Dipstick corona: hair and beauty industry cut and shaved

What is Treatwell and how does the platform work?
Treatwell is Europe’s largest online booking platform for hair and beauty, founded in 2008. More than 500 people work daily on the mission to optimize hair and beauty books – for both customers and salons. In 13 markets, Treatwell processes millions of bookings per month for the community of over 20,000 affiliated salons and the platform offers consumers an accessible way to book the best salon experience.

What is the status of you in connection with the corona crisis, is business picking up again? How bad was the “damage” from corona?
COVID-19 still has a major impact on the hair and beauty industry. All salons in our 13 markets were closed for quite some time (months). We waived our subscription fees during this period, which meant Treatwell also had no income. The bookings came back in at the end of the lockdown (an exponential increase of 4500%) and are now back at pre-covid level. Unfortunately, bankruptcy is a reality for some of our salon partners. The impact of the lockdown was too great. A painful reality. Fortunately, we also see that salons with which we have been working intensively for years have performed better since the lockdown. Since hair and beauty bookings are only scheduled by appointment, salons choose to take digital tools in hand, in order to avoid spending a lot of time (manually) scheduling appointments over the phone.

To answer the question “how should it be?”, We started an IGTV channel, on which our salon partners (the experts) shared with the consumer what they can (and should not) do at home

What have you done in marketing to remain top of mind?
A priority for Treatwell is to support our partner salons, also during the lockdown. To this end, we have set up the group “Closed doors with the hair and beauty industry” to keep in touch with our industry. Our focus is on (strengthening) our community and reconstruction, with the aim of coming back stronger from the COVID-19 crisis. Where possible, we inspire our customers to support their local salons.
We have seen it many times online, the many DIY do-it-yourself fails. To answer the question “how should it be?”, We started an IGTV channel, on which our salon partners (the experts) shared with the consumer what they can (and better not) do at home. From trimming the pony, or the professional removal of gel polish. We saw a spike in traffic to The Treatment Files (presumably because the public had more time to read about various beauty treatments). We continued to adapt our strategy to the needs of our consumers and were as interactive as possible through our channels.
Another force during the lockdown was our data. In the coming weeks we will launch a report that maps the developments of the hair and beauty industry at the time of COVID-19. How has consumer behavior changed, what effect does this have on industry and what trends are emerging (from the lockdown)? Our access to data has been incredibly valuable in helping salons open their doors with a confident and prepared feeling.

Do you see notable customer shifts and why?
We see the following shifts in the booking behavior: Bookings were previously planned in the evening, but now there is time to plan them during the day. The booking time has also changed, evening hours give way to moments during the day, at salons closer to home instead of close to the office. DIY (do it yourself) has increased in all our markets, we have “learned” a lot in the lockdown. In the Netherlands we see that the percentage returning to the salon for treatments is HIGHER than for the lockdown. What was not possible then has now gained more value. The Netherlands has made a particularly good recovery from the lockdown, and we see a marked decline among our consumers compared to other markets least fear.

Another force during the lockdown was our data. In the coming weeks we will launch a report that maps the developments of the hair and beauty industry at the time of COVID-19

What are the men’s trends in hairdressing salons and why?
What we heard just after the barbers lockdown is that men were hesitant at first about measuring a short (er) haircut, due to a second lockdown, to prevent them from sliding into the many Zoom cals (again) with an uncomfortable intermediate length. The trends now seem ‘back to’ [the new] be normal. A natural fade, where the top is generally a bit longer, remains the most popular. Men also generally opt for a “natural looking” beard, keeping away from clean lines. What we see in particular is that Treatwell – previously labeled as a “women’s app” – has been adopted by the majority of men. Men book 1.5x more via our app than women! They find the convenience and speed of online booking very valuable in their routines.

What do you currently see as the biggest challenge for marketers, especially with regard to the corona crisis of course?
You can hear it from all sides: Marketing budgets have been cut since the lockdown, as companies aren’t sure what the rest of the year will look like. Especially given the indications that a second COVID-19 wave is lurking. A logical choice. It is wise to be careful right now. A clear shift can be observed in which the attitude of consumers towards companies is more critical and the need for local has increased. Unfolding tight-knit communities is more valuable than ever since the lockdown. Treatwell supports (the growth of) smaller companies. Now more than ever, this remains a focus for us, giving our partners a platform to develop their business in a safe and sustainable way.

What do you think the world of advertising and marketing will look like in 5 months?
Nobody knows the answer to this. I hope that we will continue to see innovation that inspires both customers and companies to grow and to (continue to) gain new insights. The difference between how we operated at the beginning of 2020, where the budgets and possibilities seemed endless, is currently unpredictably large. We have literally been put in our place and we will stay there for a while. The critical public asks companies to adapt and to revise their communication. The increased acceptance of the lockdown has forced many brands to reconsider their presence on various channels, but as we move back towards “normal”, the more traditional channels will come back to life. However, the mix of channels will inevitably have changed.

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