For most beauty brands, playing in a very high-touch industry, the unfamiliar need to practice social distancing created by COVID-19 has become a challenge which no one could have anticipated. We obviously didn’t have a ‘pandemic game plan’ in place when we went into lockdown, however this sudden change required us to quickly pivot, shift our thinking and create new strategies each week to support our salon/clinic partnerships to drive revenue for their businesses.
A quote that really resonated with us during this time of our evolution is by Charles Darwin
– “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. Change is something that all businesses have had to face during this time and we believe it has been our strong focus on ‘true partnership’ that has paved the way for us to create initiatives that supported our professional network of partners and to keep them on track and focussed.
The first question we asked ourselves was, how do we stay connected with our business partners and consumers without being face-to-face? We quickly transformed all communication to connect virtually with our salon/clinic partners, increasing the frequency and content that was delivered in business webinars and one-on-one webinars to ensure we kept in touch and coached them through strategies aimed at generating revenue during and coming out of COVID 19.
We are a trusted Australian brand and our business partners have benefited from us being locally based and our continued investment in healthy stock levels, which has been crucial during these times where many international brands have been managing freight restrictions.
The commitment to our company purpose and our brand values, which underpin our culture, has also played an important role in guiding our approach to the development of our strategies and tactics during the pandemic.
Our brand purpose is to empower everyone we touch around the world with real skincare and life changing results.
ULTRACEUTICALS COMPANY VALUES:
This is the heart of our culture and cornerstone of our strategic development at Ultraceuticals. It’s where our ‘true partnership’ mantra is really exercised, supporting our salon partners especially through hard times, and asking ourselves how we can support our partners in continuing to engage guests and generate revenue even during lockdown conditions. This includes providing guidance on how partners can transition out of COVID 19 to ensure their businesses not only survive but thrive.
Teamwork and Collaboration
We understand that we can achieve more when everyone works together towards the one goal. We work closely with our partners to gain insights into how their businesses work and gather feedback on strategies to improve them where needed.
Learning and Innovation
We create very strong, engaging education programs which combine online and one-on-one coaching which is essential for a results driven cosmeceutical skincare range. Our innovation extends beyond the innovation in our products, to the development of valuable tools to assist our partners to keep their staff engaged, inspired and motivated, even during a pandemic.
Respect and Trust
Relationships mean everything to us, and we strive to set a strong foundation of trust, respect and care in all of our partnerships.
It’s important that we deliver results in our skincare, and just as important that we deliver results on a business level, and in the case of COVID 19, critical to drive revenue for our salon/clinic partners during these challenging times.
In this new age, traditional ways of recruiting, engaging and driving businesses requires reinvention to evolve from face-to-face contact to virtual methods. Our efforts focussed on four effective virtual business-building strategies, designed to support our salon/clinic partners and maximise revenue online. These included:
- How to optimise passive online revenue opportunities
- How to drive recruitment and engagement with guests through social media
- How to provide personalised service for new and existing guests through
- How to utilise Webinars to provide virtual business coaching for our
network of salon/clinic partners
Optimising passive online revenue opportunities
Our Professional-centric Omni Channel model of distribution consists of three channels – salons, online and department store. We believe it is crucial that all three channels work harmoniously together to mutually support each other. Professional-centric means we are focussed on our professional channel as our primary distribution channel, whereby guests are provided the ultimate brand experience from professional consultation and recommendation, through to a comprehensive menu of skin treatments.
The Ultraceuticals website was designed well before COVID-19, to enable our salon/clinic partners to receive a share of the margin from an online customer’s referred sale from their site via a ‘shop now button’, or nomination during the checkout process. This effective program allowed our partners during the lockdown period to earn ‘passive revenue’ 24/7 through the online referral program. We have always invested heavily in our website as support to our salon/clinic partners, and we strive to also utilise the online store to drive foot traffic into our salon locations for consultation and professional treatment services. In addition, for first time purchases online, that guest is provided a $50 welcome treatment voucher which is 100% subsidised by us, to encourage online consumers to book in to their closest Ultraceuticals location to receive the full guest experience.
Driving guest recruitment and engagement through social media
Social media is an excellent platform for a salon/clinic to recruit and engage with a wide community of potential and current guests. We have found that consumers are hungry for advice and knowledge about skincare in general, tips on how to maximise their current skincare regimen and how to address major skin concerns and unique challenges born through COVID 19 such as acne resulting from wearing masks called ‘Maskne’.
We already had a marketing portal in place for partners to access business building tools and practical guides, and during COVID we focussed our efforts in generating an extensive and comprehensive bank of tools, assets, content and checklist/ guidelines for social media use. We enhanced this with weekly Zoom training sessions with our salon partner. These offered them a chance to work step by step through our guidelines to apply these social media tools to assist with recruitment and engagement of their guests.
On reflection of our pandemic journey as a business, we developed a proactive stance to a very challenging situation, always remaining open to evolution and embracing new business practices that could benefit our salon/clinic partners. I’d recommend that to businesses. We believed if we developed successful strategies and programs for our partners, then we would also be successful.
This article first appeared in the November/December issue of Professional Beauty magazine. Download the issue here.
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