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The biggest beauty trends of 2024 are already emerging inside spas, salons, and barbershops, and with the help of diversified revenue streams and intuitive appointment booking experiences. With the rise of product trends like sustainable skincare and celebrity beauty brands, businesses are rapidly adopting new strategies and tactics to entice clients.
To identify the top beauty industry trends guiding these professionals’ next moves, we partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 4,000 consumers on their beauty and personal care habits, and we discovered that beauty customers have a complex set of needs when it comes to how they want to interact with beauty businesses they frequent.
Whether you run a cosmetics brand, sell skincare products and services, or run a hair salon franchise, this list of the top trends in the beauty industry will help give your business a leg up in 2024 and beyond.
Salon and spa owners are expanding into retail.
Retail therapy has just taken on a whole new meaning. In 2024, beauty sellers are expanding their businesses into multiple streams of revenue, the biggest of which is retail. Over half of customers (63%) reported purchasing a retail item from a beauty business in the past year, and the purchasing is consistent across generations.
Gen Zers reported buying retail items from a beauty business the most, with 83% having done so. Millennials came in second at 78%; Gen X trailed closely behind at 63%; and the baby boomer generation came in at 37%.
With new offerings come new revenue streams, but if online and in-store retail offerings are not correctly managed, they could be more of a setback than an advantage. When it comes to managing product sales, technology makes salon inventory management easier. Offering beauty products online or for pickup or delivery can also streamline processes.
Many beauty businesses are starting online stores to sell their products and services. One big benefit of an online store is that customers can shop, peruse, and book appointments at whatever time is best for them. With the right set of health and beauty website features, owners can encourage customers to buy their retail offerings in addition to taking other actions, like scheduling a service.
In a salon, beauty professionals might be limited by shelf space, but an online store allows businesses to broaden their inventory, opening up opportunities to increase cash flow and attract new customers. Setting up an online store for retail products can also help you maintain your business in the face of adversity.
Glamourax salon began creating personalized boxes of hair care products that clients could order online during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently sold hundreds of boxes, seeing a 128% increase in retail and services sales once commissions were set up. Think about ways you can satisfy customers and create a unique experience with retail offerings to help unlock a new level of business.
Contactless payments are a key part of the salon experience.
There are few things more enjoyable than a timely, flawlessly executed beauty service, and adding a quick and easy way to pay is the cherry on top for customers. Our research found that the majority of customers across the globe (58%) prefer paying for beauty services via contactless payment methods.
Beauty professionals have multiple options when it comes to contactless payments. Mobile payments enable customers to use their mobile phones to pay for their purchases, meaning they can easily book through a website or an Instagram post. EMV chip payments allow clients to insert their cards into an NFC reader quickly, whereas QR codes let customers scan the code with their phone cameras, add their credit card information, and pay for service all on their own.
And a salon’s front desk isn’t the only place to pay for a beauty service anymore. Whether it’s using QR codes or paying with mobile payment options such as Apple Pay or Cash App, contactless payment options are a priority for customers. They are also an increasingly popular trend for spas and salons, helping clients feel comfortable post-pandemic while making it easy to pay for services wherever they are.
Elizabeth Jayne, Regal Beauty Co owner, uses Square to run her business and the contactless payment options have been great with customers. “My clients love it because I spin it [Square Stand] around to them, easy access, and they can select whether they want a receipt,” said Jayne.
Customers are craving a seamless booking experience.
Ease is the name of the game. When it comes to booking a beauty service, customers have a checklist of things that keep them engaged with the process. The core elements of a beauty business, like a website that clearly outlines services, clearly lists prices, and showcases customer photos, are a significant part of the decision-making process for new customers. Over one in four customers (26%) reported that not having a website with the aforementioned elements makes them likely to avoid booking with a beauty business. For Gen Z and millennials, in particular, this number rose to 40% and 34%, respectively.
Requiring deposits is also a sore spot for customers. Forty percent of customers reported that requiring a deposit to secure an appointment would lead them to avoid a certain beauty business, and this number rose to 44% as it relates to the boomer generation.
Consider foregoing the deposit on your beauty website and emphasizing all of the need-to-know elements to make customers more comfortable booking with you. Have each section of your website properly labeled so customers know exactly where to go to find what they need, and if they want to know more, make it easy for them to contact you. An FAQ section and a “contact us” section, followed by all of your social media channels, lets customers know that you care about their questions and needs, increasing their chances of booking your business.
Don’t forget that a seamless booking experience often creates a seamless checkout experience. With tools that empower your customer before and after they sit in your chair, you can make it easy for them to want to return.
Arax TerOvsepyan, owner of Glamourax salon, prioritizes the checkout experience at her business and has seen a noticeable impact in her clients response. “Square Appointments has all the information my team needs to provide their clients the best experience,” says TerOvsepyan. “Since the appointment is already booked, when the service is done they just click into it and check out. Those little seconds add up, and it’s the small things that save time and reduce stress. When my staff is cheerful and happy, the clients have a better experience,” she added.
Appointment reminders and communication are now a must-have.
Communicating with customers is about more than marketing. It’s about building relationships, and customers want to hear from you. We found that 72% of customers across the globe expect some communication from beauty businesses, particularly regarding loyalty programs and appointment reminders. In the U.S., this number increased to 79%.
Keep your business top of mind for consumers by keeping them updated on what’s happening with your business and their appointments. When it comes to appointment reminders, 90% of customers said they want them. Bringing this to life doesn’t have to be tedious for business owners. Appointment software like Square Appointments sends automatic appointment reminders via SMS and/or email. If you’re torn about which way to send them, 62% of customers said their preferred method of receiving a reminder is via text message.
Take your customer relationships a step further by rewarding customers for choosing you. Loyalty programs are a great way to offer perks to frequent customers, offer exclusive discounts, and encourage customers to stay engaged with your brand. It can also encourage your regulars to stay more consistent. After all, a perk such as one free haircut after three visits is pretty irresistible.
Younger generations are looking for beauty experiences.
Customers are ready for beauty businesses to go beyond the haircut. They’re ready for a bigger experience, and this is especially true for Gen Z. Over three in four Gen Zers (78%) said they would be interested in offerings outside of traditional services, like in-person classes or do-it-yourself (DIY) boxes. Millennials were closely behind, with 69% being interested.
Creating ways for customers to immerse themselves in your brand can create deeper loyalty and encourage natural brand ambassadorship. DIY boxes in particular are also a great way to encourage user-generated content that can help drive traffic and awareness to your social channels. They’re also a great way to let customers try sample sizes of your products at a lower cost and let them put their own spin on your items.
Classes, on the other hand, are an ideal way to let your expertise shine. Teaching classes on how to apply makeup, for instance, doesn’t mean your customers will no longer have any use for your business. Instead, it can work to attract a new audience, open up an entirely new revenue stream, and establish you as a leader in your industry.
Regardless of whether you decide to indulge in DIY boxes, classes, or something different, build these offerings into your website, email and SMS marketing campaigns, and social media channels so customers can know they’re available. For DIY boxes, consider offering them on a recurring basis, like monthly or bimonthly, with a subscription service like Square Subscriptions.
Customers are looking for automation.
Automation can help businesses move faster and alleviate the burden on staff, and customers recognize that. That’s why 63% of global customers prefer automation in at least one area when it comes to beauty businesses, and this number rises to 82% for Gen Z and 80% for millennials. Implementing automation for appointment reminders and loyalty programs is one thing, but using it for other things such as tracking product orders and providing information on products used during appointments can also be beneficial (and preferred at 18% and 16%, respectively).
With Square Appointments I’m able to save 150 hours per month, which I can redirect toward customer service, operational management, and growth. ”Money Singh → Owner of Dandies Barber & Beard Stylist
Helping customers understand the ins and outs of your business, appointments, and orders can make things easier for you and your staff and make customer outreach more efficient. The integrated ecosystem of Square tools and partners has software that can integrate seamlessly with your business. For tracking orders, partners such as Shippo integrate with your Square Online site and can handle end-to-end shipping, so you don’t have to.
Salons and beauty businesses are in an ever-evolving era. Branching out, diversifying revenue streams, and connecting with customers in new ways are helping businesses extend their footprint and turn clients into lifelong fans. In 2024, the digital tools that enable salon owners to maintain this growth could be at the forefront of how beauty professionals build and grow businesses that turn clients into lifelong fans.