Tag Archives: Retail

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All eyes on ‘very low GWP’ HFOs in the UK

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Refrigeration experts in the U.K. have called for the industry to embrace the potential of “lower flammability” hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) blends, as the F-Gas regulations continue to drive the European market towards lower-carbon solutions — and as the Kigali amendment begins to do the same for the global market.

The call has been driven by supermarket giant Asda (part of the Walmart group), which has successfully conducted an in-store installation with the refrigerant R454A, an HFO with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 238.

The installation is being hailed by Asda as a “world-first” in that not only has the retailer reduced its GWP, but it has achieved operational costs better than the available alternatives, such as CO2.

It is the first use in a supermarket refrigeration setting of the “very low-GWP” HFO blends that are classified as A2L or “lower flammability.”

The use of the phrase “very low GWP” is being coined for refrigerants that are only slightly outside the “ultra-low” designation of under 150 GWP.

The store in Trafford Park, Manchester, U.K., has been hailed by Asda’s head of construction and design standards Brian Churchyard as the “world’s first truly commercially viable [retail refrigeration] HFO system.”

The move is expected to have consequences for the wider industry because Asda has announced its willingness to use its work on the development of the A2L system as the platform for an industrywide standard.

Speaking at RAC’s F-Gas Question Time on Oct. 9, he said: “Our aim is to create an A2L design standard over time so any lower flammability HFO can be used…As an industry we need to appreciate that what the F-Gas regulations have given us are refrigerant options that are either flammable, toxic or explosive, so we need to mitigate the risks.”

The R454A system at Trafford Park consists of a medium temperature application under 40 kW in capacity and below the 54 kg charge limit required by European Standard EN 378, and a low temperature application of around 15 kW capacity with an 11 kg refrigerant charge.

Asda’s confidence that it has the blueprint for an A2L refrigeration system stems from the fact that the Manchester installation has only come about after comprehensive trialing on a test installation at its Leeds site. It field-tested the HFO against other refrigerant options, including its existing standard and alternatives such as carbon dioxide.

He said the key was that even with “belt and braces” mitigation of the lower flammability aspect of the HFO, the system has been achieved at a significantly lower cost versus against the alternative F-gas compliant refrigeration systems trialed by Asda over the past decade.

He said: “Further energy savings have been achieved, verified through independent evaluation, and the maintenance requirements are very familiar for the existing service engineering base.” The system reliability and safety performance are expected to mirror the retailer’s current 99.96% uptime.

One key aspect of HFO refrigeration systems is to mitigate for the risks of the A2L refrigerant. Asda has initially taken a conservative approach, Churchyard said: “As no design standard exists for commercial refrigeration using an A2L, we treated it as if it was A3 [‘flammable’, such as propane and other hydrocarbon refrigerants].”

But as the development of the system continued, Asda assembled what it describes as “a large compendium of technical detail and data, trial findings and next steps.”

He said this data has proved vital: “Asda and its technical partners are now able to confidently assess where they can safely and viably align this standard to a 2L equivalent. It is important to stress that my objective isn’t working to an R45A standard, it’s a standard for A2Ls.”

Churchyard said that the intention is to give the finished A2L standard to the Institute of Refrigeration for it to be disseminated as an industry guide for a best practice.

He said: “It is important to state that Asda is technology agnostic. This is a solution that works for our operational model now. We believe there is no single refrigerant product that offers a solution for everything.”

The retailer is also proclaiming success with another “disruptive” innovation: its Mistral-ducted display case system, which replaces refrigerant pipework with ductwork distributing cold air to the cases. The system promises to save significant time and money in maintenance.

Churchyard said: “For instance, the removal of sales floor condensate drains has eliminated a known hazard and almost all serviceable parts have been removed from the display case.”

As it rolls out the system, it has achieved 50% savings in maintenance costs, Churchyard claims, along with 40% lower refrigerant gas charge and, most significantly, an 11% reduction in energy use.

He added: “Energy consumption is key to the retailer. Around 50% of our consumption is down to refrigeration — that is by quite a long way the biggest energy user.”

A further element in Asda’s refrigeration strategy is demand side management — shutting down and restarting refrigeration systems when required, which both supports grid balancing and saves money. This initiative currently creates up to 20 MW of “virtual power,” which can support up to 80,000 homes, Churchyard said. Asda’s aim is to double this in 2020.

As the F-Gas regulation continues with annual reductions in the “quota” of HFCs available to the market — and similar reductions start to be brought in globally under the Kigali amendments — and the drive continues towards lowering GWP of refrigerants, the cooling industry has been urged to focus on reducing the energy consumption of the system.

Consultant Ray Gluckman told the F-Gas Question Time audience: “It is vital to have a balance between energy consumption and direct emissions. There is no point in having systems with reduced GWP, if the energy goes up in the process.”

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How do you help staff climb a career ladder when there isn’t one?

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One of the issues that concerns small retailers is staff turnover. Human resources is the largest expenditure a retailer has to contend with, and when you add the cost of training and a less-efficient employee during training, you want to do everything you can to reduce turnover.

But turnover is especially problematic when your staff consists mostly of entry-level employees earning minimum wage or close to that: cashiers, stockers, floor clerks, etc. What career ladder is there to motivate a cashier to stay cashiering at one store? The prospect of one day possibly getting promoted to head cashier, if there is such a position? And then what?

It doesn’t seem like much of a future or hope for a better job.

I think that’s why I’ve seen cashiers move about from one store to another, but always in a cashier position. Some retailer dangles a carrot of $0.25 more per hour, and it seems like a promotion, like you’ve somehow climbed another rung on the success ladder.

But of course, that’s not the case. It’s the same job at a different place, and that’s where that person stays until a “better offer” comes along for 10 or 20 cents more per hour. Unhappy staffer and unhappy employer in a string of entry-level jobs.

There is a way out of this endless cycle for your entry-level employees. You might not have the kind of business structure that allows you to promote them on an actual career path, but perhaps you know another business colleague that does.

Remind these entry-level employees that their dedication to a job well done will further their career if they have aspirational ambitions. Perhaps their dream is cashiering today, veterinarian tomorrow. Let them know that you could recommend them to your colleagues for their work attributes, such as punctuality, dependability, initiative, collegiality, customer service, ethics, attention to details, stick-to-itness.

Those kinds of attributes are not task-dependent and are transferable to any career. Their work ethic in being the best cashier, for example, speaks volumes about their commitment to excellence, regardless of the industry that is their end goal.

Lest you think it sounds contradictory to help your employees realize a career path as a way of reducing turnover, accept that you will have turnover one way or another. But you can help determine whether that person stays one month or one year.

By and large, humans have an innate restlessness to find something better. By letting these employees know that their time with you will fulfill that longing in a productive way, you’ve elicited a better employee experience while that person is in your employ — and at the same time, you can feel a sense of gratification that you’ve touched someone’s life in a meaningful way and set them on the path of a better future.

I know one retailer who has hired plenty of young people and who is sincerely proud when they quit to attend higher learning, whether in a technical school or college. He honestly takes joy in their accomplishments.

What about the employees who have no end goal — the ones whose idea of a future career is which store they’re stocking on the midnight shift? Those are possibly the employees you can mentor, relating from your own experiences how one mundane job, well done, led to another and another.

Your life can be the example that when you’re serious about work, a career ladder is yours for the asking, waiting for you to create it, not have it handed to you.

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The folly of ‘they’re going to buy from someone; it may as well be you’

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When I was first starting out in sales many years ago, I was advised to regard every person I encountered as a viable sales prospect. It was just a matter of me persuasively demonstrating the benefits of what I had to sell that would convert them from looking to buying. Don’t discount anyone was the wisdom; they’re going to buy something from someone, so let it be you.

I was talking with a man who used to be a used car salesman. He, too, years ago was advised by his mentor in the business to aggressively approach every person kicking tires in the lot as a viable prospect. “They’re going to buy a car from someone, somewhere, so let it be you.”

Terrible advice. First of all, not everyone who is looking is really going to buy! Some people, and I know quite a few, just enjoy window shopping.

They have no intention of buying anything from anyone; their entertainment is to simply regard all the latest gadgets and widgets. That’s their form of entertainment. Period.

And while you’re wasting time trying to showcase the amazing benefits of a particular car — or a vacation package — to someone who has no serious interest in either, you could be missing out on the serious shopper who really does intend to buy and needs your advice on which product would best fit their needs.

Then there are those consumers who really do intend to buy but are not interested in the best product that meets their needs but the cheapest product. Those are the real time-wasters. They’ll fritter your time “picking your brains” to get the information they’re seeking, then likewise waste the time of all your competitors, too, until finally, they find it somewhere for the cheapest price, usually online. You’ve been used and have nothing to show for it.

When I get a phone call from a stranger, and the first words out of their mouth are, “Can I pick your brains on what might be a good honeymoon destination?” I know what they’re up to.

They plan on using me as a quick and free library resource so they can scout online for a cheap price my suggested destinations and hotels (without figuring in the value of my expertise). I have learned to weed them out by offering a consultation for X amount of dollars. That usually brings about a quick end to my “brain picking.”

What about the consumers who show up and announce, “Who wants to sell me a car?” Uh, let me avoid the stampede. If “nobody” wants to sell him a car, it’s probably for a good reason — like he’s a pain to work with and/or he doesn’t have the ability to buy a snow cone.

I had a gal call me recently who whined, “no travel agent will call me back.” Why not? Travel agents are happy to work with serious future vacationers. I learned the hard way why nobody would call her back: she was more problem than she was worth — and rude to boot. I wish I had been smart enough to be one of those travel agents who hadn’t called her back!

The upshot is that there’s a difference between indiscriminately discounting a viable shopper and treating all potential encounters as worthy of pursuit. Your time, your frustration, and your livelihood depend on finding that balance.

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When you’re too keen to make a sale at any cost

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It’s happened to me, and maybe it’s happened to you. You’re so keen to make a sale that you overrule the warning signs your gut is giving you.

I recently fielded a phone call from a distressed woman who needed help planning a honeymoon, but no other travel agents would speak with her. My first thought was, “Are you that much of a pain in the neck that no one will talk with you?” And as fast as that thought entered my head, it fled. Why didn’t I listen to myself?

After a week of working with this woman, spending countless hours of revisions on a honeymoon for no ultimate payoff, I realized how much smarter the other travel agents were for bypassing this woman as a client. Why did I ignore my gut and work a week for free on this noncustomer?

Well, I thought I could make a sale where others couldn’t, frankly. So keen to make a sale that I forgot to consider whether I even wanted this woman as a client.

A local hardware store manager told me recently that she had spent a good hour explaining the workings of a high-end barbeque grill and smoker to a browsing, interested customer.

Answered all his questions. Gave him recipes. Detailed the differences between this model and that model. He said he would think about it while he was out of town for a couple of days.

He was a phony. He actually spent the next day shopping competitors. He called the store manager, and the first words out of his mouth were, “The store down the street is willing to give me this and that. What are you going to give me?”

The manager related to me that then and there she knew she should have told him to take the offer from the other store. But no, keen to make a sale, she added this perk and that one.

He ended up buying the product online from a competitor, not at the store where he had consumed so much energy. And yet, when he decided he didn’t like the product after all, he called this manager—from the store where he did not buy the item — to see if they would return it for him to save him shipping charges.

The manager said to me, “I knew he was going to be trouble as soon as he asked what we were going to do for him. Why did I go out of my way to help this noncustomer?”

Why indeed.

Maybe it’s the competitive spirit inherent in many entrepreneurs. That sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when you ace a sale, finalize a contract, surpass your sales goals.

Maybe it’s ego. That sense that I can accomplish what others can’t. That’s dangerous ground to be on as it can cloud your judgment, as it did me.

But when you’re keen to make a sale at any price, I’ve learned that “any price” can be too much to pay.

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Grooming women leaders in retail

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Retail is often a first and safe stop for women entering or returning to the workforce because there is normally a low barrier to entry, flexible hours and, in some cases, a discount or service benefit for employees in addition to salary.

The problem is that advancement within the space can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Here are some ways to overcome those challenges and help more women grow into leaders.

The research

The studies and data summarized in this Harvard Business Review article make the case for more female leaders in retail and illustrate the efforts by large chains to reach gender parity across levels within their organizations. The authors summarize the 12 steps they show are critical to supporting the space, growth and development of women leaders in retail.

The practical challenge for smaller retail organization is finding a way to implement the extensive plan. In such cases where the lack of resources or simple size make the approach prohibitive, focusing on the three concepts can help.

Specifically, the authors recommend the following:

·Establish clear leadership commitment and accountability for gender equity.

·Implement employee-focused policies, benefits, and supports that advance gender equity.

·Provide structured career development for women.

The plan

By taking a more general approach to start, retailers of any size can begin to map out practical ways to help support the growth of women leaders within their organization.

For example, while creating a diversity task force may not be a practical first step for a smaller organization, simply committing to being held accountable for equity starts the conversation. Talking to employees about what that means to them or how it looks can result in a more responsive approach and a concrete first step.

Similarly, while it may be too expensive right now to implement a paid leave program, exploring the benefits provided by the employee assistance program and ensuring policies are updated and supported by all local and national leave laws are great, basic ways to start moving the organization in the right direction.

Finally, providing structured career development for women is critical to their growth across industries. Doing so in a small retail environment can again prove challenging because of a lack of resources (which could include a lack of time, money or even women to support).

In this case, it is critical to look at the challenges that prevent the organization from formally supporting its female employees. By understanding those limitations, we can look at addressing a specific problem and continue to make steps in the right direction.

The bottom line is that perfect cannot be the enemy of good. We can all agree that supporting women leaders in retail is good for everyone. We can likely agree, too, that the 12 steps articulated in the research are the way to make it happen.

However, smaller retail organizations are often challenged by fundamental issues like not having the internal resources or structure to implement the steps or even enough female employees to support. Instead of letting those obstacles stop great ideas from ever starting, take a step back and address the fundamentals that will give the organization the foundation to grow more supportive programs.

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Sears continues to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic

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Sears Roebuck, the embattled retail giant, recently unveiled a new logo designed to broaden its appeal to its core consumers. Unfortunately, what Sears had intended to appear as a combination of home and heart looks amazingly like the Airbnb logo.

We can wonder why no one involved with what was likely an extremely expensive redesign process thought to look and make sure the logo was unique, but there’s a bigger question: Why on earth is Sears redoing its logo now anyway?

The company has been on a downhill slide for a number of years, losing both money and market share since the merger with Kmart 15 years ago. Various strategies to get back on track have failed dismally.

Changing the logo is a typical tactic for companies in trouble. And, typically, it doesn’t work when the organization has the deep-seated problems of a company like Sears.

The sad part is that this didn’t have to happen. Sears had all the right pieces in place to succeed — even to be Amazon — long before Amazon even existed:

  • Sears had a physical presence in every community in America.
  • It had a direct marketing method (catalogs) that reached most Americans on a regular basis.
  • It had the clout and buying power to drive suppliers and brands to come along with them.
  • And, most importantly, it had the confidence and trust of their targeted customer base.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Sears was so busy being Sears that the company couldn’t see outside of the box. Even as Amazon began to evolve from an online bookstore to a full service online merchant, and Target and Walmart stole customers with a better value proposition for shoppers, Sears doubled down on its existing strategy.

It was the cornerstone of the American mall and it intended to stay that way — despite the fact that the American mall is now a virtual, online presence.

Where are we today? Amazon has usurped the position of Sears and many other brick-and-mortar retailers. Not only does it offer a selection of goods that can’t be matched by any other retailer, it has thrown in free shipping with Prime, automatic reordering with Dash, grocery deliveries with AmazonFresh, digital content delivery, and additional services introduced on a regular basis.

Amazon didn’t invent the retailing concepts behind these services. The genesis for most of them came from old-school retailers like Sears, J.C. Penney, and even Kmart. Amazon just figured out how to apply those concepts to the 21st-century digital world in a new and better way than anyone else.

And Sears? It is practically on life support as it continues to hemorrhage cash and search for a place to fit in today’s retailing world.

There was a time when people trusted Sears enough to even buy build-it-yourself home kits from the company — selling more than 70,000 home kits between 1908 and 1940. Today, instead of sailing ahead of the competition, Sears appears to be focused on rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But those chairs all have a nice bright new logo.

Image: CNN

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3 ways to better manage retail sales staffing

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The best business schools have always praised two things: efficiency and numbers. So, in retail, when sales go down, it makes sense to cut staff and hours, right? And from this “cut” mindset, we look for minimums: how few people do we need to stay open? What other costs can we cut to save money?

Then, when we look at the bottom line, we see results from doing this and continue the same behaviors. However, this approach is not sustainable, and it excludes consideration of critical data that is less easy to measure but just as impactful on the bottom line.

Instead of continuing to cut, here are a few considerations to better manage sales staffing.

Hello, data

We have schedules, sales results and POS details — it is time to start looking at this data differently. Instead of looking at minimums, use the date to find out how many team members must be available to maximize sales.

Get a firm grip on sales trends as the day progresses and compare similar situations to answer to determine the sweet spot between sales person presence and increase sales.

In addition, we must realize all locations are not the same. Competition, hours, physical layout, flow, and the local community may make staffing requirements vary even if we only have a couple of locations.

By understanding the positive impact staff presence can have on sales and noting that that presence might translate differently in different locations, we can mine our existing data to understand the positive impact adding staff can have instead of just the cost impact of cutting staff.

(For detailed methodologies on crunching the numbers and to geek out on research around the positive impact of sales person presence, check out this research from HBR.)

Oh, the choices!

In addition to data, sales success is all about differentiators. We must start looking at what our experience offers the customer as a basis for understanding the variables we can directly impact to make that experience better.

For example, if it is just as easy for someone to go to our location as a competitors’, or buy online instead of coming in, our experienced salespeople can be a competitive differentiator. Consider the basic difference between visiting an Ace Hardware store and a Home Depot.

While it may be possible to pay less at a big box competitor, a local, knowledgeable team may provide more value and a more positive experience.

The bottom line is, by revisiting data we have already collected, we can expand our understanding of customer flow and the relationship between staffing and sales. We can use this data going forward to look at staffing maximums instead of minimums and then exploit the in-person experience as a differentiator from both larger competitors and online retailers.

Numbers and efficiency are critical components of managing costs, but maximizing staff impact on sales instead of minimizing staff impact on costs can be an important shift to achieve better numbers.

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What’s old is new again in retail for 2019

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Regardless of age or profession, every citizen in a small town understands retail’s fundamental principles: trust, word of mouth and network.

As Amazon, voice-controlled devices, and smart homes change the way consumers and retail interact, these fundamental principles of human interaction will continue to become more important.

Here are three old practices that will enjoy renewed importance in the year to come.


As technology simplifies and expands our reach, it will simultaneously make our interpersonal interactions more important. Social media has captured our attention because of its ability to so quickly convey timely information, both positive (flash sales, new product launches, etc.) and negative (bad reviews, recalls, etc.).

However, the importance of social media notwithstanding, it is critical for physical shop owners to double down on the in-person experience.

Whether we run a flower shop or grocery store, the community that walks in to our business every day deserve our priority. To do so, we have to figure out what it is we offer them that they would miss if we were gone.

Is it convenience? Service? Product line? Seth Godin, the master of all things marketing, notes simply in this Entrepreneur article and his new book: “This is Marketing,” that we must ensure we are not “hunting” for attention, but rather working to “attract” it.

Thus, first we must figure out what differentiates us to our core customers and build on the characteristics that continue to attract them.

Word of Mouth

The next step is to leverage both social media and our core customer base to maximize word of mouth.

One excellent way brick-and-mortar stores can do this that others cannot is by emphasizing the differentiator that is a physical storefront. In other words, to get people to drive instead of surf, our stores must provide a compelling experience.

Looking to the extremes can provide hints and trends as to best practices in this area. For example, Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, is adamant that her core product, cupcakes, are best when experienced in-person, in the shop.

She has likened visiting one of her stores to a pilgrimage and instead of shipping cupcakes, Sprinkles only distributes a limited number of mixes. This reinforces the importance of both her core product and her storefronts.

Thus, the next step: get clear on ways to make the in-person experience definable, unique and memorable so that we can continue to reinforce it to our core customers and in our social media.


Finally, rethinking our networks is another basic worth revisiting. Like those small-town principles, there may be local relationships tarnished by something done long ago; relationships never started because of some now-forgotten slight; or new roads not taken simply because they are new.

In each case, to maximize the impact of the in-person experience, we have to reconsider our current network and look in both old and new places for ways to expand partnerships, referrals and other mutually beneficial relationships.

The bottom line is: while technology continues to propel us into more relationships, faster; the underlying retail trend for 2019 will be the focus on optimizing our storefronts’ in-person relationship differentiators to strengthen the mutually beneficial relationships we have with our customers.

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No thanks — I have enough customers

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A business has to walk a delicate line between serving existing customers and prospecting for new ones. It’s hard enough when you have a big company with distinct departments to handle the unique needs of each.

But when you’re a mom-and-pop operation or a solo entrepreneur, those challenges are magnified. And if you decide you can’t take care of your customers and solicit new ones at the same time, the repercussions for ignoring one of those constituencies are negative.

Choose to serve existing customers only, and you’ll find, one day, you have no fresh pool of people who need your services.

Concentrate on prospecting for new customers at the expense of serving current customers, and you’ll leave a wake of dissatisfied customers whose negative reviews thwart any ability to find new ones.

A neighbor of mine was pleased with her contractor’s remodeling project on her house and referred him to all her friends. A solo operator, he became overwhelmingly busy with all those referrals and eventually stopped answering his phone; he was too busy to bother with new requests.

Friends reported back to my neighbor that they had called this fellow repeatedly with no answer or callback, and they eventually used different contractors.

Fast forward eight months, and this same contractor was knocking on my neighbor’s door, asking for business. He had exhausted his current supply of customers, had no prospects waiting in the wings, and had burned bridges with all those referrals he had ignored.

A professional handyman struggled with this same challenge. As a one-man operation, he couldn’t answer phone calls from prospective customers if he was on a roof or crawling under a house doing work for existing customers. Realizing that he was losing future business, he bartered services with another entrepreneur who could answer phone calls and set appointments for him.

A friend recently was disappointed with a specialty food product whose label touted its family business where love, pride, and quality organic ingredients were the mainstays of their foods. So disappointed that this product did not fulfill expectations, he figured that that particular item had escaped quality controls, so he sent photos and the lot number to help them figure out why this product was missing key ingredients.

The company’s response was that was the way the product was supposed to be, that others liked it, and they guessed that he just didn’t like their product. No explanation why the product didn’t match the package photo or description.

No suggestion to try one of their other products. Just a terse, “others like our product, and we guess you don’t.” In other words, “we have enough customers, thank you, so we don’t need you.”

I am reminded of an old business lesson about a food retailer who did a hefty business in selling fresh fish that was procured daily. A customer told him that he should sell fresh fish, which surprised him.

He explained that their fish was indeed fresh, and their supply came in daily. She didn’t believe him. Now, at this point, many of us would have simply discarded that customers’ arguments as silly — after all, the store already did quite a brisk business in fish, and they didn’t need this one customer buying its fish.

Pressing the issue, he asked why she thought their fish wasn’t fresh, and she replied that “everyone knows fresh fish is on ice, not in plastic wrapped packages.”

Deciding that “enough” customers were not enough, he experimented the next day with putting that day’s catch on ice. Sales skyrocketed.

Every business needs to serve existing clientele while at the same time market for new ones. “Enough customers” today might mean no customers tomorrow.

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New year, new skin for your spa clients

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Our clients will certainly be setting goals and New Year’s resolutions for 2019: starting a new exercise routine, a dietary cleanse, or perhaps a goal to finally give themselves the skin that they always wanted.

We, as spa industry professionals, should be several steps ahead of them and ready to guide them in the right direction when it comes to making major improvements in their skin for this upcoming year. Follow my expert tips below and help your clients transform their skin in 2019.

Start the conversation about skin transformation.

Whether you are motivating existing clients or working with new ones, be sure to get crystal clear about what your spa can do for them in terms of creating noticeable changes in their skin. Ownership, management and staff should meet and chat about how they can present the spa’s greatest service and product offerings in a concise and meaningful way.

If you are a laser center, for instance, you will want to brainstorm ideas for promoting certain machines and bring awareness about their efficacy and results. Be sure that clients understand the technology and can see helpful before and after photos that show significant changes in the skin. Clients respond best to visual cues via photos and videos.

If your spa has more of a holistic and natural focus, then invite clients to experience a treatment that will pamper them mind, body and skin in a new and integrative way. Many clients are looking for skin care routines that create lasting results but also facilitate relaxation and tranquility.

So be sure to talk about what your services can offer them if they are more wellness-minded and looking for a new self-care routine in the new year.

The key takeaway, here: answer existing and new clients’ questions before they have to ask them. Spell out precisely what your spa can do to address their concerns so they will come to you in the new year for all of their skincare needs.

Customize a care plan.

The new year is a great time to revisit care plans for existing clients and set up novel and exciting care plans for new clients. Revisit your current client charts and make sure you have updated photos, intake forms and demographic information.

Look at their purchase histories for services and retail products and see if it has been a while since they came in or replenished their skincare. The new year is an opportune time to start a new and fresh regimen and reconnect with clients who are looking for a skincare reboot.

For new clients, create a short term and long-term treatment plan: one for the first 90 days and one for the rest of the year. It’s important to get them started with products and services that will give them a jump-start — see what works and what doesn’t — then proceed with a regular monthly plan for the rest of the year.

In the first 90 days you can see how clients do with their homecare and if they stick to a treatment plan of in-spa services. After that, I usually advise my clients that we can start to modify their plan and get a bit more aggressive with their treatments after getting to know their skin.

Reach out and advertise.

Whether you prefer to reach out to your current and prospective clients via email, social media, postcards or radio/TV ads, be sure to create a brand presence in the new year. Once again, clients are looking to make changes to their health and wellness routines and will be pleased to see information about your business.

Perhaps you can offer free consultations and skin analyses. Consider what product starter kits or packages of services you could offer that would entice them to come in. Incentives for pre-booking multiple appointments are also great ways to get people in the door.

Informative presentations and seminars are a huge hit especially if you do live demonstrations of services. Think about interactive ways to invite new and existing clients into your space.

As always, work with your trusted product and equipment vendors to arrange for visual displays, free products and live demonstrations around the spa. Very often, they have a budget for events like these and will be happy to assist you in creating a fun and attention-grabbing live event in your spa.

If you are hoping to attract new business to your spa this new year, then have a solid plan in place now. Create a buzz for new and existing clients by getting very clear on what your spa can offer them to transform their skin.

Invite clients in for customized sessions to discuss a transformative care plan for them that includes professional services and products. And spend some time and money advertising in the new year to enhance your brand’s presence so that those looking to make changes to their skin will know where to find you.

These three simple tricks will bolster your business and start the new year off to a lucrative and exciting start!

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