4 Communication Trends Shaping the Beauty Industry in 2023

Wanting to know the top ways to communicate with your clients to ensure repeat business? Podium’s Country Manager, Dave Schiene reveals the fundamentals to follow. See his top 4 communication trends below.

Few industries were harder hit by the pandemic than beauty. But through the most immense challenges they innovated and adapted to continue providing essential services for their customers. These customers have changed, though. Their habits, preferences and demands are drastically different compared to pre-pandemic. Before, the customer experience revolved almost around the few hours they spent in your chair or salon. Now, though, it begins long before they arrive for their appointment and long after they leave.

Technology is fundamental to our personal and professional lives, and consumers now expect quick, convenient and digitally- driven customer experiences from beauty salons too. But don’t be daunted; making small adjustments to your customer engagement strategy will enable you to build the customer relationships that incentivise loyalty and turn good salons into great salons.

Here are four consumer trends that your business should be aware of heading into 2023.

1. Convenience is king

Nail salons, beauticians and other beauty businesses are part of the glue that binds Australian highstreets. Support for these local businesses is – and always has been – strong in Australia. However, consumers – many of whom are tech-savvy – are slowly losing patience for businesses that fail to cater to their habits and preferences. Salons who recognise how their customers are changing, then cater to their habits with convenient communications strategies will be better placed to succeed.

Podium’s Business-to-Customer Communications Report sought to understand what consumers want from local businesses post-pandemic, and reveals Australian consumers’ tolerance for poor business communication has decreased since the pandemic. So much so that many are willing to blacklist the businesses who don’t cater to their habits and preferences. Our survey of over 1,000 Australians reveals that 48% of consumers have less tolerance for inconvenient businesses, more than half (57%) would be less likely to engage with a business if the channel was inconvenient, and 55% would prioritise businesses that offer convenient communication options — even if they’re more expensive.

Competition is fierce in the professional beauty industry, so if it’s not easy to differentiate yourself on price or service, do it on convenience.

2. Reliance on smartphones presents a communication opportunity

One of the biggest changes in consumer behaviour in the wake of the pandemic is how they want to engage with local businesses like yours. Today millions of Australians are reliant on their smartphone for their personal and professional lives, making it an incredibly convenient way to interact with them. They’re communicating with their friends, researching brands and organising their social lives.

The average Australian spends almost two hours a day on their smartphones, with a quarter spending at least three. For the beauty industry, tapping into this affinity to – and reliance on – smartphones, is a significant opportunity. If they have to log into their email or call your salon to interact with your business, it’s already inconvenient. Today, convenience is SMS.

Podium’s Country Manager, Dave Schiene

3. SMS is the new email

Email was once the primary form of communication between salons and consumers has been surpassed by SMS. Three-quarters (76%) of Australians say they’re reliant on SMS reminders to manage their day-to-day life tasks, while 69% say an SMS reminder has saved them from missing an upcoming appointment. Think of the value of those reminders if they’re coming from your business.

Text is an excellent way to book appointments, send payment links and even request an online review after a customer has left their appointment. That’s because, rather than customers having to make phone calls, book appointments online, search your website for an answer, or wait for paper invoices, you can offer everything through SMS – the channel they’re already using to interact with friends and family (and soon, their favourite salon).

4. Tailoring your services

The more your salon can tailor its processes to the needs and desires of your customers, the better customer experience you can provide. The less you spend working in your business, the more you can work on your business. With Aussies increasingly prioritising businesses based on convenience over cost, cater to their needs rather than requiring them to work around your business practice. Ultimately, the more you can show you recognise needs, habits and preferences, the more valued they’ll feel. If it’s convenient for them, it’s convenient for you.

Australia is home to tens of thousands of brilliant beauty businesses, but that means competition is high. Consumers are changing, and while their support for local businesses is still incredibly strong, their loyalty is with the salons that are convenient to interact with. So heading into 2023, you don’t need to give your business an entire makeover; a few digital touch-ups to your customer experience might be all your salon needs for a beautiful 2023.

This article first appeared in the January-February 2023 print issue of Professional Beauty.

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