How has the coronavirus pandemic brought innovative changes to salons?
It's expected that thousands of people will rush to the salons in desperation to get back in the chair, yet amongst all the excitement concerns are arising as to how salon owners will manage.
The hair and beauty industry is known to be about being invited into your client’s personal space, so it will be pretty impossible to social distance. With salons being able to operate at about 50% of their usual capacity, it means managers will have to start getting creative with their ways of working!
Salons & Technology
According to Yell Business, 98% of salon owners have adapted their ways of communicating as a result of the numerous lockdowns. An increase in technology usage after COVID-19 is predicted to help assist salons with getting back on their feet and help the operations of the business run a little smoother.
Whilst technology can be a little daunting and not something a lot of salon owners want to spend their time doing, a lot of owners have already found it (particularly social media and instant messaging services) to be useful for their business over the pandemic in terms of communicating with their clients.
According to Yell’s research those that have been more effective are:
• 67% of business stated that Facebook has been very/somewhat effective since the first Lockdown.
• 66% of business stated that Direct Mail has been very/somewhat effective since the first Lockdown.
• Messaging services such as: SMS texting (64%), WhatsApp (63%) and Instagram direct messaging (58%) followed.
With the changes to communication, 32% of businesses said that instant messaging is vital for business success due to the effects of COVID-19. It’s believed that accessing messaging services has resulted in an uplift of enquires, repeat customers and an increase in sales. Given these adaptions, 74% of business owners state that they are optimistic about the success of their business in 2021.
The Vanilla Room: A second opinion
Of course, in addition to offering high quality services, salons act as a learning hub for many future hairdressers. Salon apprentices at The LHAA have had to adapt to online learning, getting their resources from a variety of materials such as class zoom sessions, live tutorials from tutors, virtual one-to-ones and supplemented with materials provided by brands such as Barbicide and L’Oréal.
We’ve had loads of positive feedback regarding our online training so decided to speak to one of our partnered salon owners Kerry Larcher, who manages The Vanilla Room Hornchurch about how they’ve also used technology to continue to educate their 15+ learners.
Kerry and her training co-ordinator Emma Sykes have been using technology and social platforms to continue live-demonstrations on dolls heads and all sorts of web resources to keep the team focused on learning. By involving The Vanilla Room stylists, they can take their turns in participating in live sessions to demonstrate techniques such as balayage and cutting.
Kerry also adds:
“Emma has even got me to take a full session during lockdown where myself and the learners watched some fabulous razor haircutting techniques, discussed them and then I recreated them on dollys live from the salon. Emma has literally set up so much content on teams it is like we have our very own video education channel! Plus we have been getting them on webinars hosted by L’Oreal. They have had such a great lockdown learning experience.”
Other future changes
As well as coming from a communication aspect, technology can be incorporated to make sure COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are being followed as closely as possible.
Many salons are looking at limiting walk-ins with some possibly scrapping the idea all together. Using FREE tools such as Schedul is a brilliant way to maintain your appointments and keep a clear idea of who will be coming in and out of the salon.
For some, closing waiting areas may be necessary to enhance the space in your salon. To keep your customers in the loop, drop them a text when their appointment is ready so they can arrive when you’re ready and reduce people in the salon.
Technology is also being used to enhance safety measures such as carrying out virtual health checks before entering the salons by using a small digital survey regarding symptoms.
A lot of salons are looking at broadening their services to give a more personal touch and to help those who may still feel anxious about going outside. Expanding your services to mobile is a great way to reduce the amount of people in your salon while still managing your clients. Mobile working is extremely popular for clients and flexible staff. According to Yell’s survey, 18% of salons have started home visits.
Having flexible working in place with preparations for the event that someone is sick is a great way of making sure your salon can still accommodate the clients that are booked in, particularly in the first few months of reopening.
Many salons are considering extending their opening hours, not only for their clients but in order to rotate staff to ensure they get sufficient working hours.
Hiring an apprentice is also a route many salon owners will look to go down to help maintain their workload and provide an extra pair of helping hands.
What changes will you be making to your salon in order to work efficiently? We’d love to know!