Business

How to Build a Strategic Retail Program

By July 3, 2019 No Comments

Do you know your retail to service ratio?  

Are your retail sales accounting for 15-20% of your overall monthly revenue?

If you answered no to either of those questions, a one-on-one Strategy Call with Terri can help you: 

  • Determine your target ratio
  • Evaluate your retail sales strategy
  • Experience explosive growth in your retail revenue 

Book your Strategy Session now – It’s the best $500 you’ll ever spend!  And as we celebrate the 4th of July this holiday weekend, Terri is extending a special discount. Use code (JULY4) and get $100 off.  Can you really afford not to? 

BOOK NOW

In the meantime, here is some valuable, practical advice to help you Build a Strategic Retail Program.

Incorporating retail products in your medical aesthetic office can substantially strengthen your sales program, increase patient satisfaction, boost profitability and increase patient retention.  All things vital to patient outcomes and a healthy practice.

The key to a successful retail program is to focus on products that compliment your treatments and services. Don’t try to be a one-stop-shop. Carefully define what products will augment laser skin resurfacing, body contouring or skin tightening; research the options; have the reps come in and do an in-service; and ask to evaluate the products in addition to understanding the numbers and the support the company offers. 

Once you’ve selected your vendors and the lines you want to carry (my recommendation is no more than 3-4 skus) then spend the time and resources necessary to train your staff and integrate the products into your personalized treatment plans and services. ABE – always be educating.  If you’re not, or your team is not, stats show your patients will go to a department store or CVS and buy products, which obviously do not add value. After you’ve launched your retail program, follow up on the numbers and make adjustments as necessary to fine tune and maximize profitability.

1. Define your niche.

The most important step in building a successful retail program is defining your niche. Just as you seek to define your niche in the world of medical aesthetic offices through specialized treatments and services, you should seek to define your niche in the products you offer. The products you choose should be carefully tailored to your treatment plans. Don’t try to offer every product on the market. This will overwhelm your patients and will negatively impact your retail profitability. Why? Because patients will feel less like they are being offered a product to enhance their specialized treatment, and more like they are being sold as many products as possible to increase their overall expenses. When you hone in on a specific retail line, you give patients the impression that you have carefully selected a product that will complement their services, leading to increased patient satisfaction and trust. By focusing on a particular product line, you also give your staff the opportunity to really learn the products, applications, and relevant technology. Their ability to answer patient questions accurately and thoughtfully is critical and will further enhance the patient experience.

2. Research the options.

Conduct careful and thorough research of potential retail partners, their products, and their current relationships with other offices. Once you’ve honed in on a specific type of product, take note of how many retailers offer that product and what types of products are typically offered in parallel. When choosing a vendor, prioritize product quality and partnership satisfaction. Product quality is crucial—what you offer patients in your office will reflect on the overall quality of your services. And your goal is to offer the best patient experience possible. Equally as important is partnership satisfaction. How easy is the vendor to work with? How frequently are they willing to deliver and replenish inventory? What are the potential mark-ups on each product? Is there any opportunity to grow with the vendor and expand as demand increases? What educational support do they offer?  Are there minimum quantities, do they buy back? These are key details to know in advance of making any binding commitments with potential vendors. Read more about how to choose the right vendor in this article from business.org: https://www.business.org/software/supplier/how-to-choose-the-right-supplier-for-your-business/. The vendor you choose should have a strong record of sales, customer reviews, and partner relationships.

3. Evaluate the numbers.

Once you’ve identified a few vendors, you’ll want to dig deeper into the numbers. What types of products offer the highest profitability in the medical aesthetic office market? What products offer patients the best outcomes both in combination and stand alone.  What are the profit margins for some of the key products in each retail line you’ve targeted? What is a typical quarterly ROI? While some of these numbers are relatively straightforward to calculate, others may be more difficult to pinpoint and will require careful research. A key part of your investigation should be based on patient satisfaction. After all, even if profitability on a product is historically high, you must first sell the product to make a profit. Research how well customers respond to specific products offered by each vendor and calculate an estimate of overall satisfaction. It may also be beneficial to reach out to other medical aesthetic offices that offer specific products and request a rough estimate of patient satisfaction. What percentage of patients who buy this product review it positively? Would they recommend it to a friend or colleague? How many times have they purchased the product over the last year? How many products does a patient purchase, on average? Some of these numbers may be provided by the vendor themselves, particularly if they are a more established entity. Though careful research takes time, it will be worth your investment to evaluate potential vendors by the numbers before making a commitment.

4. Manage your relationship with vendors.

Once you’ve identified the vendors you want to work with, your next step is to establish and maintain a healthy relationship with this business partner. First, make sure any contractual agreements signed are mutually beneficial. In most cases they will be, because you have parallel goals—to satisfy patients and sell products. Because product prices can fluctuate with the market, you may want to request written confirmation that the price will not fluctuate more than a maximum allowable percentage, based on your evaluation of profitability. The most important part of managing your relationship with vendors is to maintain transparency. Pass along feedback on their products from your patients, whether it be positive or negative. They may be able to expand a specific line or improve upon existing products to better satisfy patients in your office. The goal is to grow together. If your sales program is performing exceedingly well, they will be able to learn from you. If your sales have become stagnant, they may be able to offer tips on how to boost your marketing program and may even provide literature or product demonstrations to increase your success with the product. Seek to establish and maintain a positive, honest, and mutually beneficial relationship with your vendor.

5. Integrate products into your treatment plans.

Aside from product quality and vendor relations, the most important part of a successful retail program is how well you integrate product lines into your treatment plans and services. Create in-house literature to support the products you offer, i.e. pamphlets, posters, and quarterly newsletters. Include the expert opinion of physicians, as well as positive feedback from patients who have already tried the products in your office. You want to give your patients the impression that these products will enhance their overall experience and the success of the treatments they receive. If a specific product has been shown to increase the effectiveness of a certain treatment or prolong the effects of a certain service, emphasize that in your marketing plan. In short, the product line you’ve chosen to sell should not stand alone in the back corner of your waiting area. Spotlight the products by featuring them in personalized treatment plans and monthly specials. A successfully integrated retail program will enhance the overall patient experience, resulting in increased patient satisfaction and increased profitability.

6. Train your staff.

The success of your retail program is directly proportional to how well your staff is trained. As I discuss in my LAER model of staff training, it is critical that every member of your staff listens to and engages your patient population. They should be intimately familiar with the personalized treatment plans and services you offer. When you launch a retail program, invest in staff training. A well-trained staff will have a thorough understanding of your products, how they will be incorporated into your treatment plans, and how they compare to similar products on the market. The goal is to inform your staff so they can inform your patients. When a patient asks about a specific product, they should receive a well-informed, positive response. Not only will this help to increase trust in your staff, it will also boost sales and lead to increased profitability. Staff training is critical to almost every aspect of your medical aesthetic office. You invest in a beautiful office, you invest in expense equipment, you invest in marketing to get new patients, but often the internal training is an oversight or neglected.  Training your team to convert callers to appointments, convert web leads, and conduct an effective patient consultation…all require skills, confidence, knowledge, and effective communication. Investing in training will yield the greatest ROI and build confidence for an empowering your staff to help you grow your business and provide 5-star customer service. To learn more about the processes and techniques that go into an effective sales program, contact Terri today and inquire about her workshop on staff training.

7. Keep an eye on the numbers.

Once you’ve built a retail program, you’ll want to review the numbers at least once a quarter. Calculate your overall ROI on retail sales and determine which products have the highest sales and profitability rates. Also take note of which products patients purchase more than once. The most expensive products do not always offer the highest profit margins. Use this data to tailor your marketing program and staff training, if needed. If a particular product isn’t selling well, execute a plan to incorporate it into a monthly special or feature it in a specific service or treatment plan. Consider sending out a product survey in your quarterly newsletters to take a pulse on which products your current and prospective patients are most interested in. Use this data to hone your inventory and boost sales. You can also report this data back to your vendors, so they can better plan and tailor their production and inventory delivery. If you want to sustain a successful retail program, you’ll need to keep a regular eye on the numbers and make the necessary adjustments in your protocols, processes, marketing and staff training.

Building and maintaining a successful retail program can substantially increase patient satisfaction and boost profitability. Have you maximized profitability in your office? Contact Terri to find out how you can implement a successful sales program in your office today: https://www.terrirossconsulting.com/sales-training/.  

Remember – take advantage of the $100 discount code (JULY4) and book a Strategy Call to take the first step to skyrocketing your retail sales.

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