As we all know, the retail spa industry saw unprecedented momentum in 2020. Now, as we move into the second quarter of 2021, that interest appears very far from dying off. But the savvy spa retailer knows that no matter what market you’re in, the key to long-term growth is looking forward beyond the current sales peak―or sales dip.
Most retailers can attest: reliably positive sales growth is a moving target. And one of the time-tested best ways of zeroing in on that bullseye is through promotional events.
Making sure that your promotional events are on the mark will help ensure continued revenue development, no matter what highs or lows the year may bring.
Homing In On Promotional Events
Promotional events are a tried-and-true method of moving a potential customer from mere product awareness into the relationship and sales phases of a purchase. But first the event must be calibrated correctly. Dialing in the overall theme, the messaging, and the offer itself will yield positive results and make for a smoother overall experience for both the customer and the retailer.
Making Sure Your Theme Is On-Target
No one needs to be told that demand is at an all-time high. We’re all painfully aware of the longer lead times and lower levels of inventory on the showroom floor. While many customers come into the store armed with knowledge, it’s still important to focus on education. Informing both past and potential customers of the delays is crucial and it serves the purpose of letting them know, up-front, what the expected wait time will be.
With this in mind, limited time messaging can be effective, but it might not work best as the theme of the sale. Rather, limited time offers can be pivoted to focusing on the order window (e.g., Order now, during the sale) rather than the expectation of delivery.
Jim Ferguson, the Southwest Regional Sales Manager for Bullfrog Spas, advises to be wary of creating false expectations while also choosing to focus on the positives of the new-spa experience. Specificity and customer engagement can be useful tools towards cultivating an informed and reality-driven consumer. “Yes,” Ferguson counsels potential buyers, “there may be a longer wait to get your spa, but the value and enjoyment will be more than worth it.”
Combining customer education with upcoming calendar events is a helpful way to avoid future order cancellations while also developing your sales funnel. Examples could include a ‘Plan-For-the-Future Sale’ or a ‘Holiday Season Sale.’ Both let customers know that thinking ahead is key while also creating a limited-time promotional window for taking orders, increasing urgency.
Making Sure Your Promotional Messaging Is On-Target
Customer education remains a critical component of hitting that promotional bullseye. Specific messaging could seek to focus on consumer engagement and awareness. Along these lines, creating a sense of urgency in prospective buyers not only can drive sales, but it also reaffirms the importance of getting in early and ordering now, ahead of time.
Specific wording is up to you and your team of experts but a combination of these three messages can produce significant results when used in customer communications, advertisements, and promotional events:
- The demand for a spa is higher than ever.
- Limited inventory and longer lead times equal scarcity.
- Ordering now will not only take advantage of the promotion, but the sooner you order, the sooner you’ll be soaking in your new spa.
Really, the heart of the messaging can be boiled down to two simple words: Order Now!
Making Sure Your Offer Is On-Target
Purchasing a spa is a big investment―one that few take lightly―so savings offers are always attractive to potential customers. But given the current large-scale demand, an offer based around saving at the register may not be immediately necessary.
Instead, you might consider a promotion focusing on financing. Or how about free accessories or chemicals with every purchase? No-hassle maintenance for a year? The options are endless.
Keeping the customer engaged in the sale is key. Ferguson told of one retailer who closed a sale with the offer of a free audio system upgrade based upon the extended lead times. Another suggestion was a free new cover within five years of purchasing. “What’s a stereo or a cover compared to a sale and a customer for life?” Ferguson asks. These relatively small allowances go a long way in the consumer’s mind toward developing brand advocacy and loyalty, long before a customer ever sees their spa.
Just be aware that keeping it fresh is paramount. Repeating the same promotional offer over successive events should be avoided. Variety is the spice of life.
Tips for Pinpointing Your Promotional Aim
In case it’s not already abundantly clear, customer engagement is king, and time-sensitive promotions can provide you with several opportunities for consumer connection:
- The first step is the initial announcement of the offer.
- The second step might be a “Final Week to Order” or “Last Chance to Save,” creating continued urgency.
- The third step, if the promotion is a success, could be something like “Deadline Extended” or “Extended by Popular Demand,” allowing fence-sitters or late-comers that last chance to get their order in.
In today’s age there are countless avenues to drive traffic. Consider giving one of these a try:
- Facebook, YouTube, and Google all offer geo-locating ads to help dial in promotions based upon zip code locations or income level.
- The Post Office―along with many other direct mail marketing companies―offers direct mail services which can be a refreshing departure from the cluttered email inbox of today.
- Consider quizzes, surveys, or personalized email campaigns designed to reach potential customers on a more individualized level. These can open doors wide for that all-important goal of customer engagement.
- Live video events can be scheduled through Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. Envision a live event showing off all the benefits of a smashing promotion, a soothing soak, or a can’t-miss sale.
Just remember that Gartner, the global research and advisory firm, found that 80% of all brands expect to compete mainly on the front of customer experience. This includes promotional and marketing events as well. Prioritizing and individualizing your customer’s (and potential customer’s) experience at every buying stage will ensure their journey from awareness to relationship-building to sale and beyond will be smooth, consistent, and enjoyable.