Merchant of the Week: Skin Institute, Miami

This week’s Merchant of the Week is Sheila Treadway, owner of Skin Institute in Miami.

Because of her exceptional customer service strategy and commitment to giving new Groupon clientele the same experience as all Skin Institute guests, Sheila has seen a 70% customer return rate from Groupon clients and is excited to share her success story with others.  Shelia’s post is below.

Writes Sheila:

Our first encounter with Groupon was an email from our sales representative, Trixie, in November of 2009.  When we finally got back to her in early 2010, she got us on the fast-track.  She explained everything clearly, sent us the info and soon we were signing our contract.  We chose to run our most popular service that was best suited for a variety of skin types – the AHA/Kojic Facial Peel – and discounted it by 68%: a $90 value for $29.

We put a lot of time and effort into preparation.  We were very clear with staff members that Groupon customers would be given the same top level customer service that all Skin Institute clients receive.  We normally close at 10pm seven nights a week, but we expanded our hours until 11pm to accommodate all of our new Groupon clients.  Although we’re normally booked 2-3 weeks in advance, our clients understood and were fine with booking a little more ahead.

The day of our deal, we had lots of questions on the Groupon message board as well as over the phone, which we were happy to address.  We expected to sell about 200 and we ended up selling 677!  The results were far better than we had imagined.  We were expecting a retention rate of about 20%, but when we actually tracked our results we found out that 70% of the Groupon buyers were re-booking and purchasing products and gift certificates.

We actually did not do any up-selling (philosophically we’re against it) and that may be why people were re-booking.  They didn’t feel pressured. We also gave each client a “goodie bag” filled with a free t-shirt, a bottle of Skin Institute water, free samples geared to their particular skin and postcards highlighting different services, products and special offers. Many would call shortly after inquiring about a particular service that they read about in the material found in their bag.  We give these bags to all clients, not just Groupon customers, and find everyone enjoys the fun freebies we provide.

Our advice to other businesses looking to use Groupon is to keep your standards high and don’t try to up-sell too much that you scare new clients away.  Be thankful to Groupon and “Grouponers” for their support.  Make sure that the Groupon is a good value and that you are prepared to service the influx that will come through your doors.

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Thanks to Sheila for sharing her wisdom. Do you have any questions about spa deals or merchants on Groupon? Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to get them answered.

  • I have been trying to contact Groupon for the past 3 weeks with no response. I am in the Phoenix area and would like to make a groupon ad.

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