by Erin Hackett, Wynne Business Client Services Coordinator
When was the last time you “shopped” your store? When you visit, keep in mind the things that matter to the customer:
- Is it easy to navigate? Can they find what they are looking for?
- Does it feel “bolted on” or does it express your spa brand?
- Are there product reviews?
- Is it integrated with your Facebook Fan Page and other social media?
- Is the shopping cart and checkout process fast, smooth and secure?
If it’s time to revamp your store, keep in mind:
- This is not an overnight process. Even with the new, simpler templatized solutions, it may make sense to hire someone with experience in that platform to set it up and train you in its use. After that, you can update and maintain the store in house, or with minimal assistance.
- You’ll need to customize the store template to ensure that it reflects your spa’s colors, images, branding, etc. Preston Wynne Spa worked with a programmer experienced in the Big Commerce platform to refine the look of its store template.
- You can’t get all the bells and whistles on your wish list with a templatized store solution. Be prepared to compromise here and there; you save a lot of money. As the store’s sales grow, invest more to customize and improve it.
- Product pictures must be consistent in appearance. Do the backgrounds match? Are they clean? Use a “drop out” white background and you’ll find that many of the product images you need can be provided by the vendor. The rest should be done by a photographer (unless you are one.) Freelance product photographers are inexpensive, consistent and fast.
Need help starting? I’m part of the project team that can remodel your web store, and even update your website (on an platform that you can maintain yourself.) We also assist spas with their social media programs. For more information, contact Wynne Business. Or if you have a question about your web store, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “online coupon” phenomenon is creating tremendous chaos in the business world. Small businesses have a love/hate relationship with companies like Groupon and Living Social, but consumers are besotted. To the harried small business owner, it seems as if deep discounting has become the only way to market (it is, if you listen to Groupon reps.) Consumers’ e mail boxes are stuffed with a steadily mounting heap of “daily deals.”
But there’s one unintended consequence of all this discounting that doesn’t seem to be on the radar yet: inflation.
Money, like water, finds its level. If dizzydizcounts.com grabs 50% of my 50% off service, and I’ve gone down that coupon road, ultimately I’ll be raising my suggested prices to enable constant discounting. Department stores have done this for years, knowing that a substantial percentage of their fashion inventory will have to be sold at discount.
As well, as small businesses turn to mindless, cattle call extreme discount marketing, their profits will drop. What do you do when you’re staring at a P & L and the bottom line has dropped out? Hey, let’s raise prices and sell more coupons! In the ecosystem that is the free market, endless discounting will just lead to endless price increases.
We’re already seeing “discount fatigue.” Discounts are sexy when they’re deep…and rare. When they’re deep and common as dirt, they lose their cachet for more affluent consumers. Once tickled by the novelty of a shocking discount, even the customers from the Affluent demographic recognize that the spas who pimp themselves this way are not the ones you take home to mother.
Churn is very hard on a quality spa, and discounting can turn your facility into a churn-factory. It’s hard on employee morale to work with demographically unqualified customers, people you can’t retain no matter how happy they are with your service. It’s hard on employee morale to have your compensation discounted for the promise of future business.
If you’re going to go down that road, any deeply discounted offer you concoct should still be at the net price point of a full-price treatment, i.e., if you’re giving 50% off, it should be on two treatments, not one. And for heaven sakes, unless you just opened your doors, you have a database full of inactive clients who’d love to receive your very own 50% off coupon, and share it with a Friend. They are far more likely to be retained than Newbie McNotip.
Seriously–if you’re gonna get naked, do you really need to pay Groupon to take off your clothes for you?
Discounts encourage a mentality that is the exact opposite of what a clientele-based business wants to cultivate. Discounts train customers to want more discounts, not to be loyal to that kind and generous business that offered them a discount last year.
My last conversation with a Groupon rep lasted for about an hour, an entertaining bit of gladiator combat that I initiated. I was impressed by his passion and we had a fun and lively debate. Here’s what I told him the Groupon promise boils down to: “We’re going to fill your spa with a giant Caterpillar tractor scoop full of dirt. In that huge scoop of dirt is some gold, and it’s your job, Ms. Spa Owner, to find it. If you don’t find it, it’s because you’re blind, not because it was, in fact, nearly 100% dirt.”
In other words, the only reason our discount lovin’ Groupies won’t toss away that next 50% off coupon for Trollop Spa, and offer to stay with you and love you forever, is that you didn’t provide them with a quality service. Groupon, a company that’s blessedly virtual, unsullied by the bricks-and-mortar, blood sweat and tears work of delighting actual clients in the real world, would have you believe that if their customers don’t return to your spa at full price, it’s because you suck.
Groupon is the fastest growing company in history, and it’s not surprising. Parasites usually grow faster than the hosts on which they feed.
Monday, May 24th: 11:30 a.m. Pacific/2:30 p.m. Eastern
Did you miss our 5/17 webinar? Register for this live encore presentation.
FREE with advance registration. If you can’t attend live, you can still register to receive a copy of the webinar recording via e mail.
A great public relations program is more important than ever, and there are more outlets for public relations than ever before–including online review sites, Facebook and Twitter! But which modalities are working best for spas in the era of social media? Which are a waste of time? Are you in control of your brand’s reputation, or is it careening out of control? Kim Marshall, a veteran public relations professional who specializes in spa, hospitality and wellness businesses, takes you on a journey through this fast-changing, sometimes hair-raising, and highly competitive landscape.
This fun, fast-paced webinar, designed to help you separate urban myth from reality, will help you to focus on the marketing tools that “move the needle” and to avoid wasteful experiments. Find out what editors really want–including the topics that travel and beauty editors are interested (and not interested) in right now. Kim has the ear of a diverse array of media professionals, and will share with us exactly what they’re telling her! Gain a valuable understanding of the key components of a compelling public relations campaign–and an insider’s perspective on how public relations actually works–from one of the pioneers of the spa industry.
Moderated by Peggy Wynne Borgman
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone in a class or seminar say, “You know, we don’t really have that many issues in our spa–we just have people problems.”
According to a terrific new study of 1350 spa guests from Coyle Hospitality Group, “people problems” are the predominant issue in every spa. Coyle, the leading mystery shopping firm in the hospitality industry, undertook a survey to determine the most common spoilers of spa experiences.
The summary notes that, “62% of the respondents mentioned ‘People’ as a significant contributor to the bad experience…Nearly two out of every three people that have a bad experience at a spa are talking about staff behavior. This is most interesting because most spa owners feel that the quality of their staff is their most significant competitive advantage.”
This is a bad news/good news situation. As the Coyle report points out, behavioral problems, unlike issues with your plumbing, are usually inexpensive to fix. However, unlike a one-time fix, correcting people problems–and keeping them corrected–requires focus, discipline, and follow-through. It sometimes requires a cultural shift. It sometimes requires more supervision. It always requires training.
Hearing what guests actually experience is an eye-opener. The top complaint in the Coyle study? Over 100 of the respondents indicated that the “staff was not listening, responsive about special needs, or accommodating,” and 100 more felt there was “too much conversation.” 64 guests experienced “unfriendly, impersonal, robotic staff.” Others noted that they were “ignored by staff during treatment; not checked on,” and a significant number encountered, amazingly enough, “offensive, demeaning” staff. (We took pains to include some of these issues in our customer service training DVD, including role play examples of the wrong and right way to handle various conversations.)
If like many spas you’ve been focusing on promotions to get new guests in the door, there’s encouraging news–and perhaps a cautionary tale–in one statistic. “Only a total of 35 out of 1,350 respondents spoke about value…the price paid is not at the heart of the problem” for most dissatisfied guests. This rogues’ gallery of poor communication skills, in short, has more to do with a lack of repeat business than economic conditions.
This is counterintuitive during a major recession, when discretionary spending has shriveled. The new generation of social-networking discount promotion sites, like Groupon, may seem tempting to a spa with lots of empty space on its books. But focusing on quantity over quality will quickly erode any perceived value that remains for your customers. Taking the high road–staying focused on delivering a stellar guest experience–is a healthier strategy for a spa that wants to be in business in 2011.