Future of beauty and wellness businesses in 2021
By Isla Knight, founder of JustUWellness
The wellness industry has faced at least as many challenges as other industries during Covid-19, if not more. First there was lockdown and then most wellness businesses had to wait longer into the relaxation of restrictions before being able to reopen. And, when they could open their doors again, these businesses had to do a lot more to prepare than many others, to ensure they were operating safely. Many are likely to have taken a further hit financially following both lockdowns, as the amount of space they have in which to perform treatments will have been reduced by social-distancing measures.
It’s been hard for consumers, too; people have had to forgo the treatments they used to undertake regularly in order to feel, well… well.
The wellness/beauty industry has adapted in three main ways since the beginning of the pandemic: It has become more flexible, more technology driven, and more hygienic. All of this is positive. And the industry will need to continue to embrace these adaptations to move forward and thrive.
Users are still eager to access beauty and wellness services and, if anything, they are keener than ever as everyone is feeling the stress of the last year.
This means we all need to be flexible.
The wellness industry has adapted quickly to help consumers and it will need to continue to do so. It has had a massive learning curve forced upon it. Physios and osteopaths, for example, have been able to offer advice over the phone, video and via email to help clients keep fit and mobile. Counselling has also adapted offering remote sessions. It can even be done via text for people who do not want to be overheard by other household members.
When we finally head into a post-Covid world, I believe flexibility is one of the things that will help these businesses prosper. Therapists will have changed their mindsets on the way they work; they will be more responsive to the needs and requirements of their clients, more willing to give advice over the phone or via video call between formal treatments and better prepared to visit people at home. Clients will continue to want and expect the flexibility they have become accustomed to and providers are aware that being adaptable is important.
Online communication and working together has blossomed over the last year and this will continue post-Covid to the benefit of consumers and practitioners alike.
You can now provide personalised workouts via Zoom, as a counsellor you can speak to clients on video call, beauty therapists can provide online tutorials or one-to-one advice sessions on things such as maintaining your hair extensions, grooming your own brows and looking after skin, to name but a few.
Of course, many consumers will be desperate to go back to their favourite salon, class or therapist as we emerge from the end of the Covid tunnel but think of the opportunities of continuing to offer online wellness support.
The demand is there. Much as people will probably still want to work from home some days of the week, and continue to socialise online sometimes, people are going to want to access wellness services remotely. So, it’s a win-win.
I also think people will rely much more on technology when researching and booking treatments, reading reviews of providers online, rather than relying on word-of-mouth, and using the internet or apps to book a variety of treatment quickly and easily. If you don’t already have a digital booking system, now is the time to invest in one. These systems help save time and money for both therapists and consumers, making everyone’s life easier.
FOCUS ON HYGEINE
Even when the vaccine has been fully implemented, I believe that people will continue to be far more conscious of hygiene.
Where treatments are happening in-person – which, of course, many really do have to – hygiene will stay at the top of the agenda.
Wellness providers will definitely need to have hygiene and social distancing as a priority, even following widespread vaccination, as values have shifted and people are going to be naturally more cautious. This, in turn, will provide peace of mind for customers who are currently keeping their distance and keeping contact to a minimum.
Customers will expect to see hygiene standards raised and therapists will have to rise to the occasion with clear labelling and policies to show how they are maintaining hygiene. After all, we are all now hyper-aware of the importance of looking after each other!
FUTURE SUPPORT AND INVESTMENT
So far, the Government has not really looked at support for wellness. Whether or not support becomes available further down the line, I believe the industry will survive, and thrive. In part this will be because it will be supported by investment. Investors will see the value of the industry. They will understand that consumers are seeing wellness as an essential service, not just a treat to indulge in when they have free time. Indeed, I believe the industry is going to see a massive boom, post-Covid and investors will be keen to be involved.
Overall, wellness has a very bright future ahead. People are more aware than ever that they need to look after themselves and they are going to be making the most of the new look wellness industry to make them feel good.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Isla Knight is the founder of JustUWellness. JustU is a booking service, accessed online or via the JustU App, that gives you the power to book a wide range of wellness treatments with the click of a button. JustU links users with professional salons and lifestyle providers.