Should Massage Therapists Sell Retail Products?

Learn why massage therapists are in a great position to sell retail products to their clients. 

 by Felicia Brown, LMBT, LMT
March 8, 2023

massage lotions and oils for sale

To sell or not to sell retail products is a question faced by many massage therapists. While an easy choice for some, others wrestle with indecision and uncertainty about whether or not to carry take-home items for their clients.

If you’re not settled on whether offering retail products to your clients is right for you, consider the one reason I believe many massage therapists are in a great position to sell products: They want to provide options and solutions to help their clients reach their massage-related goals. And many times, that means providing clients tools or products that can help them extend the benefits of a massage session.

Of course, the key to offering retail is ensuring you’re focusing on products your clients will benefit from and are within your scope. But, when selling products is done with the client’s best interests in mind, revenue generated by retail sales can be a welcome addition to any business. Improving client results while growing the revenue of your business and income of you or other staff members is a win-win-win.

  1. Clients want something to remind them of their experience and/or recreate it at home. This could include products like the foot balm you use, to salt lamps similar to what is decorating your practice space, and anything in between. You may not be at a client’s home to massage them, but their moisturized toes can bask in the salt lamp glow until they see you again.

  2. Clients want to reduce stress/increase relaxation between sessions. While on your table, no doubt most folks experience a feeling of reduced stress and deepened relaxation. Soothing take-home items could include aromatherapy oil or warming neck wraps that help clients find a cozy state more easily on their own. Kind of like a massage therapy version of smelling warm cookies fresh from the oven.

  3. Clients want to decrease pain and/or increase their comfort. Giving clients access to tools and products that can help improve the quality of their lives between appointments is a no-brainer. Everything from topical analgesics and hot/cold packs to orthopedic pillows and posture enhancing tools can be appealing to clients. A little home care by them now can make your job a little easier later.

  4. Clients want to indulge themselves or give a gift to someone else. While solo practitioners may not want to carry too wide a range of items, everyone should consider offering a few products for impulse buys or gifts like bath salts, soap, or candles that align with your business, services, or personality. You may also think about unique or branded items not available elsewhere (in my case, perhaps rubber duck themed attire).

  5. Clients want to support your business and/or save time and effort by buying from you. Just as you want to help them achieve successful outcomes, your clients and others who know, like, and trust you want to see you succeed. Selling retail products provides another way for you to support one another and achieve the results you both desire. Whether buying or selling, you both receive a benefit.

3 Reasons You Might Hesitate to Sell Retail—And When You Should Reconsider

  1. You don’t want to be “salesy” or pushy. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. If the products you sell are ones you believe in and would recommend to clients even if you didn’t sell them, this shouldn’t be an issue. Focus on the recommendation of products you trust, use and believe in, and they will sell themselves.

  2. You didn’t get into massage to sell products. That is true for most of us. However, if you got into massage to help clients feel better and achieve their goals, consider revisiting the five reasons why selling products might fight into your practice. Selling retail products is about serving the client more than it is about being a salesperson.

  3. You don’t want to be rejected or end up with shelves full of products gathering dust. Being told “no” is tough, so rather than flying blind and hoping clients will like the products you bring in, ask for their help in advance. Whether you do a survey by paper, email, social media, or in-person, ask clients what they would be most interested in you carrying.

It also makes sense to offer items you use in your business so clients get to experience items before they buy. In short, survey and sample before you sell. Selling retail products is a fun way to add value to the client’s experience while adding dollars to your daily sales. Explore adding products you love to recommend to create a win-win for you and your clients.