The business world has been fully consumed by technology. Consumers now communicate with service providers through social media and instant messaging apps. Salon businesses now have more marketing success on Facebook and Instagram than on radio and TV. Clients want to try out beauty products from the comfort of their home, car, office, or even their hangout joints. If they like a product, they want to order it online and pay for it instantly. They want to contact service providers on Snapchat or Facebook and get instant responses. And with the COVID-19 still hanging over our heads, clients now prefer video consultations over in-person consultations. The changes that technology has precipitated are endless.
All said and done, beauty businesses have to combine high touch and high tech in order to attract and retain modern clients. That is why we want to help you keep pace with advances in-salon technology. In this article, we analyze 5 technology trends that are reshaping the beauty industry.
AI and VR
Virtual Reality (VR) has significantly improved image recognition technology. Clients can use VR apps on their smartphones, for example, to try-on makeup and hair colors virtually. As a consequence, beauty businesses that adopt this technology have a better chance of success in eCommerce. Clients will not only browse through your online catalog; they now can try different products and pay for the ones they like without having to visit your salon or spa. Furthermore, you can use VR to predict the suitability of a hairstyle or makeup on a given client and give perfect product recommendations. That boosts online sales.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), on the other hand, has enabled beauty companies to personalize beauty products. Take Lancôme, for example. The luxury Cosmetics, Perfume & Skincare Company, a subsidiary of L’Oreal, recently invented a machine that customizes skin care products, perfume fragrances, and makeup for clients. Le Teint Particulier, as the machine is called, analyzes users’ skin tones around the neck, forehead, and cheeks using a colorimeter. It then recommends a skincare regimen or makeup that perfectly suits a user’s exact shade. It even goes further to measure and mix the relevant pigments to create the perfect skincare solutions for users.
3D cosmetics is a product of 3D printing. Among other things, this technology is changing the beauty industry through:
- Printed makeup: A good example of 3D makeup printers is Opté by P&G. The printer comes with an inbuilt camera that enables users to take up to 200 frames within one second. The frames are then analyzed by an inbuilt microprocessor to determine the perfect toned makeup for the user. The makeup includes eye shadow, lipstick, blush, lip gloss, and brow powder.
This technology identifies, among other features, a user’s burst blood vessels, wrinkles, and age spots. It then uses that knowledge to apply on the user’s face the toned makeup. Beauty experts predict that once this technology is fully rolled out, it will enhance the accuracy, speed, and uniformity of makeup applications.
- Makeup pallets: This also uses the concept of printed makeup, except that it doesn’t apply makeup on a user’s face. What this technology does is allow consumers to upload pictures on an app (say, a picture of a beauty model), and then the app prints the makeup from the picture on a thin sheet of paper. The user can then wear the palette of printed makeup within seconds. One such app is the Mink app that was developed and launched in 2019 by Grace Choi and Janet Kim.
- 3D mascara brush: An example is The Volume Révolution mascara brush made in 2018 by Chanel, a fashion brand based in France, in partnership with Erpro Group. The brush enhances the smooth, fast, and even application of mascara.
- Face masks: These are designed for enhancing skin health. A good example is the MaskeD by Neutrogena. The masks are customized to a user’s skin problems, e.g. acne or dryness, and have all the treatment regimens needed for the user’s specified skin problems. The technology scans the user’s face to learn their skin moisture levels and the size of pores before printing a customized mask.
Beauty and photography
All of us are professional photographers, thanks to the cameras and photo editing features on our smartphones. However, the beauty industry must not be tempted to ditch professional photography for smartphones. No phone can offer the full range of features- notably sensor size and image stabilization- that a digital camera offers. The lighting and editing features in a smartphone are also quite limiting. Although you don’t have to invest in top-of-the-line cameras, you need at least a DSLR camera for top-of-the-line marketing photos. Other photography technologies that beauty business owners need include:
- Lamps and extra lights (preferably a mini or full ring light) for clearer, brighter photos. You need to capture the nitty-gritty of beauty such as nails, brows, and lashes, etc.
- Photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop for enhancing the color of your marketing photos.
The owners now use management software to effectively and productively manage their resources. Salon management software automates salon inventory, customer data management, staff’s payrolls, and sales reporting. These software programs also come with integrated hair salon online booking systems. The systems allow clients to manage their appointments (booking and cancellation) from their mobile phones, tablets, and desktops.
Top-rated booking software also enables salon owners to:
- Manage inventory and employees in multiple locations from one main account.
- Track and record clients’ personal data and appointment history. They also have an integrated email feature that allows users to automate email marketing.
- Manage their point of sale (POS) more accurately and conveniently. They have barcode scanning and receipt printing tools as well.
- Automate supplier ordering
- Access comprehensive analytics and reporting tools. This technology provides real-time insights on salon finances, employee performance, and projected demand growth/decline
Online beauty consultations
Clients want to consult beauty experts at their own convenience. They don’t fancy driving back and forth to a beauty salon just to consult on the best regimens for their skin or at-home care tips for their hair. Besides, with memories of the pandemic still intact, many people are avoiding visiting salons unless it’s absolutely necessary. These factors have given rise to video beauty consultations. For these consultations, users need a computer/smartphone/tablet. They need good lighting, built-in video camera or webcam, a headset with a microphone, and Skype or any other video conferencing app. This technology provides beauty experts to open new and exciting revenue streams.
Technology provides beauty brands with room for increased creativity, innovation, and personalization. It is possible that your competitors have already made the leap to tech-based beauty business management. It is important that you follow suit ASAP.