Thursday, July 18, 2013

Product selection

Selecting the Right Products for Your Practice
By Judith Culp, CIDESCO Diplomat, NCEA Certified

One of the most exciting and daunting things an esthetician gets to do is to select  the products for their practice.  Whether this means selecting your new start up line, or adding a new product, the process requires careful consideration to prevent an expensive mistake. This is a lesson I learned from the hard school of life.
It is very easy for the decision making process to be guided by enthusiastic, well-meaning salespersons who love their product and are sure you will too.  But when emotion gets involved, logic has a tendency to get lost.  You first and foremost have to protect your business and your finances.  It’s always good to take a step back, take a deep breath and think carefully about your decisions.  Here are some tips to help guide making that decision.
1)      First, what do you know about the product?  What skin type and condition(s) is it designed to address?  Have you looked at the technical data about the product?  Will it do what the sales person says?  Are they making realistic “cosmetic” claims?  The FDA is coming down on companies who are making medical claims for cosmetic products.  You don’t want the products you select to be in the middle of a legal argument that involves the FDA. 
2)      What do you know about the company? Are they stable and do they have a positive reputation for client support?  What level of product training and product documentation is available? (Don’t forget to ask for MSDS sheets for all products you will be using for treatments and cleaning in your practice.) What is their opening order and reorder policy?  If they have a high re-order requirement it could make it difficult if you are only after a specialty product. 
3)      Company policies: what are their rules for return? Products that go bad are rare, but I have seen it happen. How long is the shelf life? Can the product only be marketed in your clinic or can you offer it in your on-line store also?  If you have out of town clients, on-line shopping capabilities can help keep your customers loyal.
Once you have thoroughly evaluated the product now you need to check for “fit”. What is your market niche?  Who are your customers? What are their skin care needs? Does the product match with these needs?  If you cater to boomers, don’t invest in products geared to generation y’s as they will be much harder to retail.  You may say my clients are all ages. While you may treat diverse age groups, generally one group will dominate.  Focus most of your purchase here for quicker sales and profit.
What about price points?  Can your clients afford this product?  How will they value it?  If your clients are very result oriented and you found a fabulous, luxurious pampering body lotion, they may not be as enthusiastic about purchasing as you hoped.  If you are a clinic that offers discounted facials and market primarily via discount specials, those clients are looking for less expensive products and sale prices. Expensive peptide blends may not be the best choice for this group.  There will always be exceptions but it is best to try and match the product to your philosophy and culture.
Look at the packaging.  Does it fit the ambiance and style of your facility? Will it appeal to your customers? If there is fragrance does that match your client demographics?  Teens to tend to like more fruity smells while more mature clients prefer a floral scent. If it is a fragrance free product does it smell nice? Most cosmetics need some additive to mask the naturally occurring ingredient smell.  Just because it is a fabulous blend for your skin doesn’t mean the blend of ingredients will smell good.  If you cater to maturing or boomer clients keep in mind they may dealing with arthritis or other dexterity issues. Some of the new pump containers may be more challenging if the buyer has painful joints or a loss of strength in their hands. If your clients travel a lot, are small “airline friendly” sizes available?

Do a test drive.  It is always a good idea to try the product yourself so that you can make sure you like its attributes, feel, and function.  If you can’t be its “champion”, then it isn’t the right product for you to try and sell.  If you are trying to evaluate a product that is not compatible with your skin then you will need to come up with another way to evaluate it.  Maybe a friend, client or family member may be a more appropriate test candidate.  Just be sure to get good prompt feedback so you can place that order for your perfect new product.

No comments:

Post a Comment