With much to look forward to in the New Year, we’ve gathered the top salon and spa trends to pay attention to in 2018.
A few things to note: First, mobile devices and social media are more powerful than ever for the beauty and wellness industries. Mobile should be a seamless aspect of your business and social media should be utilized as one of your biggest marketing tactics. Second, the autonomy of digital devices and super retailers like Amazon are going to force salons and spas to step up their customer service game and technology. Last, as clients become more self-aware of the latest style and product trends, businesses will have to focus more on continued education and in-demand products such as organic skincare.
#1: Instagram and Selfie Stations
Social media continues to be a driving force in the buyer’s journey as 78% of consumers say a company’s social media posts impacts their purchases. As a result, expect more designated photo areas to start popping up in salons and spas. These photo-friendly spaces are the perfect marketing tool to show off the talents of service providers with high-quality images. Furthermore, posting client selfies can help increase social media growth (pictures with faces see higher engagement) and revenue, as consumers are heavily influenced by their peers.
#2: Natural Beauty Products
The organic beauty boom is part of the larger shift in customer awareness about health and wellness. Consumers have access to more information than ever before thanks to a growing number of beauty blogs and social media accounts dedicated to the benefits of going chemical-free. By the end of 2018, the global demand for organic personal-care products is expected to reach $13.2 billion. The quickly growing industry will motivate many salons and spas to add organic products to their inventory.
Several big businesses such as Sephora, Mastercard, and Starbucks are already using chatbots. What exactly is a chatbot, you ask? A chatbot is a service, that you interact with via chat interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Text Messages, etc. These bots can be built to perform a wide variety of services such as answering customer service questions, scheduling appointments, purchasing retail and more. Chatbots are on the verge of becoming a regular part of business since people are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks
#4: The Desk-Less Front Desk
While this trend sounds scary, it’s not meant to be taken literally. Going desk-less refers to removing the physical barrier between the front desk professional and the client. In a mobile-minded world, customers already expect an engaging experience. Without the front desk as a point of friction, front desk employees instantaneously have the opportunity to enhance customer service. This can help salons and spas compete with retail giants like Amazon. With such a huge market share, many salons and spas are worried about the detrimental effects on retail sales. Removing the desk allows employees to deliver the customer experience of a client’s dreams, which is something Amazon can’t do.
#5: Continued Education
With instant access to blogs, digital publications, social media and more, clients are becoming more aware of current trends. As a result, the beauty and wellness industries have become more education-focused in recent years to help professionals stay competitive and up-to-date. From apps to 3-day retreats, to YouTube videos, to demo classes, 2018 will continue to see a boom in professional development. Beyond keeping up with the consumer, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth. Businesses will need to find a way to fund continued education as well as provide a career path for employees to retain employees and keep them motivated.
#6: NFC Payments
From online booking to SMS confirmations, to business apps, the ubiquity of mobile devices has made its way into several business functions, including the register. 2018 will continue to see a boom of mobile-minded checkout options, including NFC. NFC (near field communication) is the technology that allows contactless payments at your credit card terminal. Think Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. NFC-enabled payments are the future for three key reasons: they’re secure, the fastest way to pay, and convenient for customers. To accept NFC mobile payments, businesses will need to upgrade to an NFC-enabled reader.
#7: Curating Customer Experiences
Exceptional customer service doesn’t stop at the front desk. Personalization has been a recent focus in marketing tactics, but the New Year may see personalization taken to a new level. People really like their own name, so much so that researchers found that individuals who share an initial with a disaster (i.e. Sandy, Maria, Irma, etc.) will be more likely to donate to relief efforts. Businesses will continue to personalize the experience by adding names to emails, SMS messages, on the mirror, next to the service table, at the check-in kiosk, on the welcome bag, and so much more. It’s curating one-of-a-kind brand experiences with elements such as Instagram stations (see #1), outstanding customer service (see # 4), and utilizing the latest technology (see # 3, 6, and 9) that are critical for setting a business apart from its competitors.
#8: Men’s Grooming
2017 has already seen a huge boost in male grooming services and sales. As the men’s grooming industry continues to expand, the market is estimated to reach $60.7 billion by 2020. This growth may be attributed to men’s changing perception of grooming and self-care. Now more than ever before, many salons and spas are finding that men enjoy these services as pleasurable, leisurely activities and are more than willing to spend the money for them. Men are becoming more knowledgeable about beauty. They are paying attention to their looks, with hair care being the biggest category, and shaving second. Furthermore, barbershops are making a comeback. As the fastest-growing profession in the U.S., the number of barber shops has grown roughly 10% in the last two years.
#9: Technology Upgrades
Technology is changing faster than ever and clients expect a certain level of “technological-convenience.” Keeping up with the latest technology, such as NFC-enabled terminals (see #6), mobile register and inventory tools, chatbots (see #3), business apps, two-way texting, and more, will help salons and spas continue to woo clients. As several of these technologies are out of their early-adopter phase, expect 2018 to be the year where many salons and spas add new tech bells and whistles and upgrade their peripherals and business management software.