After almost two years of living and doing business in the world of COVID-19, there’s no doubt that consumers have a newfound appreciation and respect for salons, spas and barbershops, as well as and their own personal beauty professionals.
In fact, Square’s Future of Beauty Report found that 78% of consumers say going back for regular services is important for a sense of normalcy.
As most salon clients return to their previous in-person routines, there’s no doubt the pandemic has left a lasting impact on the way salons do business? What will the new future look for salon owners? How can they better prepare their businesses to amplify the client experience to differentiate themselves? The folks at Square recently brainstromed this idea, and offer up five ways that salon businesses can get ahead:
Create safe, memorable client experiences
Square’s Future of Beauty Report found that 90% of beauty businesses struggle to balance pandemic safety precautions with providing a relaxing environment. In line with this, consumers were hesitant to book certain services like facials and massages due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Consumers shared measures like reducing the number of clients receiving a service at the same time, having the option to book during ‘off-peak hours’, or contactless checkout make them feel more comfortable receiving treatments. Businesses that continue to prioritize safety will attract clients and build meaningful relationships.
Offer an omnichannel booking experience
Online and offline booking was already a rising trend before the pandemic and is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Clients have turned to different ways of booking appointments from over the phone, in-person, online booking platforms, text or chat, to social media. In fact, Square’s report found that 1 in 4 customers would avoid a salon with no online booking options.
Since it can be difficult and time-consuming to balance all these booking channels, businesses should use integrated tools to efficiently manage appointments on the back-end, while offering multiple ways for clients to book.
Every salon is different so it’s important to cater to your clients and make sure your booking process works for you!
Consumers are continuing to gravitate to omnichannel retail experiences, and the beauty industry is no exception. Retail offers a huge opportunity to build client relationships by selling on a variety of channels whether that’s in your salon, on your website, or social media.
When looking at where clients are buying retail products, salons can keep the following findings in mind: 70% of consumers bought retail in person, likely as an add-on to their personal care service. Outside of the appointment, 37% of customers purchased products through the website, 30% purchased items from marketing emails, and 28% purchased items from social media sites.
Selling on multiple channels means you have a better chance of reaching customers at the right moment and meeting their evolving needs.
Leverage conversational commerce
Clients continue to want instant, fast communication with salons. To solve this, conversational commerce - where clients and businesses can communicate via text-based messaging - is gaining popularity. 1 in 5 customers booked appointments through text message or chat, while 31% of consumers say they bought products through text messages from personal care businesses. That number rises to 43% among Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
Conversational commerce is becoming an indispensable tool that builds client loyalty and offers exceptional customer service. More communication is happening over messaging channels, and it’s important for business owners to manage client relationships on these channels as their business grows.
Embrace the rise of social commerce
The beauty industry has always relied heavily on social media to connect with existing and prospective clients. Social media is now going beyond this, offering opportunities for salons to grow revenue.
Clients are increasingly making purchases and booking appointments directly from social media, with this is particularly true for younger consumers. Square’s Future of Beauty Report found that 28% of customers who bought retail products from personal care businesses did so on social media, while 38% of Millenial and Gen-Z clients booked appointments through social media. Selling on social media offers increased exposure for your business, all while enabling you to build a reputable brand that clients trust and love.
For more information on what your business can do with Square Appointments, please visit squareup.com/appointments.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.