#001 - The Change Required for Post COVID-19 Recovery

business covid-19 Sep 12, 2020

I’ve never worked harder in my life than in the past 6 months, (at the time of writing this blog, March to September 2020), but not the kind of work you’re probably thinking. I’ve spent that time researching, analysing studies and predictions made by economists and business leaders on the impact COVID-19 will have on the business world. And then more specifically, analysing how it will impact the beauty industry.

I hope you’ve noticed that this blog is labelled Post COVID blog #001. That’s because no matter what happens from this point forward, EVERYTHING will be different. Strategies and tactics used in the past may not necessarily apply and even if they do, they’ll need to be tweaked. So I wanted to remove what I’ve shared in the past and start feeding you with up-to-date information, strategies and tactics without risking you getting confused or overwhelmed by looking at something that may be outdated.

Pretty serious hey? Yeah. THIS IS SERIOUS.

The undeniable consensus of my findings is that the pandemic will leave a huge and lasting impact on salons even long after the world is more stable. Although the beauty industry has been resilient to past recessions (often referred to as a recession-proof industry), to remain so with a recession borne from a pandemic will require new strategies. Moving forward salons will have to make big changes to the way they do business. It is NOT all doom and gloom, despite the beauty industry being hit the hardest.

First, here are my key findings and conclusions

  • There will be a drop in appointment bookings for health reasons. Regardless of restrictions mandated by government, those with compromised immune systems and the elderly will not be exposing themselves freely. Family members and carers of these two groups will also be more conscious and thoughtful about the degree of their exposure in order to protect their loved ones. And even some not in these two groups will be more thoughtful about their level of exposure. Developing the virtual side to your business and embracing technology is inevitable, inescapable and a huge opportunity
  • There will be a drop in appointment bookings for economic reasons. With many losing jobs and business owners being financially compromised, people will be way more conscious and thoughtful about where they spend their money. Some may spend less, but past history proves that they moreso spend differently. Developing new ways to communicate and promote the benefits and expertise of what you offer compared to your competitors is going to be required. 'Why' they should buy from you has never been more important
  • There will be a drop in appointment bookings as home self-care has been magnified. The increasing concern for physical contact means consumers will rethink in-salon services. Salons will need to find ways to leverage this rather than just accept a drop in treatment bookings
  • Working from home has become a new norm. Many other industries are rethinking this way of working as a new opportunity to scale down their businesses. Way more people will be working from home permanently. Recent post-pandemic studies have shown that makeup up and fragrances sales have dropped whilst skincare and ‘self-care’ products have grown with predictions that this pattern will continue. This means there is a growth opportunity in focusing on looking after the skin
  • For the consumers who MAY consider exposing themselves, beauty salons, skin clinics and medspas will need to work harder to retain them. Businesses will need to redefine, clarify AND JUSTIFY what in-house services can do for clients to ensure they keep coming through the door for services and results they cannot achieve themselves
  • Even before COVID-19, eCommerce had been steadily growing in our industry. Post the pandemic, the growth has doubled and will continue to grow at this rate with people thinking twice about exposing themselves to potential risk. Recent post-pandemic studies have shown that consumers are indicating that they’re likely to increase their online spending and engagement. Salons will need to prioritise digital offerings and channels (website and social media)
  • With the ever-growing online availability for skincare from you competitor industries, not only is it important to ‘up’ your digital game but more than ever it will be pertinent that salons have expert therapists in their employ in order to distinguish the need for consumers to seek advice from the ‘expert’ as opposed to doing it or choosing themselves by buying directly online without advice and support

“Even though the economic magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic on brands and retailers will be far greater than any recession, there are signs that the beauty industry may once again prove relatively resilient.” - McKinsey

I absolutely agree with this and here’s what keeps me optimistic. The beauty industry is regarded to be in a stronger position than other consumer categories. The need and demand for looking good, younger and healthy is not going anywhere. In fact, it’s predicted to be an even higher priority post the pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 is likely to accelerate trends that were already taking shape in our industry. Virtual services. Digital sales, communication, engagement. The solutions you provide your clients need to be focused on this.

I’ve always preached doing the ‘good work’, the ‘right work’. Never before has this been more important and required from you. And working ON your business is way more valuable than ever. It’s required more than ever.

"I genuinely believe that if you make the decision that this will not take you out then YOU are in a position to come back stronger. Now’s the time to redefine or even reinvent your business. Reorganise and streamline your business, delivering the same solutions, differently." - Brigitte Benge

Keep an eye on this blog. I’m am going to help you think and develop the areas of your business that are MOST profitable and least costly.