staff who can advise on usage will be effective in closing sales.

Retail Partners

The role that vendors and resource partners play in the retail chain cannot be overlooked. Effective brands will provide plenty of tools and training for all of the spa staff, on a regular basis. Supporting activities including inventory planning, sampling, retail support tools and marketing collaterals will certainly help the spa to be more successful.

The global personal care product market is estimated to total $1.5 trillion annually. Your clients are purchasing home care products from somewhere, it might as well be your spa!

Are you struggling with retailing at your spa? Our team can help. Contact us to schedule a complimentary 30-minute needs assessment.




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