As salons and spas begin to reopen following temporary closures during the coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ll see how much has changed. We believe we’ll have a new normal for the beauty industry; so what will it look like? We surveyed both beauty businesses and the consumers who frequent them, and here are the trends we'll see in the new normal when beauty businesses reopen.
Will consumers return? Chances are good; when asked, most all of Mindbody consumers (89%) say they plan to return to their previous beauty routines and visit previous salons and spas once the coronavirus “quarantine” ends. They say they are most excited to book hair, nail, brows, massage, and wax appointments, in that order.
1. Death of the walk-in
The first thing to go? Walk-in appointments. Following the pandemic, salons and spas will have constrained capacity. They may need to move stations further apart to meet social distancing guidelines, and they’ll need to add time between each appointment to ensure proper cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. There may be simply fewer opportunities for clients to get their services.
These new procedures, coupled with a likely increase in demand following the shelter-at-home mandate, will make walk-ins a thing of the past. Even before reopening, many of our recently surveyed salons and spas report they’re preparing to limit clients and increase appointment spacing. Waitlists are going to be an important part of reopening.
Salon 124 in Georgia has already reopened and is asking clients to book out all of their appointments now for the rest of the year. The hair salon wants to get in as many clients as possible, but this new reality requires additional planning and preparation. With Booker, it’s easy for beauty brands to keep clients and staff updated on their business status, promote their reopening, and fill their schedule with customizable email templates, automated emails, and text campaigns.
2. Consultations go virtual
As salons and spas are pressed for time, the more that can be done online, the better. Particularly as we’re coming out of our sheltering at home, many clients will have to work with their hair stylists to strategize on regrowth (37% of Mindbody app users say booking hair coloring services is the first thing on their list). By taking a consultation online, stylists can consult with a client without having to take extra time for cleaning and losing a chair that could be used for someone actively getting a cut or color. Stylists can ensure that when the client does come in that they’ve got the proper amount of color at the ready.
There’s, of course, been a move generally to living life online in the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working from home, celebrating birthdays behind a screen, and participating more in virtual fitness than ever before. Consumers—perhaps driven out of necessity—are open to virtual consultations. Thirty-nine percent of Mindbody app users even say they’d consider a virtual consultation for hair cutting during shelter-at-home. One in ten “cutting edge” salons and spas surveyed say they’re already offering virtual consultations while they’re temporarily closed. Tru Esthetics and Bodyworks DW both plan to continue offering virtual consultations beyond shelter-at-home.
After reopening, incorporating virtual consultations is a smart move that many salons and spas will make. Clients can book these virtual consultations directly through Booker. Here’s more on how the beauty industry is taking advantage of virtual offerings (including video on demand).
3. Cleanliness is everything
Salons and spas will make significant efforts to showcase how clean they are. Cleanliness will be an increasingly important factor for consumers in choosing a beauty business. Salons and spas need to calm clients’ nerves and overcommunicate cleaning efforts.
Social media posts from these businesses will showcase cleaning procedures, and websites will detail their sanitation and disinfecting processes. Expect to see photos of hand sanitizers and face masks ready for clients’ return. Beauty and grooming businesses will proudly display cleaning certifications. Before reopening, 65% of salons and spas say they plan to tune up their sanitization and safety practice. We predict beauty businesses that differentiate on cleanliness will do well following the shelter-at-home.
Clients will have lots of questions about just how businesses plan to keep them safe. Salons and spas with Bowtie, Mindbody’s AI assistant, will have an advantage. Bowtie can answer clients’ questions and then help them to book 24/7. Here are five ways Bowtie can help during COVID-19.
4. The front desk goes away
Salons and spas offer high touch services; they inherently cannot follow social distancing recommendations. While, of course, we’ll see attempts to make services as safe as possible, spas and salons can reduce in-store contact during the check-in and payment processes. Beauty businesses will have clients interact with as few people as possible now to minimize risk. Bye, bye, front desk!
The waiting room, filled with communal magazines, is no more. Not wanting to overcrowd the space, salons and spas will ask clients to wait in their cars or outside until they’re ready. Mastercard has already seen a 40% boost in contactless payments generally. Beauty businesses will continue the contactless trend.
With Booker, businesses can automate contactless client check-ins via two-way text messaging. Upon arriving at the business, clients can text the front desk to notify the business. Salons and spas can also collect payment information and preferences during booking for a no-touch checkout experience.
5. Retail renewal
In the past, part of the front desk experience has been upselling products in front of an eye-catching retail display. Staff will carefully distribute samples (of everything from makeup and cosmetics to skin care to hair and beauty products) to clients individually to limit potential contamination. These days, having product out in the open is just one more risk. Spas and salons looking to keep clients safe will have product directly shipped to their clients’ homes or safely stored in the back.
Product is increasingly important, though. With businesses only able to see so many clients a day, salons and spas need to have ways to increase their average ticket. Retail will be a big part of that.
During the pandemic, we’ve already started to see consumers up their product spend. Thirty-seven percent of spas and salons surveyed are selling products online while they’re temporarily closed, and 13% are selling product bundles to accompany tutorials. New York City’s Fox & Jane has been upping its retail game. This emphasis on curated retail will continue.
Fifteen percent of Mindbody app users bought more beauty or grooming products than normal during the COVID-19 shelter-at-home. Uncertain whether their salon or spa will be forced into another closure, consumers will be eager to spend a bit extra on product that can help them to maintain their beauty and grooming routines.
Booker makes it easier than ever for salon and spa staff to upsell both services and products so that the front desk doesn’t have to.
6. Growth of boutique beauty and grooming
Despite the global pandemic, we’re going to continue to see a rise in boutique beauty and grooming—beauty businesses that specialize in specific services (think lash bars, blow dry bars, etc.). With a limited service menu, these boutique beauty and grooming businesses can quickly adapt their offerings to accommodate new protocols for health and safety. While feeling one’s best and spending time on beauty and grooming might not have been a priority during shelter-at-home, consumers have thought of beauty and grooming businesses as their sanctuary, and they’re eager to get back.
As the ability to travel remains low, many will look to treat themselves to services at these boutique beauty businesses. Eighty percent of Mindbody app users say their beauty and grooming routines will be exactly as they were before—8% say they’ll visit beauty businesses more than ever before. Boutique beauty and grooming will be booming.
While it might be a new normal, salons and spas can continue to help their clients relax and feel confident. The coronavirus closed beauty businesses temporarily, but these businesses can reopen stronger than ever before. Spas and salons that adapt fastest to this new normal will have the advantage.
Make sure you’re ready to reopen with our reboot kit.View the guide