Master of Merchandising Charles Compton Featured Speaker at Spa Buzz/So. Cal Spa Directors's Meeting

The Southern California Spa Association partnered with The Spa Buzz to host an action-packed event on August 13, at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. The featured speaker was Charles Compton of Mars Solutions--undisputed “Ruler of Retail”. Charles has worked with many 5 star resorts in North American and Mexico (Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Hyatt, Hilton and Fountainbleu and Capella to name a few), and he and his wife operate a retail store in the Hyatt Huntington Beach featuring sustainable art, jewelry and textiles.


Here are some of his Charles insights on the state of spa retail:


The retail market is trending down.

  • (In 2009, Neiman Marcus lost $500 million.
  • 17,000 retail outlets have closed in the last 2 years)
  • As a result of the downturn, surviving outlets are cutting back on inventory and manpower, thus further degrading the retail experience. Consumers are not spending money because they are not having a good experience shopping

Spa retailers are gearing up for a comeback, but what has changed since the downturn?

  • Retailers are taking inventory very seriously and turning their inventory by necessity
  • Social media is here to stay and more influential than ever
  • Consumer are downsizing their houses, vehicles and are buying less (this is a trend not fad) 94% are buying more products online, 85% are buying sustainable products, 83% are shopping around for price, 78% are buying products that are locally grown or made (farm to table bigger than ever) 61% are checking prices and shifting to discount stores such as Target and Costco

* Charles recommends checking out RedLaser--a barcode-scanning application for comparison shopping and finding product information using a mobile device.


Factors that influence retail purchases:

  • Good experience with product                          64%
  • Recommendation from a sales associate            58%
  • Sample                                                             43%
  • Recommendation by a friend                             34%
  • Advertisement                                                  17%


Spa retail is an extension of the guests’ release, relaxation, lifestyle changes and improvements. Educate your consumer about your merchandise and how it supports your spa philosophy. Selling is a work that can scare many sales associates. Let’s remove the word selling and change to “teaching alternatives” just and educator in the process. You are recognized as the “Expert” you are not selling you are educating.


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