So, you heard selling retail would help you grow your revenue, and thus, your profits.
That’s absolutely true, but perhaps what you didn’t take into account is that while selling retail does allow you to drive up the potential (and recurring) revenue you stand to earn with your pre-existing clientele, it’s not a totally passive process.
You’re investing extra time to analyze your client’s skin, craft a custom regimen and then recommending and educating them on retail products.
And while you might close the sale on their initial retail purchase in your spa, often your client ends up going to Amazon or Dermstore for their next retail purchases.
So here you are having invested all the extra time and effort without seeing any of the return on that investment. Not only is that discouraging, but it’s maddening since your small business isn’t being supported. We totally get it!
But rather than throwing in the towel on retail, we want to help you see the alternative solutions.
With these solutions, you’ll not only solve the primary problem that’s keeping your clients from buying or re-ordering your products, but you’ll also save yourself significant time on the admin side of selling retail. Let’s explore your options!
1) Create an E-Commerce Store
Creating an e-commerce store with your products is the be-all-end-all for your retail woes when it comes to clients deferring to a third-party source for their skincare products, and that’s because convenience is everything for today’s consumer.
Many of us want immediate gratification, and we also don’t have any more time to add yet another errand or to-do to our list. Therefore, if something we need can be bought with just a simple click or two versus making a special trip or planning to swing by after work (and hoping they don’t get caught in traffic), you can bet that order is going to get placed online.
However, if you provide your clients with that simple couple-click solution, there’s no reason for them not to buy from you.
They’re already your client, they already know, like and trust you, and you can easily get things set up so that they never have to think about ordering their skincare (consider crafting auto-payment and shipping solutions at intervals where your clients would need a refill).
Not only does this save you time since you won’t need to worry about coordinating schedules to set up a time where your client can come in to get their products (and potentially missing out on revenue you can earn from performing a treatment), but it also better suits the needs of your client.
At the end of the day, that’s our ultimate goal in business: to make our client’s lives better.
Some simple options for creating your e-commerce store include Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace.
We can personally recommend Shopify and find that their customer support is top-notch. They’re always happy to help you with creating your shop or refer a professional if you are looking to delegate this task to someone who specializes in web design.
2) Outsource Packing and Shipping
Now being the savvy esty we know you are, you probably just thought, “Yes, an e-commerce store! But wait, now I have to think about packing and shipping, and that just adds more things to my to-do list.”
On one hand, yes. There are new to-dos associated with an e-commerce store, but let’s frame it this way: if you can cause a significant increase in revenue with your retail sales through an e-commerce store, you can monetarily afford to open up an hour of your schedule a few days a week to step away from treatments and fulfill orders (which is where we suggest starting).
On the other hand, an e-commerce store doesn’t have to take up much more of your time if you choose to outsource your packing and shipping.
USPS makes packing and shipping a breeze by giving you the ability to order all of your supplies such as priority rate boxes, tape, and labels for free through their website as well as arranging a daily pick-up of packages (at no additional cost) at your specified location.
FedEx and UPS also offer similar solutions but will require your clients to pay a bit more in shipping and handling.
With these solutions, you’ll still need to take time to put together orders, but don’t need to worry about post office hassle.
However, once your clients know about your e-commerce and orders start coming in consistently, Once your clients know that this ordering option is available, you may get busy enough to create another job!
Try reaching out to your local esthetic program to find a hungry-to-learn intern or look into hiring an assistant who can handle some simple tasks including preparing your online orders for shipping.
3) Use an E-Commerce Fulfillment Center
Finally, if you don’t want any of the responsibility of managing your e-commerce operations, you can hand all of that responsibility over to an e-commerce fulfillment center.
With a fulfillment center, they’ll hold onto your inventory and have an integrated system with your e-commerce store that allows them to process and ship orders for you.
Talk about easy!
We recommend ShipBob since not only are they a great company to work with, but you also maintain control over inventory and even have the capability to add special details to the orders that you may not have had time to do yourself such as thank you notes, pretty gift wrapping, fun stickers, just to name a few.
So, what do you have to lose?
That was a rhetorical question; the answer is next to nothing!
With a small upfront investment of a little time, effort, and money to get your shop up and running, you stand to earn a significant boost in your revenue without taking up much more (if any) of your time, so don’t be afraid of change!
This is what entrepreneurs are referring to when they say they “make money while they sleep.” But more important than your beauty sleep, e-commerce can truly provide you with the freedom you desire whether that’s finally leaving your 9-to-5 or growing your esthetic practice beyond a solo operation.