Experience the Competition: More than Curb Deep

 In Be The Leader, How To, Marketing Plan

In our Trends & Tours Series, we’ve talked about Store Tours and Friending the Competition as ways to keep up with the competition and get ideas for your business. But to really get a handle on what someone in your industry is doing, you need to go beyond just walking in to truly experiencing what they have to offer.

Let’s take a recent visit to a local salon and day spa as an example.

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon is located in the historic center of Alexandria, Virginia in a beautifully restored early 19th century home. The building was onc part of a sugar refinery and now Sugar House leverages that story to differentiate their spa.


Booking an appointment and going in for an afternoon massage really gives you the opportunity to see beyond the curb.

Here are just some of their points of differentiation…


  • Sugar House Scrub: A sweet full body exfoliating scrub using sugar crystals and essential oils will leave your skin feeling smooth and looking radiant.
  • Organic Chocolate Therapy: This decadent treatment is a chocolate lover’s dream, an hour of pure bliss.


  • Spa Packages like Short & Sweet and A Sweet Treat.
  • Even the treatment rooms are Sweets, aka Suites.


Purple is their signature color. From their website, to their business cards, to carpeting and furniture, even the pens you use to fill out your spa forms, you can’t miss it.

What more could they do?

Just being there you start to get ideas for more of what they could do and ideas for your business…

  • Storytelling: Use signage and historic photos to tell the story of their historic building.
  • Signature Product Line: with their name, take the Sugar House experience home with the Sugar House Scrub.
  • Special Spa Package: Chocolate massage and tasting, or include a small ‘sweet’ with the end of each treatment.
  • Giveaway: First-time guests receive a lovely parting give (see below) with a card for $5.00 off their next service.
  • Leverage Seasonal Holidays: Sugar and sweetness are the perfect gifts for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. While they do have promotions during those periods, why not theme them?

Sugar House Day Spa-1

You can see how having the full experience of your competition really lets you know what they are doing well and where they have opportunities, and thus gives you ideas for growing and differentiating your business. You can take this back to look at your spa, restaurant or retail location with a fresh set of eyes.

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