Why Offer Retail Items in Addition to Floating?
On their own, float tanks have a limit to their profits. Retailing has the potential to bring extra money into your shop, but it also requires a lot of work and attention on your part to really be successful at it. At Float On, our retail contributes 6.5% towards our overall sales and 3% of total profit. While this might not seem like a large contribution, depending on your sales, it could end up paying the wages of a whole extra employee.
In most cases this involves active selling – the process of interacting and engaging with the customer to identify their needs or desires and recommending a product that can fulfill that need or desire. This is of course opposed to passive selling, which is assuming the customer already knows what they want and will approach you with any questions when they have them (such as at a grocery store).
Active selling often requires some amount of training, and can push the limits of what you, your employees, and possibly your customers are comfortable with. Its up to you how far you want to push those limits. Our philosophy is that the paramount aim of our float center, when all is said and done, is to provide excellent floats. We are in the business of helping our clients achieve a state of relaxation and calmness and peace of mind, that is our main product, and we don’t want anything we do, such as over aggressive selling, to disrupt that.
That said, there are plenty of opportunities for active selling in a Float Tank Center. If you can build up a good rapport with your clients, identifying their needs and recommending a product to them can be a natural and easy process that you both enjoy. Often times, if you just chat with someone long enough, they’ll say enough about themselves and what they are trying to get out of floating or life in general that you’ll be able to recommend something to them.
Of course, the flip side of all of this is that you have to have your retail stocked with products that your clients will want to buy, so you need to have some idea about your customer base. Float Tanks are a bit problematic in this area, as they seem to attract such a wide variety of people. But among them you’ll be able to identify niche groups (such as martial arts practitioners) that will want certain types of products.
You can ask yourself, what types of things are people looking for in the float experience, and then tailor your retail selections to be marketable to those specific desires. For instance, one big reason that people want to float is relaxation. What sort of products do you have that fulfill that desire for enhanced relaxation? I would point them to the our color therapy glasses, anxiety reducing nootropics, or the book Get High Now (Without Drugs) which contains a wide variety of relaxation techniques.
At Float On, our retail selection is an always evolving, trial and error process. We are constantly picking up new products while dropping others (it’s actually kind of fun to experiment). Although we do have a good selection of “staple” products that we know will always sell well and we make sure to constantly have in stock. Here are a few of them, along with some of the reasons why we think they are a good sell:
Color Therapy Glasses
These are our top selling retail item. Floaters like things that alter their mental states and elevate their moods, that’s why many of them float. Color therapy glasses are claimed to have a subtle effect on the moods of people who wear them. Every employee in our shop has at least a few pairs of these.
Portland in winter time can get a little dreary and grey, but through a pair of orange or yellow color therapy glasses it really does make life seem a little brighter and happier. Some of the glasses, such as the violet and indigo, make the world look downright trippy, and are sought after for that reason. Red is said to increase aggression and focus, and has been popular with athletes.
Pretty much everyone agrees they look cool, especially with the new white “hipster” frames.
Alpha Brain and other Products from Onnit
A lot of Floaters are looking for a way to increase their physical or mental performance. We’ve carried a few types of vitamin supplements and nootropics (supplements aimed at increasing memory, focus, and other mental functions) over the years. One of the brands we’ve had a lot of success with is Onnit based out of Austin, Texas.
Onnit and the float tank industry have Joe Rogan in common. He’s is a big fan of floating and the reason many have joined this industry and he owns a part of Onnit and has been very vocal about both. So naturally Onnit products were a good choice for all of the clients who are trying floating because they have listened to the Joe Rogan podcast. In addition to that, our employees also use their products.
Alpha Brain is the top-seller, an all around nootropic that enhances memory, focus, and mood.
This is another fun, novelty product. Miracle Frooties are little dissolvable tablets made of the berry from the Synsepalum dulcificum plant. This little berry contains a molecule that binds to the taste buds in your tongue, temporarily making sour things taste sweet. Lemons, grapefruits, limes, lose all of their face puckering power and instead taste like sweet citrus candies. Sour cream tastes like pudding. Tequila and I.P.A.’s taste like juicy cocktails (enjoy Miracles Frooties responsibly folks!). For up to an hour, your tongue has the ability to taste in a way that it has never tasted before. It’s like color therapy glasses for your mouth!
Books About Sensory Deprivation
Floaters are often seekers of knowledge. Many of them discovered Float Tanks by going down some intellectual rabbit hole. These are people who like experiencing new things, they like learning, and they like books. At Float On we’ve chosen a selection of books that we think appeal to these types of people (largely because they appeal to us!)
First off, we carry a large selection John C. Lilly books. These we consider a must. John C. Lilly as we all know is the inventor of the float tank and in our opinion one of the 20th century’s most fascinating people. Was he a genius? Was he insane? For fans of strange, fringe, out-there ideas where science and psychedelia intersect, John C. Lilly is a hidden treasure.
We also carry Michael Hutchison’s The Book of Floating, which, despite being over 30 years old at this point, is still perhaps the most in depth and informative primer on floating out there today. Other books in we carry include the aforementioned Get High Now (Without Drugs) and Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves, both by James Nestor. And of course, we also sell copies books of our own self-published books from Coincidence Control Publishing, Artwork from the Void and Flavors from the Void, which showcase works of art and recipes created by our own floaters in a coffee table book format.
Products from Local Companies
In addition to the products listed above, we also stock our retail shelves with a variety of products from small, ethically minded local businesses. Portland has a strong D.I.Y. culture, and we find that many of our floaters enjoy supporting these businesses. These can be things like locally made honeys, teas, chocolates, (sometimes the first thing a floater wants to do when they get out of a tank is taste something delicious) and wellness products such as herbal and mycological elixirs, tonics, and extracts.
So that is a short list of some of our favorite and best selling retail products. You may find that your float center caters to different types of people depending on your location and the overall customer base that you are trying to attract.
Regardless of what kind of retail items you choose to sell, you’ll have greater success selling them if they are items you and your staff use and would recommend. There are innumerable other tricks to enhancing your retails, such as colorful signage and displays, but the easiest products to sell will always be those you and your team use for yourselves, and those will also be the products you most enjoy selling.
Interested in marketing content to use at your float center?
Check out our complete social media toolkit, The Buoy Project!
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