Since 2020, the U.S. skin care market has experienced explosive growth and is valued at over $17 billion and counting. In fact, the average American female spends about $1,500 per year on skin care and purchases five times per year, $300 per purchase.
Aesthetic practice owners can tap into this lucrative business by expanding their offerings to include retail skin care products. Otherwise, they could be leaving substantial money on the table.
“Any patient coming into a practice is already spending money on products somewhere else from retailers such as ULTA, Sephora, Macy’s, and Nordstrom,” says Stuart Mohr, vice president of marketing and clinical for Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc., in San Jose, Calif.
Since consumers are already buying skin care, every office visit presents an opportunity to bring in additional profit with skin care that provides excellent results.
A survey by New Beauty Magazine on the state of aesthetics reported that 80% of people surveyed are “likely” to “very likely” to buy skin care products recommended by their physician after an in-office skin procedure.
“Every patient now who comes in has some form of at-home skin regimen, but most dermatologists need to realize that without some discussion of what’s going on with their skin as far as the topical skin care regimen they’re using at home, patients are left to fend for themselves on the internet, infomercials, Amazon, and beauty influencers on social media,” said Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist with his own practice in Omaha, Neb. “It’s the Wild West out there, with products that promise the world and don’t have benefits.”
Growth and success in today’s growing and booming aesthetic industry requires more than just having top-of-the-line cosmeceutical products, according to Kaeli Lindholm, founder and CEO of KLC Consulting, a leadership coaching company that teaches aesthetic practice owners how to grow their business.
“It requires an ability to sell those products and be competent on the business side to drive utilization of those products,” she says. “One way to do this is to combine or bundle skin care with different procedures that both improve patient outcomes and increase per patient spend.”
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Through an eight-week strategic business growth course called Transforming Aesthetic Practices (TAP), she teaches practices how to create these proprietary treatment bundles and shows them other proven tactics that have potential to double monthly recurring retail revenue.
“There are only so many hours in the day, and service providers need to have other ways within their practice to generate revenue that isn’t just requiring their hands on their patients,” says Lindholm.
Most in-office procedures and services are tied to technology, overhead, and professional costs, but skin care is wholesale, meaning there is no significant upfront investment before seeing extra revenue.
“When you recommend that product with your service, the profit portion of that is instantaneous,” says Mohr. “There’s no additional time, effort, or staff. That profit is immediately added to the profit of the service.”
For example, if a patient comes into the office for a laser procedure, and they buy the recommended skin care, they will need to make roughly four more purchases that year. If the practice made $1,000 off the procedure once and $200 profit for each of the five skin care purchases, they have essentially doubled their profit without any extra work or overhead.
“Having a lucrative profit allows you to reinvest back into the business, into your team, into marketing, into building and growing,” says Lindholm. “Suffice it to say, keeping profit margins high is really important to a practice’s bottom line.”
In many cases, retail skin care opens the door for an ongoing relationship between the patient and the practice, resulting in a continuing profit stream. Skin care is purchased three to five times a year, the New Beauty Magazine survey found. Each time the patient engages with the practice is an opportunity to expose them to other services that they might also be interested in.
Therefore, practices need to keep the patient engaged and make it easy for them to purchase products. Jan Marini, for instance, helps practices set up e-commerce so that they are profiting from skin care sales without having to even be in the office. They also provide marketing messaging to re-engage the patient and remind them to order more skin care products.
And these repeat interactions with satisfied patients can benefit a practice exponentially because they allow the practice to cross-promote other offerings.
“Skin care can serve as the bridge into other services in your practice with more frequent visits and more overall engagement,” Mohr says. These tactics can capture profit from patients who are not yet ready for a procedure but may be interested in learning what is available.
Retail skin care allows practices to create additional profit potential for every procedure, nurture long-term relationships that yield more business, and reinvest profit into the business to grow. By incorporating retail skin care into their practice, plastic surgeons and other aesthetic professionals have more to offer patients who are seeking the best possible solutions to address their skin concerns.
“Give patients who come into the practice an experience where they’re not only getting the best results, but they’re optimizing their spend with you by investing in skin care products to protect their investment in the services and treatments that they get,” Lindholm says.