Using Technology to Build a More Profitable Beauty Businesses

The beauty industry is changing fast. What has historically been a relatively stable and nearly recession-proof industry in the West is now on full-tilt as beauty professionals and legacy brands the world around work to adapt to the new rules of engagement. What changed? Technology.

A Massive $3.7 Trillion Global Market That’s Growing

In 2015, the market size of the global wellness and beauty industry topped USD 3.7 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute. By far, the largest sector within this massive market is Beauty and Aging, which accounted for $999 billion annually, followed by the $648 billion generated in the health and fitness, nutrition and weight loss sector. 

Overall, the wellness and beauty market continues to grow. Several important factors directly impact growth in this space:

  • The “youthification” of an aging global population that is more concerned with maintaining a youthful appearance and personal grooming than previous generations
  • An increase in the number of products and services targeting men
  • The emergence of stronger economies (i.e. more disposable income among consumers) in countries like India, China, and Malaysia 
  • Lower barriers to entry that make it easier for new beauty and wellness brands to enter the market
  • Store-in-store and standalone establishments that cater to Millennials and Gen X buyers who are willing to pay mid-range and even premium prices for custom, specialty products from smaller, newer, more niched-down brands (like Kat Von D’s cruelty-free line of cosmetic

For Beauty Professionals Talent + Skill + Tech Is the Formula for Success

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment in the beauty industry will grow by more than 10 percent between 2014 and 2024. Product sales in this same category are expected to balloon from the $532.4 billion it was in 2017 to $806.1 billion by 2023.

For beauty and wellness professionals, launching a business is often the easiest part of working in the industry. Running the business, on the other hand, often poses an insurmountable challenge.

That’s because beyond leveraging natural talent and honing the skills and precision needed to work as a successful service provider, overseeing the daily operations, keeping the books, deploying consistent, effective marketing, and managing the business are skills many would-be and new proprietors have to learn on the fly. published an article called Why Hair Salons and Day Spas Fail, which listed six common reasons beauty businesses don’t make it, any of which have anything to do with the technical abilities of a stylist or beauty professional. Each of the six reasons deals directly with how a business is managed:

  • Inadequate cash reserves
  • Failure to clearly define and understand your market
  • Failure to price products or services correctly 
  • Failure to anticipate cash flow adequately 
  • Failure to anticipate or react to competition, technology or other changes in the marketplace
  • Not hiring needed help and securing professional services
  • With the barrier to entry virtually nonexistent in many industries, a new crop of entrepreneurs in the hustle hard culture are learning that talent and desire aren’t enough to run a successful business. They also need the knowledge and tools that will enable them to more intuitively manage their businesses. They need to be able to execute the right strategies at the right times if they want to set and reach business goals. And that’s where technology changes things.

    The Benefits of Incorporating Technology into a Beauty Business

    #1. Increased Visibility

    Branded websites, blogs, social media and member communities help prospects find service providers by location, technique, social media handle, by image, and other personal and professional data. The ability to filter hundreds of millions of potential search results through customized search lenses can beauty and wellness professionals are found by customers they otherwise would have an opportunity to meet.

    #2. Relationship Building 

    There was a time when clients weren’t able to begin the process of building a relationship with a stylist until he or she was actually in the chair. Today, that’s no longer the case. Visual content platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest make it possible for prospective clients to preview the handiwork of a service provider. 

    Scrolling the social media feeds of a makeup artist or fitness trainer can help potential clients identify common sentiments and commonalities long before the two ever meet. Active social media us is a great way to establish rapport with a client.

    #3. Strengthen Credibility

    High social media engagement (the ratio of Likes, comments, shares, and reposts to a user’s follower count) is a key signal of credibility across social media, even more than follower count. For beauty and wellness professionals it means they have the opportunity to gauge the preferences of their followers by publishing content to their own social media feeds and seeing how people respond. The higher the engagement ratio, the more receptive an audience is to the idea the service provider is presenting. 

    #4. One-Click Accounting

    Years ago, companies purchased licenses of software like QuickBooks and the onboarding process could take weeks to complete. Intuit’s manual was hundreds of pages long, and there was no way to connect to your bank’s website and download a year of transactions in 5 minutes. Each entry had to be added manually.

    Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Transporting transactions is often done in a single click if it’s necessary to do at all. Most accounting solutions today automatically assign tax categories to transactions.

    That said, there are freemium and paid cloud-based accounting solutions for beauty and wellness professionals today that make accounting intuitive, a task for which you require no specialized knowledge. Many of the processes that required a bulky checkbook and a handwritten ledger just 10 years ago are automated now.

    #5. Collecting Client Data

    One of the most underrated and under-utilized assets for beauty professionals is a CRM that allows providers to get, manage, and analyze client data. Effective marketing is based on having a clear and accurate understanding of your target audience. Many CRMs allow you to send emails and track open rates, actions taken (like clicking links), and automate campaigns that will send emails based on a client’s behavior. Technologies that provide beauty and wellness professionals with this level of insight are non-negotiable in the industry today. 

    #6. Transacting Sales and Receiving Instant Payments

    The days of the bulky cash register and the three to five-day credit card processing time are over for many beauty and wellness service providers. In many cases, a tablet and simple payment app that integrates with accounting software, and a secure Internet connection are all that’s needed to facilitate in-store and online payments. 

    All of these changes culminate to push the beauty and wellness industry toward full automation. Perhaps most important, affordable access to these types of resources can give individual service providers and small businesses the tools they need to architect consistent growth. 

    {This is a Guest Column written by Andre L Wouansi, CEO & Co-founder, Personal Beauty Wellness}