As the pandemic begins to wind down, many of us are looking forward to getting back to normal. The economy is already starting to rebound, and while some people have lost income over the past year, others have continued working, have saved money by cutting back on out-of-the-home entertainment, and are ready to spend.
But getting back to normal won’t necessarily mean getting back to the way things were in 2019. Many of the changes that swept the world over the course of the pandemic will be with us for good. That’s particularly true for trends, like contactless payment, that began before the pandemic and simply accelerated in 2020. Some of the things your business did to adapt to the pandemic will continue; in other ways, you’ll need to continue adapting to the new normal.
Here’s a look at 5 trends sweeping the service industry that look poised to continue through 2021 and beyond.
Many businesses put new sanitation policies in place during the pandemic. Some experts believe that consumers’ sense of what is “clean” has permanently changed, and predict that consumers will continue to expect not just facilities that look and smell clean, but a guarantee of sanitation from businesses.
Trendwatchers also expect consumers to continue to focus more on their health, including physical and mental health, even as the pandemic comes to an end. Businesses can benefit from emphasizing products and services that are organic, sustainable, plant-based, and promote overall health.
Many companies are expected to continue allowing employees to work from home at least part of the time post-pandemic. People who are now working from home are adjusting their work and home schedules, integrating personal tasks into the workday and work tasks into what used to be personal time. Service providers should consider offering flexible schedules to match this new normal.
Remote options, where they make sense, and easy online scheduling, are also crucial for service providers. Even salons and other businesses that require some in-person contact should consider continuing to offer flexible and remote options, like house calls or remote consultations.
Consumer surveys show that consumers are still willing to spend time and money on beauty and wellness. Most consumers say that they’re spending time on their appearance to look and feel good. And between 2019 and 2020, Google searches for “self-care” topics rose 250%.
Service businesses should be looking to tap into this consumer desire to carve out a little time to focus on self-care. A subscription business could be a monthly self-care treat. A spa treatment could be a time to hit pause on the stresses of the workday.
For many people, this has been a year of re-evaluating priorities and revamping work-life balance. Some may never return to whatever was normal for them pre-pandemic. Now is a great time for service providers to check in with long-time customers. Have their needs or priorities changed?
Accountants and financial planners could offer a check-in visit to help people get back on their feet after a tough year, or talk about re-evaluating financial goals. Salons could offer a “back-to-reality” package for vaccinated customers—or a “new normal” package for customers who want to transition to a lower-maintenance look. Staying flexible is key. Listen to your customers, and stay nimble as their needs change.
The shift to online shopping isn’t going away. And that means that social media is more important than ever for driving sales. Look to elevate expert voices within your business, and feature them on your social media and website. Many consumers have focused on shopping local and supporting local small businesses during the pandemic. Remember that your individuality and personality are assets when it comes to connecting with your customers.
The continued focus on the digital experience also means that good photography is key. Product photography, good photos to post on social media, big engaging images for your website—you can’t cut corners on imagery when your customer spends so much of their time online.
To learn how our POS solutions can help your service business offer contactless payments, schedule appointments, and engage with customers, request a free personalized demo today.
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