We are living in uncertain times, and the lockdown has impacted some sectors more than others. Along with the hospitality industry, beauticians have experienced the adverse effects of the pandemic more than most. Even when hairdressers could work, treatments requiring close contact were not allowed. Consequently, for the best part of a year, those working as beauticians have been unable to earn money. It is also not the easiest of businesses to take online, but not impossible. Here we explore the ways that the internet could support a beautician businesses throughout the coming months.
First, you can use Etsy, eBay, and the Amazon Marketplace to set up a business selling your inventory. You probably have a strong connection with suppliers and can use the margins to maintain your income in this strange time. You do not need to store the stock or even commit money to a large inventory with some sites. You can offer the items for sale and Amazon FBA, for instance, will dispatch the products for you.
While this sort of buying and selling is not really the in-person work a beautician enjoys, you can use your expertise and contacts to keep your business ticking over until this pandemic ends.
One way that a beautician can continue work is through virtual consultations. Talking to someone through choices and application methods using video conferencing can replace the in-store experience to drive sales. When taking the consultation, you can recommend products you can then dispatch through a courier company.
The consultations offer that possibility to experience before buying that drives purchases. Beautician products do not thrive online as much as others, as people do not feel qualified to make the right choices for their skin or hair type and other needs. The beautician products with the highest mark-up are unlikely to be an impulse buy, and even if they were, an eCommerce shop doesn’t really lend itself to the quick drop into a basket.
Better still, the use of augmented reality apps will help beauticians demonstrate the products and try on the make-up product virtually. A tech solution company called Perfect owns an app called YouCam that could help brands show off products to potential customers.
Pivot to selling other in-demand healthcare products online
The pandemic has actually shown a surge in demand for health and beauty products, as people choose to buy products online to support wellbeing.
While make-up and other luxury products might not be high on the list of priorities, other products that sanitize and moisturize the skin are now essential. While you might not be lured into selling hand sanitizer and other hand care products, there is an opportunity here. Alternatively, you might want to leverage the feelings of people who want to feel better. Being stuck at home and feeling low due to the uncertainty and lack of social contact, people might turn to self-care products to help them face up to the world.
At-home DIY kits are likely to be highly popular. Easy-to-use hair dyes, for instance, are likely to fly off the virtual shelves. You could even use the online eCommerce sites to create unique white label bundles, which you could use to bolster your reputation as a top-level beautician.
Maintain your relevance
When you have built a business, with a loyal customer base, keeping your brand at the forefront of their mind is difficult. Pivoting to an eCommerce business, using sites such as Etsy and supporting this with video conferencing tools is one way. Selling DIY products is another. However, if you want to keep that personal touch, then you need to appear in your customers’ social media feeds and do this often.
Obviously, you can keep people up to date with what you know about opening times. However, as most governments are uncertain of the possibilities for returning to normal, it is futile trying to predict yourself. However, as people have a lot of time to spare, providing them with content to watch or webinars to connect could be just the thing. Imagine getting a host of your clients to sign up for a session where you teach people how to apply make-up for zoom meetings or use a hair dye to deal with exposed roots.
One positive by-product of this lockdown is a desire in the population to support those adversely impacted. Consequently, if you show up to bring some pleasure into people’s lives, they will be quick to return to your business when the world opens again. While you might not earn money directly, you will be banking a reputation that will pay dividends in the future. It is also possible to monetize your internet content if you have the time to commit. However, you might feel garnering goodwill is much more valuable than charging for any online content or succumbing to advertising.
Face-to-face consultations are impossible and will likely be so for a good time yet. The internet is an opportunity for most sectors, but it is easy to believe that the beautician cannot work from home. However, people still need beauty products, and many seek advice from online sources each and every day.
The first way to work from home using the internet would be to set up an eCommerce site. Selling your stock over the internet is one way to keep the funds rolling in. If your customers enjoy consultations, it is possible still to set up appointments. Offering guidance and support via video conference software is one way you can still sell your expertise and time. Using tech such as augmented reality could take these consultations to the next level.
However, on a simple level, you can maintain your loyal customers using social media and using YouTube. You could even stretch yourself to become a teacher to your clients. You will be surprised how much pleasure you could bring to your clients’ lives.
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR based in Armagh, Northern Ireland. She has previous experience as a website editor and journalist, and currently works with Franklins Beauty.