These are challenging times for salon and spa owners. But they also present an opportunity to develop new revenue channels that will continue to work for you after this crisis is over. Here are four tricks for overcoming the revenue crisis:
1. It’s Time for E-commerce
Business Insider reported in June that e-commerce in the US will rise 18% this year amid the COVID-19 crisis.
It might sound like a huge project, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to build an entire online shop if you don’t have one. You could add as little as an online catalog to your website, and complete transactions by phone. Just as long as customers can go online at any hour, see which products you offer, and put in an order.
Here are a few tips on turning this into a substantial revenue channel:
- Let all your customers know they can now purchase products from you online. Send them an email, and publish the news on your Facebook and Instagram.
- Offer a discount on their first purchase. Or other attractive deals like 50% off the second product.
- In the product descriptions, try to give extra information on who this product is best for or on how to use it.
- Promote specific products and deals on your social channels.
- Get creative: consider branded merchandise too. Think of things your clients might find uplifting and that are also Instagrammable. This could be coffee mugs, t-shirts, face masks or bath robes with funny or encouraging slogans. You could add complementary merchandise to online orders — like shower caps to use when cleaning your face or applying makeup. Get creative with it. And of course, be sure to keep a clean and safe space for packing.
2. Offer Personal Online Consultations
This might seem impossible in your line of business, but it has actually become a popular way to overcome the revenue crisis during lockdown. And even after reopening, clients could still be careful about coming in and prefer a virtual session from time to time.
The idea is to offer video appointments in order to give personal one-on-one consultations to your customers. Obviously, you can’t cut and style hair, give a facial, a massage or do nails or makeup in a video call. But here’s what you can do, and you can charge for:
- See your customers: See their hair, nails and face in order to give personalized advice .
- Listen to your customers: Hear their beauty and wellness concerns and needs.
- Give personalized advice: After seeing your customers and listening to them, you are well positioned to offer personalized advice. You can advise them on how to maintain their beauty and wellness at home. Tell them which practices are best for them, and which they should avoid.
- Recommend products: Tell your customers which products they should use and how often. If these are products you sell online or via phone, offer delivery options.
If your website offers online booking, you can use that for booking these video appointments.
By the way, there are also other advantages to video consultations. They help you maintain the close relationship with your customers, and therefore inspire loyalty.
3. Provide Online Training to Other Professionals
Many beauty and wellness professionals have told the 12handz blog that they used the down time to learn new techniques and methods. “When business is as usual, I can almost never find the time to learn new skills,” one veteran hairstylist told us.
If you’re highly experienced in your field, then you are perfectly positioned to offer other, less experienced professionals, to learn from your expertise. Offer some online training to others currently looking to “upskill, refresh and master”, as Daniel Granger put it back in April. Courses you could offer:
- The basics
- Advanced techniques
- New trends
- Special techniques
Your staff can also be part of this new and exciting business venture. This will enable you to continue securing their income too.
Don’t know how to go about it? Don’t worry. Here are a few resources for you:
- A list of recommended software for holding webinars.
- A list of online hairdressing courses, just to get some inspiration.
Food for thought: You are not limited to professionals who have been in business for a while. Some people are taking this opportunity to consider a career change. So consider holding online training for beginners too.
4. Incentivize Future Bookings and Offer Gift Cards and Memberships
Remember, your customers too want you to stay in business. You can overcome the revenue crisis by encouraging them to support your business. One way is by paying now for future appointments, which can help your current cash flow situation.
Some salons are offering their clients a discount for paying now for future appointments, which is a nice incentive.
Offering membership cards and gift cards is another option. Stylingbar in Houston, Texas, for instance, offers unique assorted gift certificates. They are available online and can be printed from home or sent directly to the recipient, which is great for these uncertain times. And a nice touch for afterwards too.
COVID-19 tip: A lot of salons these days are charging a Sanitation Fee or PPE Surcharge, of $3 or maybe $5. This isn’t an actual way to overcome the revenue crisis, but it will help you cover the expenses of extra cleaning and equipment you might need at this time.
A lovely story from a San Francisco salon:
In this dire economic time, many businesses are asking their loyal customers for donations to stay afloat. This is best suited for neighborhood salons, with a loyal, life-long clientele.
As Fringe + Fern, a family owned and operated salon in San Francisco, stated on their website: Gift cards are popular but not effective in the long run — it’s money they won’t be making when things go back to normal.
So they asked for donations on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. Many of their loyal customers were happy to pitch in. If you feel this tactic could work for you, you can do the same, or offer a “Donation Purchase” in your online shop.
This lovely little story just goes to show how essential beauty businesses are to their clients.