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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Spa of Tomorrow

Do you wonder what spas may look like in the next 5-10 years? In this article, James Bremner, Senior Director of Marketing for SpaBooker, provides insight into how he envisions the customer journey may change, and it’s pretty exciting.

Engagement, relevance and immediacy: these are three words that are going to be central to consumers in the not-so-distant future. You may have seen the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report, where optical scanners read retinas and display advertising targeted specifically at that person. Well, that type of personalization and ‘suggested sell’ is not far away. The data is there, it needs extracting and then analyzing, with a healthy dose of intelligence thrown in.

‘Suggested selling’ analyzes a customer’s information and determines which retail product to suggest to that person. It takes all of their available information into account – age, what they’ve bought in the past and which services they usually have. It knows what treatment they just had, which product(s) are ideal post-treatment, and applies algorithmic calculations to pick appropriate products. In the future, this calculation may trigger a video to be displayed at the point of sale, inviting the customer to buy the product, possibly at a discount. It’s an incredibly powerful way to drive greater retail sales.

Now imagine the customer is part of a loyalty program and has an electronic loyalty card. The card has an RFID chip in it, which is essentially a radio transmitter. The computer at the point-of-sale picks up the radio waves, identifies the customer, plays the suggested selling video, sends some information to their smartphone and adjusts their loyalty points automatically. It may also check them out and apply the transaction to their account.

Let’s add another possibility; this time, exactly the same thing happens but the customer is prompted to rate the experience on their mobile phone. The review is added to the database, providing great feedback and allowing the spa to make the suggested selling algorithm smarter and to offer other services through various forms of marketing.

Social media may well play a part in the experience too. The customer’s review not only helps the spa but via services like Foursquare and Yelp, also helps the customer’s friends. This will develop into trust networks, allowing friends to decide which friends’ judgments they value most. They may even have access to promotions through these trust networks, creating more viral connections at every stage of the customer journey. There are endless possibilities as these types of connections expand and compound; like connecting these location-based mobile services via apps and websites with direct links to online booking and special discounts. Actually SpaFinder and SpaBooker combine to offer that right now!

This technology isn’t all here today, but you can certainly perform your own suggested selling right now. Observe your customers, find out who was buying a product regularly and then stopped, and ask them why. Offer them a small discount to start buying from you again. Try and up-sell your customers to the next price point . You can do all of this now with targeted marketing and you can even use social media to create groups of customers.

Watch this space for feature news as SpaBooker is continually innovating and thinking of new, bright and interesting ways to make your life easier and your businesses more profitable.
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