he beauty industry will be one of the most sorely hit industries in the country by the Coronavirus pandemic, with most businesses losing customers due to the lockdown.
We feel it might be the perfect time to look at evolving your business and adapting to the changing world around us. Organisations in other industries have already pivoted their business model to be able to continue business while staying safe.
The new rules that are being put in place in Spain and Germany can give us some idea of what might be coming our way in the UK in the next couple of months. These measures include a 1.5m gap between any customers, limiting shop capacity to just 30%, and mandatory 15-minute sanitation breaks. While these rules will be difficult to get used to at first, they will be absolutely essential to keeping customers and staff safe while starting to reopen their doors.
Businesses across the board will not be running as usual, not even close. From the distance requirements, to the new cleaning rules, it will be a new experience for us all. Especially in those parts of the industry where close contact with the customer is pretty much inevitable, such as nail salons or the hairdressers.
It has been acknowledged that because of that close contact, hairdressers specifically will be some of the last businesses to be allowed to reopen. That doesn’t at all mean a hairdresser can’t start planning now, and as France has ruled that all customers have to have an appointment in advance, getting on that organisational train might be the way to go.
One of the changes that might not be too popular is the introduction of disposable equipment for hygiene reasons. Not only will it be a bother because of the separate charge that customers will have to pay, but the environmental impact is being considered. Every customer will need a separate mask and set of gloves, which will have to be thrown away after they are finished, for hygiene reasons of course.
There is a chance that some customers just won’t come back. People have adapted to life in lockdown after living through it for several months now, and much like working from home, those who may have bought some clippers and tried at-home hair colouring etc and decided they prefer it, may never set foot in a hairdressers again. This will hopefully be offset by those people desperately needing a haircut and looking forward to getting in the chairs as soon as humanly possible.
The move away from walk-ins is one that some have seen coming for quite a while. If the French model of totally banning impromptu appointments is followed, a lot of professionals will have to quickly adapt to the change. With the amount of tech tools already being used by professionals in the industry, we don’t think it will be too hard to add a booking system to the pile. We really do hope that the post-Covid period will be one of growth for the whole industry, as we all get used to the “new normal”.
Possibly the most shocking change will be more of a cultural one, with it being suggested that there will be no more chit-chat between the beautician and the customer. While we know this may be too much for some to handle, it is necessary to keep the chance of infection as low as possible. The sound of chatter from any beautician or hairdresser will be sorely missed by us all.
The experience on the customer’s side is going to be just as weird for them. What used to be a friendly conversation with someone you visit every few weeks becomes ultra-sanitary and silent. We have got to make sure that the customer still feels welcome in what will be new surroundings, and that they adapt to the “new normal” as quickly as possible.
It’s not just going to be the appointment itself, but the whole process that will be different for the customer. In the same way that many professionals are new to online bookings, many customers will also be new to the idea. The new tech will be a bit of a struggle to get used to in the first place, but it will definitely help us all out in the long run.
What we’re doing
We are doing our absolute best to support all the professionals who have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The government has put certain funds together for those who classify under self-employed, and the Job Retention and Business Interruption schemes are out there for small businesses.
Having to manage appointments for every customer will be a challenging experience, and we hope to support anyone who is going to struggle with the logistical side of it. Not every professional will have the time or the funds to keep a full online appointment book, and we will be helping out as many professionals as we can.
We hope you all are staying safe. Take care.