A Letter to Salon Owners facing a second COVID-19 Lockdown
I hope you, your family and your business are doing okay through this very strange time. I wanted to reach out to let you know that Phorest remains open to you, not only as a software provider but in support throughout lockdown and beyond. I also want to share some thoughts and ideas for you and your salon to generate some extra revenue during this new, six-week lockdown.
There’s no doubt that another six-week closure in Ireland has been a blow to us all, but there are some things you can do to keep both yourself and your business healthy during this time. The text below may seem long, but it will cover ways to stay healthy, new income streams for salons and financial support available to you at this time, so please read on to the end.
The first thing I’d like to acknowledge is that this is a very difficult time for many business owners like yourself. Before this lockdown, our data showed that compared to the same period a year ago, salons across the world were already, on average, running 15-25% down in terms of client visits. City centre salons are the most affected as people continue to work from home. If you saw trends like this in your business during the last months — you are not alone. And it is not because you have made any mistakes — it is just a fact of life right now.
We don’t know how long COVID-19 will continue to affect the economy and people’s daily habits. What we do know is that it will end at some point. If you are able to adjust your business to see it through, you will be in a much stronger place when things go back to normal because unfortunately, not everyone will be able to do so.
On that note, I have some thoughts on things you can do while you are closed to move your pre-Christmas rush online this November and deepen your relationships with your clients.
Generating extra revenue
Firstly, start preparing Gift Packs to sell online
More than ever before, many, many people will buy presents for their loved ones online this year. Furthermore, the effort and will to support local businesses is at an all-time high. You need to be able to take advantage of that trend. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to identify a small selection of Christmas gifting options for your salon and set them up as an e-commerce item on Phorest. These gift packages could be a selection of products you choose, a mix of a gift voucher and a product or something your suppliers provide, already boxed.
If you haven’t set up your online store with Phorest yet, this is a really quick and easy way to try it out. You will only set up one or two gift packages which won’t take more than 5 minutes to complete. Each gift package that you set up as an online item in Phorest will have its own link that you can share in an email/SMS blast (we have pre-made the templates for you) or on Instagram.
NB. The Online Store is a premium Phorest feature that has been made available on all package levels until the end of 2020.
Secondly, activate your Online Gift Vouchers
Phorest salons have sold just under £3m worth of online gift vouchers since March, including throughout the first global lockdown. If you haven’t done it yet, now is the time to get it ready for Christmas. Something essential you should understand about gift vouchers is that:
- 20% of them are never redeemed,
and according to the data in Phorest,
- 35% of gift vouchers are not redeemed in the first year.
They are an amazing way to get cash into your business. Consumers are desperate to support their local businesses, and buying a gift voucher or a gift package is such an obvious way to do so. Find out how to set them up here, and hear from Phorest client Nathan Jermy of The Cutting Room on the success he’s had with our Online Gift Vouchers feature.
Aim for Black Friday/Cyber Monday
While we are focusing primarily on Christmas, don’t forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday still offer great opportunities to make online sales. If you can activate your online activity in time, the key to success for these dates will be to promote, promote and — as much as you can.
We will have specific templates in the new Email Editor for these key shopping dates as well as lots of other more generic templates to help you keep promoting your business while closed.
You are entitled to financial help from your Local Enterprise Board
For those of you that don’t know, small businesses in Ireland (1-10 staff) are entitled to apply for a Trading Online Voucher worth up to €2,500 for any software that helps you move your business activity online. We’ve helped multiple salons through the process of securing this voucher, and we’re delighted to see that the deadline for applications has been extended until later this year. You can get more information on the scheme here, and if you check in with your own Local Enterprise Board, they are running free webinars for business owners to help them get the funding. This voucher will effectively cover the cost of your software for up to 2 years.
Looking After Yourself
Looking after yourself as an individual is extremely important. You will make better decisions and return stronger if you can take time to do this. Sometimes it’s a matter of just a few moments per day. We have free guided meditations available on our Instagram account, created specifically for salon owners during the pandemic. They will help you feel grounded and project a positive future for you and your business. We are also fortunate to have a vibrant community of Phorest salon owners online in our Facebook Group, and I really encourage you all to join the conversation there — this way we can all look out for each other, offer and receive support and share valuable information about how to keep moving forward.
How we, at Phorest, can help
Contact your personal Salon Business Advisor
As you hopefully know by now, our team is on standby to help with anything you need to keep business flowing. We have allocated a Salon Business Advisor to every Phorest salon in the country, and yours will be more than happy to help you get your online revenue tools up and running, as well as recommend marketing campaigns to drive business your way. If you are unsure of who your Salon Business Advisor is, just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and yours will get back to you to see how they can help.
Join me for a Facebook Live
Finally, I want to say an enormous thanks to you and everyone on your team. As service providers, you have played a vital role in keeping your communities buoyant throughout this pandemic and the resilience and sheer determination to care for your clients is humbling. I would like to invite you in joining me on a Facebook Live on Monday, November 2nd at 11 am . I will be talking through the points above and more from Phorest. Click below to register your interest and please put the time and date in your calendar; I would love to see you there and thank you in person.
At your service,
Ronan Perceval, CEO + Founder