In New York City there is no shortage of luxury personal service businesses. Witness the recent boom in boutique fitness studios. It all started with the exploding popularity of personal training, a market developed for something in between mass gyms and one-to-one service.
With a heightened awareness of the benefits of fitness, people with discretionary income, but limited time to exercise, began looking for a more productive workout and the personal attention. Add to that the growing interest in wellness, which includes: massage, nutrition, meditation, yoga, etc., and there are many “luxury” services being provided in urban areas.
All of these businesses are interested in selling product. From massage oils to the latest trend in athletic to street wear, everyone realizes that there is more money to be made from product sales than service. This spring, we partnered with Inform Fitness, a boutique personal training studio located near Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan, to sell luxury fitness lifestyle apparel in a streamlined pop-up shop. In a single week 25% of the clients made purchases averaging $350.
Here are five tips to help you reach that same level of success in merchandising your boutique luxury service business.
1. Stop trying to “promote” your business. It’s not about slapping your logo on t-shirts. Sophisticated clients do not want to pay more to become a personal billboard for your business. In fact, you should give your best clients a great t-shirt as a gift. And, if it includes your logo, make sure it is either subtle or creatively applied.
2. Think about the lifestyle of your clients and what you can provide that they may not have seen before or have been unable to find.
3. Find a qualified partner and experiment. Merchandising is a completely different business. Do not attempt to do it yourself. You can do this at little or no cost, which brings me to my next point.
4. Use samples. Do not invest in inventory upfront. Instead get samples and take orders based on those samples. Orders can be delivered to your studio for distribution..
5. Allow clients to experience the product. Whether it is trying on some pants in the locker room, having a cup of tea or feeling the oil on her skin, what better way is there to sell? In your studio, it becomes a sophisticated and exclusive service and with the right merchandise your clients will appreciate it!
To conclude, in addition to services, add that higher profit potential product component. But don't think of it as a way to get your logo into the hands of clients. Think bigger –the way an experienced retailer does. It's all about filling a lifestyle niche with great merchandising.