August 2010

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


Displays on a Dime…

I used to think that doing displays had to be an expensive proposition, and way beyond my budget. I learned a lot when I had the good fortune to have a long established, high-end jeweler next door to my clinic. The clever display person could take the simplest items and turn them into elegant, eye-catching displays.

Whether you have window displays, point of sale displays or impulse displays, you can create inviting, sales-resulting focal points.

Window displays are the largest of the displays we may have available. If your facility does not have window displays, is there a central area in your business complex where a display could be placed? Consider working with other businesses in the complex to create a mutually beneficial display concept, for example, beauty is a great concept for the summer months.

A boutique, salon, optician, household supply store, bookstore, furniture store and shoe store could all contribute appropriate signage so the client knows where to find the merchandise. What could you use? Displays are all about “possibilitizing,” getting creative and networking to mutual benefit.

Points of sale displays are smaller and designed to stimulate the buyer to learn about a product and then purchase it. Skin care displays with “shelf talkers” fall into this category. Those little “talkers” do the client education for you and have the client making their purchase selections while waiting for you to finish preparing their treatment room. These displays often include makeup collections that are so inviting clients want to learn more. Points of sale displays are found at or on your way to the checkout counter.

Special occasion or holiday displays also fall into this category. In our facilities, these might include seasonal products or gift certificates. If you need plastic props, check the recycle centers and display supply houses that offer both new and used items, and check online sales lists.

Your product manufacturer may provide point of sale displays, and most are designed to promote a specific brand. This allows the cost of the display to be spread across a broad cross section, keeping the cost to the retailer down.

Impulse displays often sit on the checkout counter and you see the item and decide to purchase it. At the grocery store, these are the magazines, gum and candy that haunt you on your way to the register. Many office supplies, computer supply and other large vendors have created a virtual obstacle course of impulse items you must traverse to get to the checkout area. It works, or they would not do it.

So how can we take advantage of these known sales techniques? First, consider your check out area. Is your retail section close to the check out area? Is it inviting and informative? What is the display footage available on the check out counter? It is usually quite small but it can still be very effective. For example, for summer it can be something as simple as a small tray piled with a little sand, sprinkled with a few glass marbles and nested with SPF products accented with a pair of sunglasses. The SPF bottles will be secured in the sand, but are also easily removed. For winter, it might be a champagne class with a gift certificate in it. The message is simple and clear, and that is a key point. Keep it simple and the message clear.

Maybe your salon has a boutique of some jewelry and accessories. A clever, inexpensive way to display them is to find a slender branch whose size is appropriate to your display area. Remove all its leaves and spray paint it an appropriate color for the season, perhaps add a little glitter before it dries. Once dried, brace it in a vase or using a little floral putty, and when set, hang your jewelry from it.

In a clinic, we have many places that people may pause, and during that pause, have time to reflect on a strategically placed display. Consider a small shelf in an area of the treatment room visible from where the client changes. It might be your product of the month or an 8 x 11 flyer in plastic frame featuring a specialty treatment.

Another good location for this is where the hair dryers are located. It can get boring under that dryer, so be sure to offer informative marketing options. Restrooms are also a great marketing opportunity. It is another place where we pause, the mind and our gaze wanders and fixes on the most interesting focal point, hopefully a clever, informative skin care tip, treatment or product.

It is critical that we change all displays routinely to look fresh and inviting for clients. If your clients visit you an average of once every month, then this is how often you should update the displays. If in doubt, look at what the makeup sections at the department stores do. Follow their lead; they have literally spent millions on it.

A good way to collect ideas is to travel with a camera. Stop and snap a picture of whatever it is that catches your eye, even if it is not specifically related to the beauty industry. While you may not duplicate their vision, it may inspire you to create your own display on a dime.

Judith Culp, a CIDESCO Diplomat has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. A CPCP permanent makeup technician for over 18 years she served a 4-year term as a Director for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, two years as their president. She is president of Culp Enterprises Inc. and CEO of NW Institute of Esthetics. Judy Culp is available for consulting. For more information visit