Instant messaging services are key for beauty businesses to thrive post-Covid, survey finds

New research has revealed that 98% of hair and beauty businesses have introduced new ways of communicating with their customers as a result of the pandemic.

The study by Yell Business looked at the challenge business owners have faced in recent months. In particular, examining how SMEs have adapted to survive in light of Covid-19 and how this event is changing the way businesses and consumers communicate.

Out of all sectors that were studied in the report, the hair and beauty (H&B) industry was found to be the most adaptable, with 100% of businesses surveyed introducing a new service.

Of those new services, the findings showed:

  • 41% started doing online video consultations
  • 37% have started taking online bookings
  • 36% have produced online video tutorials
  • 21% introduced contactless payment systems
  • 18% started home deliveries/visits

Over half (54%) of H&B businesses who introduced a new service said it was crucial for them to be able to survive the pandemic, with 90% stating they plan on continuing the service post Covid-19.

Communication with clients

The research also identified how the global pandemic has accelerated changes in the ways businesses are communicating with their customers.

98% of H&B businesses have introduced new ways of communicating in 2020 with instant messaging platforms coming to the fore. Over a quarter (28%) have started using WhatsApp to communicate with customers and 23% have started texting. 18% of businesses have started using Facebook for the first time followed closely by Instagram at 17%.

While a phone call is still the most popular communication method for H&B businesses and their customers alike, the most effective marketing communication tool used by H&B businesses during the pandemic was found to be Facebook Messenger. When asked whether the tool had been either ‘very' or ‘somewhat' effective since March's national lockdown, 67% of businesses stated that it had. Direct mail (66%), a Facebook page (64%), SMS texting (64%), WhatsApp (63%) and Instagram direct messaging (58%) followed.

Optimism for post-Covid success

Nearly a third (32%) of businesses surveyed said that instant messaging is key for business success post Covid-19, whilst 33% stated they had seen an uplift in enquiries thanks to using instant messaging services during the pandemic. 33% said that they had seen an uplift in repeat business and 30% saw an increase in sales.

Despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19, H&B businesses remain positive for the future. 74% of salon owners state that they are optimistic about the success of their business in 2021 and, prior to heading into the current lockdown, 79% of businesses stated they were more prepared to deal with another lockdown

Claire Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Yell, comments: “The last six months have been incredibly tough for the hair and beauty industry, but it's heartening to see that the majority of the sector remains optimistic in the face of adversity. Our research highlights not only the sheer adaptability of businesses, but also their ability to find the right way to communicate change to their existing and potential customers. It's clear that during these uncertain times, instant messaging services have been a real lifeline to hair and beauty businesses who have had to adapt and adjust their models quickly.”

To access further stats from the study and get tips and advice from Yell Business on how to communicate effectively with customers, click here.

(Image: iStock/Getty Images)