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The Economics of Spray: Simplify pricing to create more sunless tanners

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Sunless tanning continues to be a greater piece of the pie in most indoor tanning businesses today. That’s the natural result of external factors that have driven more clients to consider spray tans. It’s also a product better sunless technology and more widespread knowledge of the great results it provides.

However, the fact that more people are spray tanning than ever doesn’t mean salons are doing everything they can to maximize the profitability of the segment of their businesses. Many owners still maintain the preconceptions they had when they first integrated sunless tanning: It’s just a diversification service, it might take away from my UV sales, I need to sell memberships like with UV, I need to start high and discount, people only spray tan for special events, or I need to get $40 a spray to make a profit.

The reality is that there’s no reason to stand by those ideals if they’re limiting the growth of your sunless business. You shouldn’t be concerned with transitioning UV tanners to sunless. If you do, great! They’re still spending money with you. Of course the consistency of sunless memberships is wonderful, but you need to be selling in the ways that maximize customers and profit. That’s not always, or even usually, via membership. Selling discounted sprays at certain times can be confusing and inconvenient. Many people do still spray tan primarily for special events, but that will continue to evolve as prices make sunless tanning more of an impulse purchase and viable for a regular beauty routine.

If you can sell spray tans for $40 all day, more power to you, but most of you probably can’t. One of the most basic principles of economics is that demand increases as price decreases. The biggest businesses in the industry are changing the way they approach their sunless pricing, and they’re doing it for a reason. Research backs the profitability of reducing prices in order to increase demand for sunless tanning.

But, it’s also not just about pricing; selling spray tans in the ways your customers want to buy them can be just as important. Changing your strategy completely and hoping for the best can be a scary thing, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that you will benefit once you take the leap. As Sunless Inc. Vice President of Marketing Mike Concannon puts it, “Most people say ‘I can’t afford it.’ I say, ‘can you afford not to?’”

Click here to read the entire article in the latest issue of Smart Tan Magazine online.


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