Spa owners are rising to the challenge as they reopen, and rethink, during COVID-19.
“It’s not the strongest who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptive to change.”
This is the conclusive research that scientist Charles Darwin first published in 1859 with his famous book, The Origin of Species. Although his study was regarding nature’s living organisms, this statement has never rung truer than in the world of business.
Growing through crisis is not just about seeing the opportunity. It is about embracing the fundamental change we need to make to survive and to succeed in response to our shifting environment. In fact, that is the basis of entrepreneurship: to build a business first in response to a need. Once the need is met, the business can expand its offering to satisfy wants and ultimately dreams, and then multiply with “offspring.” In its own form, we can see it as Business Evolution.
An easy example of this is coffee shops. As the demand for coffee on the go became apparent, coffee shops began to open. Once the basic need was met, they expanded their offering to satisfy people’s wants, and ultimately dreams, with personalized variations. When Starbucks came to market, we would not have predicted that most major cities would eventually have a shop on every corner. It was the transformation of a basic need from a product to an inspiring experience that made it so compelling. This went against the theory at the time that people were drawn to exclusivity: “If I want it, I will find it.” What drew people in was the certainty of a positive experience and accessibility: “If I find it, I will want it.”
Think of it like a continuous flow. If I want chocolate, I will find it and if I find chocolate, I will want it. This pertains to a favourite food as much as it does to an attractive article of clothing, a massage, an exciting beauty product or a favourite meal. If it is in alignment with our basic needs, wants or dreams, we are open to buy it. Once a purchase becomes a habit, that habit sustains your business.
Long after Darwin’s theory was developed, we live in a world of constant adaptation. Technology and consumerism have evolved rapidly to serve our best intentions, and humans are fighting to keep up.
Buying patterns have changed, too. Before the industrial age, people relied largely on themselves for food, beauty rituals and clothing. As the industrial age brought new technology to automate production, people began to consume ready-made products. They learned the value of relying on skilled professionals and artisans to upgrade their standards of living and meet their needs in better ways.
This trend has created an entire consumer culture which sources out nearly every aspect of our lives. We have traded self reliance for the comfort, connection and enjoyment of products and services that give us the outcome we desire. If we are not leaving our homes to get it, it is being delivered to us.
This evolution is present in the spa industry as well. When consumer demand for looking our best and being on point grew from “special day” to every day, the market responded with disruptive price models to encourage frequency and mass appeal. The democratization of beauty ranges from luxury spas delivering world-class experiences without the travel, to membership models that prompt loyalist self care. Whether it’s walk-in spas with extended hours and high volume, mobile services, staycation wellness spas or medi-spas that accelerate results, services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, hair services and massages are positive experiences accessible to everyone. Why do it yourself when the experts can save you time, money and produce the best results?
Enter COVID-19, a global pandemic that has disrupted nearly every purchasing pattern and habit we have as human beings. Overnight, hand soap and sanitizer flew off the shelves, while bustling social coffee shops closed for isolation. As societies struggled to maintain contagion, spas waited months to re-open with extreme limitations. Sociologists say COVID-19 presents the profoundest public health and economic crisis of our times. Most importantly, it makes us realize that other ways of living are within our grasp. The question is, how will the beauty and wellness industry adapt to stay relevant, profitable and ultimately survive?
Here are five non-negotiable strategies to adapt and evolve in the new economy.
- Shift your mindset from provider to advisor.
Focus on the purpose of your business. The results you produce are more than the quality of the physical touch. Value the expertise you have in your field and package that as a program.
- Offer services on site and online.
Accessibility is the key. Take everything you sell on site and make it available online, deliverable and easy to understand.
- Make global your new local.
Think of the problems your business solves for your local consumers. Curly hair solutions or acne treatments can be applied to the global marketplace with online marketing strategies. Use affiliate programs to deliver to places outside your reach.
- Evolve dependence into empowerment.
Teach your clients the “why” behind what you are selling. Provide the tools they need to get the fundamental results. Use social media to coach them through the process and use your on-site services to take them to the next level.
- Double up on the emotional experience.
Surprise, delight and inspire your clients. Exceptional customer service and genuine kindness with a personalized experience makes you stand out from the crowd.
The key is to realize that today’s consumers crave quality and have the desire to live their best life now. As consumers, we have grown from self reliance to dependence and are entering a post-pandemic world of empowerment.
Gather your team, reach out to your clients and expand your capacity to be the ultimate destination for what you do best. Most importantly, have the courage to try new things. Adaptability is about being open, optimistic and flexible. Be an explorer and create a new world of success for yourself and others.