Quite simply as a business owner providing a service to the general public, any change in how they behave can potentially have a knock-on effect on your business and how it operates. If you want to stay ahead in a competitive business marketplace you need to know what trends are approaching and what you clients will be looking for in the future.
So, what can we expect of clients post lockdown, we have examined discussions and research and come up with a curated list of anticipated behaviours that may affect how your business operates:
1. An anticipated slowdown in “out of the home”experiences. Whilst we think clients will flock to have their beauty treatments done this may overall be less of a rush than we anticipate. Now is the time to consider a mobile offering or option for your clients and if this isn’t possible it’s time to examine the experience that you offer in the salon to clients to make it feel worth leaving home to come to you.
2. Consumers will be more aware of hygiene and infection control measures. It won’t be enough to tell clients that you are addressing these concerns, you will need to show tangible change and be ready to answer questions and queries directly with your clients.
3. Consumers will continue to seek comfort.During a period of uncertainty and anxiety people adopt comfort seeking methods. These behaviours won’t cease once lock down eases, so we need to be ready to provide that comfort in order to persuade clients to return. That means adopting a slower less frenetic pace in the salon, a less hurried atmosphere and a feeling of calm and comfort. Clients will want to feel safe and comfortable in the salon surroundings more now than ever so despite the increased infection control methods that you will need to adopt think about how you do that whilst maintaining the comfort factor.
4. People have reflected on their consumption and the value of what they buy, this desire to live more within their means is unlikely to reduce as life starts to return. We have all seen a shift back to old fashioned values and hobbies like cooking, sewing and gardening and these “comfort” trends are unlikely to end any time soon. Where does your business fit into this new landscape? Is it time to review the services that you offer and consider if some of those big-ticket items will still be required? Will your clients still seek external indulgence or are they likely to find that now in the familiar comforts of home and only leave for the necessities? Spend sometime looking at the services you offer and how this change in mindset may affect your business.
5. During lock down there has been a big demand for digital services, this demand is unlikely to subside when lock down eases, so what does this mean for you? What digital services do you or could you use to make both your life and your clients a bit easier. If you don’t have a booking system now is the time to get one, if you don’t take card payments get a card reader, it is anticipated that money won’t change hands in the manner it did before and this could leave you vulnerable if you’re not ready.Think about how digital technology could help your business and start to set this up now.
6. Brand behaviour is a big focus right now, many brands have been seen to have behaved badly such a Virgin and Wetherspoons, others have been perceived to have behaved well such as M&S. How has your “brand”behaved? However small your operation may be, you are still a brand and how you have “behaved” during lock down will be remembered. Those calls or emails to your client’s checking up on them or giving them advice will be remembered and if you shut up shop and disappeared, that will be remembered too. Think about how your brand has responded and if you feel you could have/should have done more, do it now.
7. There is a change predicted in our beauty habits, less make up and a trend towards a fresher healthy look. Will we see the end of long nails? hair extensions? eyelash extensions? It’s hard to predict accurately, however it is worth you spending time looking at beauty trends to gauge the potential impact on your business and how you may need to pivot your business model to take account of the changes.
8. Building on the previous point it is likely we will continue to see a reduction in face to face interventions. Pubs and restaurants are unlikely to return to previous capacity any time soon, meaning there will continue to less reason to get dressed up and put on a full face of make up and be bothered with the maintenance of hair extensions. Will this affect your business? Is there likely to be increased demand for other services that you provide? Now is the time to be aware of what you customer habits will be and how this may impact your business model and what changes if any may be required.
9. There has been a strong focus from consumers on supporting small local businesses and this trend is predicted to continue. You’re a local business so consider how this trend will affect you.Can you use it to increase your client base, how many client’s used services close to their office rather than in the small town they live, with that shift in working from home this is a client group you can persuade to now use your services.Being a part of your local community area and being involved is one of the best ways to market your business so make sure that you get noticed in your local community and become part of it.
10. People will remain fearful of interaction beyond the easing of lockdown. This means that the rise we have seen in the use of virtual entertainment, gaming and video conferencing will be unlikely to end abruptly, think of how your business can tap into that trend. Can you do regular video diaries about your salon or your services? can you continue your online tutorials? can you do virtual advice clinics? Think how you can use technology to reach your clients when they are not in the salon and keep your business relevant to emerging trends.
Whilst this may seem like a depressing list of must do for your business, remember some of it will you will already have been doing and not all of it may be relevant to your business. The key thing is to be aware of emerging trends and consider if they impact your current business model, if they do look at what changes you need to make.
Successful businesses learn to adapt.