Apps are steadily increasing their role in our lives – a concept m-initiative study on the potential for new beauty and wellness platforms shows great opportunities in the wellness and beauty sector as well. The combined qualitative and quantitative study analyses the drivers and barriers for hairdressers, beauticians, masseurs and other beauty providers face in offering their services on online portals. The study also analyses how consumers can be motivated to use apps in choosing wellness and beauty services.

More and more people are using smartphone apps to organise their daily lives. They order a taxi with a “taxi app”, they have food delivered to their home by services like Lieferando or deliveroo and, when they go on holiday they find a petsitter for the family dog through “Holidog”.

This trend started out with websites like gutefrage.de where you could call on the knowledge of experts (or people claiming to be) in the community. This was followed by portals where users could book carpenters, painters, plumbers and other tradespeople cheaply for work that needed doing. But what might come next? Which other services could be “apped”?

A common feature of all portals is the modern instant online solution mentality – for every problem there is an app offering instant satisfaction of the need.

concept m has observed these service trends in many markets and is now exploring the potential of platforms for beauty and wellness services in a current initiative study. This sector includes e.g. hairdressers, beauticians, masseurs and manicurists and pedicurists.

First attempts have already been made. Treatwell, a Berlin start-up, lists hairdresser and beauty salons, shows prices and supports online appointments. “dierollendenfriseure.de” offers a mobile hairdressing service that does home visits. “friseur.com” links website visitors to hairdressing salons near them. “massagio” promises users a “mobile massage” within two hours.

The study analyses the potential for beauty and wellness platforms from the perspective of both customers and providers:

As with other service portals, customers value the flexibility that allows spontaneous fulfillment and the ability to compare. The list of available services also meets the need for clarity and control. Barriers for customers are usually their loyalty to their regular salons and the fact that decisions in this area are often strongly influenced by recommendations by friends and relatives.

A representative survey on whether consumers could imagine booking beauty and wellness services through a website produced positive answers in 50-60% of cases, led by hairdressers and masseurs with just under 60% each.

Providers were enthusiastic about app offers because these simplify booking appointments (no long phone calls with laborious leafing through appointment books) – and also optimise salon capacity utilisation. Of course, the app basically also satisfies the need to be at the forefront of progress. However, one central barrier for potential providers is their fear of negative effects (e.g. from bad ratings).

The study yields the following recommendations for the “ideal platform”. It must be structured so users can immediately find their way around (particularly important as users age). Direct communication should also be possible, where a good example is the Airbnb platform. Integration of Google Maps is vital, so that someone can immediately see how to reach a possible provider from their current location.

Additional benefits for the consumer are possibilities for rating a service (star system), notification of new providers locally, newsletters with discounts and promotions and a direct link with their own smartphone diary.

The study shows that customers are very open to such concepts – which means that providers (who tend towards caution) should see it as an option to create new prospects for their business.

For further information on the concept m initiative study “Wellness and Beauty”, contact rochus.winkler@conceptm.eu

This article appeared on Marktforschung.de in January 2017.

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