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Evolution of Spa Treatments Harkens Changing Consumer Attitudes

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: June 8, 2009, from the June 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Marketed as alternatives for cash-strapped, time-challenged clients who are not spending as much money or time on services to maintain wellness, Dermalogica developed MicroZone, while Repêchage created the Facial Bar Concept. The MicroZone is a 20-minute, results-oriented treatment performed in a salon like open setting that focuses on one skin concern—such as exfoliation, extractions or hydration. “It’s not a mini facial; we pick one priority and focus on it for 20 minutes,” Wurwand explains.

The Facial Bar Concept offers 15–20 minute express treatments and a 30-minute Facial on the Go treatment that allow spa clients to experience deep cleansing and conditioning in a spa’s open, common areas.

“The average spa is seeing a decrease in its services, and regular clients are deciding that they aren’t going to spend $100 on a treatment that they aren’t even sure is doing anything for them,” says Wurwand. “Also, when they decide not to come in for a service, they feel weird about coming in to buy their products, so they purchase them from an anonymous source and not the spa. You have to give consumers permission to come in and buy product to maintain their skin at home.”

The Economic Difference

By bringing services out into the open, spas are creating the opportunity for immediate retail sales and introducing new clients to spa services, as well as opening the door for current clients to book longer, clinical treatments. “Show and tell and you will sell. People will walk in and say ‘What is that lady having done? I want what she’s having’, ” says Sarfati. “The Facial Bar is the appetizer. It increases retail sales and bookings significantly.”

Mark Brado, owner of Jaazz Salon and Skin Care Center, noting this type of treatment allows for a tiered approach to booking appointments and affording clients an opportunity to shop the product offerings. “If a client is coming in and doing our Fabulous 15—a 15-minute skin care service—it costs $20, and they are doing something with their eyes and maybe their T-zone at the skin care bar where they can talk and play with the products. Once they’ve experienced that, then it’s kind of an easy move to go to a $40 facial experience. As people are progressing through our offerings, it gives them variety and it is more systematic.”