What I have learned from Groupon.
Out of curiousity and partly of desperation of trying to grow a clientele, I decided to try out Groupon. Here's my adventure :) I talked with Groupon and they convinced me to drop my prices by 64% for one $80 facial to $29, three facials for $35.50 and five facials for $49.50. The money the Groupon clients pay, Groupon and I share 50/50. So, for one facial I get my share of $14.50, three facials I get $11.50, and five facials I get $9.90. There is no contract on how long you have to run the deal and you can quit anytime, their customer service is nice and friendly. Although, I was dismayed on how low they suggested I should slash my prices, they explained that, "in order to draw in customers, you need to make a good deal", so I reluctantly agreed. I need to put my studio on the map, and tell people that, hey, I'm over here :D In actuality, I didn't earn a whole lot, just enough to cover the cost of products that I need to use for an awesome facial. So far I have sold about 29. I decided to stop at 29, its a good number.
I kind of developed a love/dislike relationship with Groupon. The love part, it was great in keeping me busy and maybe 10% of my Groupon customers became loyal clients because they see what other things I offer on my menu. To make ends meet, I try and entice them with a few add ons, such as an eyebrow wax, product retail and so on. The dislike part, most of them don't come back, because there is no end to other great deals from other spas in the area.
I asked my mentor/friend, Thi if she has noticed that its been really slow in the spa industry. I see that my paycheck isn't as big as it used to be from last year in November and December (November and December are supposed to be insanely busy months because gift cards are great and everyone wants to look good for the holidays), and I have also noticed that there are a couple spas that I pass by everyday on my way to work are no longer in business. In all honesty, its been a really dry month since the month of September for a lot of spas, and I wondered why.
Our theory is, there are more Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, Spa Finder Gift Cards, and etc than ever. We the little spa business owners are essentially putting ourselves out of business by offering such low priced deals for great services trying to drum in in new clients. As a consumer myself, why pay more when I can pay less and get more? Totally great deal for me to give as gifts for the ones I care for. Money is hard to come by, this is deal great!!
Therefore, I have decided to discontinue the Groupon experiment because ultimately it is bad for small businesses. It was a great learning experience, I've met some really good interesting new people, and gained a few new clients. Hopefully my clients will think that I am such a superstar that they will refer me to their family and friends (hint, hint, hint... giggle) and make me FAMOUS.
I have also decided to go on to a new scheduling system, My Time. Some of you may have received an invitaion from me via My Time. Take a look and give it a try. It is a scheduling system that will help market me from here and beyond. I hope it works!! So far, I've received two customers via My Time who helped increase my SEO (Search Engine Optimizer).
If you are a small business owner who is in search of a scheduling system or POS (Point of Sales), let me know! I will hook you up with Josh, the My Time rep. I love their customer service, he is literally available for me 24 hours a day 7 days a week through email, text or phone call!! Except for when he is sleeping of course.