Operating a face to face business during a pandemic
As a predominantly service-based industry, many beauty businesses have been severely impacted by COVID-19. With most beauty businesses having to close during a lockdown, they have had to adjust and adapt quickly to survive. Charlotte Harrison, owner of The Beauty Bar in Auckland, New Zealand, quickly upped her company’s online game to help the business survive the lockdown period.
1. Moving from in-person services to online products
Once the lockdown was put in place in New Zealand, Charlotte knew she had to be agile to keep the business running. The Beauty Bar didn’t previously have a big online presence, but they made sure to get online quickly to ensure customers could find them. They set up an online store through Squarespace’s ecommerce platform to allow them to sell products and send them directly to their customers.
“We set up the ecommerce system in our current Squarespace site and it was easy to upload our products quickly,” says Charlotte.
In addition to the products normally sold in-store, Charlotte worked with her supplier to introduce a new offering of ‘at-home’ facial kits, so her clients could keep on top of their skin regime. These include a set of mini products for clients to do their own step-by-step, professional-strength facial at home.
“The bespoke facial kits were well received by our clients and were a great way for them to stay connected with us.”
2. Supporting clients with their beauty routine
“We have been touching base with clients to help them with anything from skin consultations, to ensuring they had the right products. We used MailChimp to communicate with our client base as well as letting them know about the products and kits they could purchase online.”
MailChimp is a marketing automation system that makes it easy to create branded emails and newsletters to keep your clients up-to-date on your business. For a business which didn’t have much of an online presence, this was a super simple way for The Beauty Bar to build one and connect with customers online.
“The emails we sent out inspired a lot of people to purchase pre-paid treatments, gift vouchers, or products to maintain their skincare.”
3. Why you need a tailored ecommerce solution
Because hygiene is so important to beauty therapy, The Beauty Bar had pretty thorough cleaning regimes in place before COVID-19 hit. But they have increased this by having sanitiser available, beauticians now wear a face mask and gloves and change all the bedding and sanitise surfaces after each client.
“To minimise physical contact, we have adjusted our consultation forms so clients can fill these out on their phones before their appointment. We are taking contactless payments via PayWave, with no paper receipts - invoices are emailed at the customer’s request.”
In terms of taking appointments, they introduced a gap in between clients to limit the number of people in the bar and avoid crowding or passing by. As client contact details are all saved in Timely, they can easily carry out contact tracing if required.
Timely is an appointment management system that’s ideal for beauty businesses. With Timely, you can group your services, and add an option to select a staff member to make it easy for your clients to book the right service online. Customer experience is crucial to beauty businesses, and Timely helps deliver an outstanding experience right from the start. Customers can book appointments 24/7 from your website, Facebook and Instagram pages, with a customised appearance to suit your brand.
You can send appointment confirmation emails as well as reminders either via text or email.
Timely integrates with Xero, automatically syncing invoices from Timely to Xero so you can keep your accounts in check. When you take payments through Timely they will sync to the invoice in Xero, ready to be reconciled against your bank account.
The Beauty Bar uses PayPal to take payments through Squarespace, which makes for seamless accounting as it all integrates with Xero. During lockdown, this made it easy for clients to pre-purchase treatments and support Charlotte’s business during a very uncertain time.
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The Xero app marketplace features 800+ third party apps that help small businesses and their advisors seamlessly run their business. With apps that support everything from inventory and logistics to cash flow and project management, businesses have an array of options to build a customised experience.