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"The first step in exceeding your customer's expectations is to know those expectations"

        - Roy H. Williams, best selling author and marketing consultant

Customer Experience (CX) is:

About understanding your customers’ needs and wants so you can engage with them at key points in their journey with the perfect, memorable services and products.

The trends shaping the face of beauty

Beauty trends change in the bat of a natural lift lash.
From activated charcoal to stand out pouts and powder-dipped nails to bakuchiol and lilac locks.
It doesn’t matter how small you are, creating great customer experiences (CX) is the secret
formula to winning and keeping customers in the experience economy.

Read on for the top five CX trends that will bring your customers closer and help you grow your beauty business.

Trend report content overview:

  • Trend #1 Digital brilliance
  • Trend #2 It’s the little things
  • Trend #3 Giving the gift
  • Trend #4 Food for the skin (and soul)
  • Trend #5 Be the brand

Trend #1 Digital brilliance

Digital is a mega-trend. Why?

Because that’s where your customers are at – almost 6 hours a day for millennials and 8.5 hours a day for teens. Whether it’s your Instagram Stories ads or your website – people will see your brand online before they ever step through your door. Few of us will head into a salon without at least a quick glance at the services page or its Google reviews.

In this digital trend, focus on high-quality images and a mobile-optimised site. We all know the importance of image in this industry, so create an online presence that embodies how you want to be viewed by your customers. And here’s how:

  • Stay in touch online via email with great offers, the latest treatments, and beauty advice.
  • Make replying to clients a priority and be active on your platforms. Customers expect an instant response these days so it’s a good idea to set up push notifications that respond to midnight Facebook shellac queries!
  • Use intuitive payments, paperless transactions and automated follow up for a modern approach that entices customers back.
  • Provide upgrade options when booking online, so the customer has an incentive to book additional treatments.

Extend your services beyond your salon on social– be the friendly beauty expert that gives your clients entertaining beauty content to enjoy. Maybe that’s announcing the latest sleep massage or soy candle facial that piques interest so you can say “try out this new tranquil experience with us!”

Trend #2 It’s the little things

This trend is about showing your clients that you care.

Everyone offers coffee now, what about a glass of bubbly, or strawberry and basil kombucha? It’s the small touches and attention to detail that build up to create an unforgettable CX.

What senses do you awaken when a customer walks in the door? Does the scent from the lavender diffuser soothe their soul? Does the gentle folk playlist cause them to leave their stressful day behind? These small touches get people talking about your brand both online and off.

Seek inspiration from luxurious and boutique spa and hairdressers from all over the world. Check out their online presence to see the experiences they offer and their clients’ reactions in the comments. Make a pinboard and get your staff involved in coming up with suggestions.

Exclusivity is the name of this game. Sourcing and stocking hard-to-find “cult” lines get you recognition online. Becoming the go-to salon for curly hair with tailored services and products will quickly get you noticed.

A salon that provides facials, nails and tan is not groundbreaking. A salon that does these during a cocktail evening with the relaxing sound of a live cellist is a sign that you’re committed to wowing your customers.
By creating a service that cannot be enjoyed anywhere else, you will stand out from the competitors and make scheduling that next booking an easy decision for your client.

Trend #3 Giving the gift

Gift giving is an enormous trend and transforming the beauty industry

Whether it’s a treat for finishing a mega-project at work or treasuring a loyal friend, gift giving is an enormous trend – not only in lifting a person’s day but in transforming your beauty business.

But not all salons and spas are benefiting from this trend as they still view their business as a list of services. While many salons offer gift vouchers, the question is; are they gifting the ‘service’ – a 1-hour massage, or the experience – a Harmonising Rose Salt Experience?

Go through your ‘services’ list now and brainstorm how you can wrap up your offer with a gifting bow. Combine services or include products to take home as part of your exclusive offer. Lay on bubbles and nibbles to create the perfect package. Run a ‘Pamper Me’ gift week to tie in with an end of the month payroll treat.

Subscription boxes have taken the beauty world by storm. Massive online beauty brands, such as Birchbox are sending out boxes in their thousands, but your business has something they don’t – a truly personalised approach. You really know your clients’ preferences, and how much time they have in the morning to get ready. Your hairdresser knows your hair way better than an online quiz could, so why not offer a sign up for surprise goodies to be delivered to their doorstep?

Also, think of the group experience trend – mother-daughter pamper days, his and hers spa package and gal pal manicure catch ups. Create magical packages for flourishing friendships or romantic rendezvous so your clients can experience your salon’s chill vibes together!

Trend #4 Food for the skin (and soul)

Beauty & wellness is a massive trend that keeps on growing as the Millennials wants more than just skin-deep beauty.

It’s an exciting transition as beauty and wellness converge now that consumers place healthy lifestyles right at the top of their agenda and are ready to spend on it.

Your customers aren’t just looking for a flawed matte finish to their skin. They want to know that your salon’s products are natural and the ingredients creating their evening look are sustainable and free from animal testing. It’s a challenge that inspires innovation and offers huge potential for beauty businesses who can tick all these boxes so their customers can align wholeheartedly with their brand.

So how can your business go about embodying this trend? Collaborating with local wellness experts – like nutritionists or wellbeing influencers – can get you noticed. Create an exclusive wellness event and invite your clients. Showcase wellness rituals and demonstrate how small additions to your customers’ beauty routines can improve their mood and more besides.

Find local artisan products or collaborate to make your very own beauty range. Invite the artisans in and bring your customers too for a private evening. Involve other local businesses in the event; boutiques, florists, jewellers, gyms and luxury restaurants. These kinds of collaborations now can pay off in the future creation of epic packages for your clients.

Millennials list snacks as their top amenity for enhancing the spa experience– so serve up herbal teas, matcha lattes, fruit-infused water and vegan treats. Offer a bowl of unusual, Insta-worthy fruit they may not have tried before.

Ditch paper cups as the zero-waste movement is rightly taking front and centre place in service industries. And swing it back to the old-school products like Witch Hazel or offer ‘healing’ experiences, like sleep improvement plans.

Trend #5 Be the brand

Trend 5 won’t take long to find, it’s YOU!

Unleash your personality and be your own best brand ambassador – think before and after Instagram carousel videos or images. Create opportunities for clients to help promote your beauty business, like offering to capture their next Instagram post and be sure to follow and reshare.

Measure success by tracking the level of new online bookings, website visits from social and offer codes quoted in-store as you build your social presence.

Instagram is your new salon window – no longer is it just a marketing channel, but a crucial sales channels as new revenue streams are being born on social. Beauty businesses that thrive on Instagram nurture their community with content that delights and adds real value. Create moments in your salon that are irresistibly picture perfect for your customers to capture and share.

Provide props for those beautiful product flat-lays and fill your Instagram Stories with behind-the-scenes content – #BTS. Next, pledge to consistently use your handle and hashtag and check out packaging queens such as ‘Glossier’ and ‘Ouai Haircare’ for inspiration such as pink bubble-wrap bags.

Know that customers are fatigued by the #ad and brand mentions filling their feeds. On the flipside, nano influencers have a smaller, but often very local following, so collaborate with them to grow your customer base.

Always seek out influencers who authentically connect with your salon’s mission and have genuine expertise. Allow them to take over your feed for Q&As and to go-live during treatments. Host events that showcase brand-new treatments and allow clients to meet their favourite local influencer.

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