The COVID-19 pandemic came as an unexpected and serious problem for most nations. The infection spread like a rapid-fire that caused governments to establish strict standards and regulations to curb the spread of the virus in its early stages. Some of the rules included social distancing, which at some point required zero human contact, especially with the ones who contracted coronavirus. Some people were asymptomatic: thus, it was oblivious who was infected and who was not infected. Therefore, social distancing was a mandate which led to the closure of many businesses worldwide, including barbershops. People adapted to the new norm of staying indoors, working from home, and attending online classes. Courier businesses handled food and grocery deliveries, making the streets almost deserted. There was no need for people to go to the barbershops, thus the impending doom on barbershop owners and losing their livelihoods.
This proposal aims to formulate ideas that would help battle the opposing sides of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses such as the barbershop business. It also shows how to ramp up operations and customer loyalty and increase revenue during the coronavirus crisis. Although the regulations such as social distancing and mandatory isolation have lessened, businesses are still taking a hit in generating sales. Nonetheless, customers barely enjoy the same services they experienced before the pandemic, such as massages. This paper conducts community-based research on barbershop clients, owners, and managers and incorporates data collection methods such as questionnaires on clients about their experiences of visiting barbershops. As a proposal, the paper offers insight into loyalty programs to woo repeat and new clients, effective mutual collaboration with other businesses and agencies, advertising, and sanitization to help control the spread of the coronavirus, which are all budget-friendly.
During the pandemic, the main problem that barbershops faced was the decreased revenue and influx of clients. On 2nd April 2020, there was a statewide mandatory closure of salons and barbershop businesses in Florida. Some companies paid rent even with the compulsory closure, which was a stretch in their pockets as most companies did not generate any revenue. Alex Treyf, a barbershop business owner and manager, talked to the Times Magazine, noting that he had to dip into his savings to retain his great rental spaces in Atlanta, hoping that things would go back to normal. Logically, the one who rents the spaces also depends on the rent received from the businesses to sustain themselves; thus, there was no wrong in paying rent even when there was a mandatory closure of businesses. However, his hopes diminished with time as the mandatory closure of businesses went on for months, and he had to give up some of his rental spaces with time. There is also decreased clientele as with the pandemic, and there was reduced physical interaction, thus less need for grooming. Nonetheless, people adapted to grooming themselves, with amazon sales profits rising to 220%, with items like shaving machines and haircare products topping the list. Therefore, there was no need for clients to look for barbershops, thus decreasing clients and lack of revenue for barbershop owners.
The other problem is that people overlook why clients barely go to the barbershops, which affects business for barbershop owners and managers. By October 2020, salons and barbershops were fully operating in most United States of America states. As there is a need for physical touch, the virus could quickly spread, yet the effects of the disease are very detrimental. Additionally, most barbershops have limited spaces that could accommodate proper social distancing as per the World Health Organization; thus, limited service is provided to create the space for primarily shaving, decreasing customer satisfaction. Additionally, the mask mandate in barbershops bars people from getting services like beard maintenance. The limited number of people in a particular space leads to delayed appointments. These are the problems that the pandemic caused the client’s morale to go to the barbershops, which became an issue for barbershop owners.
For this proposal, I conducted a client questionnaire on how they felt about going to the barbershops during the pandemic. These questions were meant to understand the client’s needs so that the business may tend to improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue. The questionnaire is illustrated below:
- On a scale of 1-5, rate the following, with “5” being excellent and “1” being poor:
- What is the ease of booking appointments?
- How is the sanitization of the barbershop?
- What is the staff members’ awareness of the protocols for regulating the spread of coronavirus?
- What are the safety precautions for ensuring a safe environment in the barbershop?
- How are services provided in the barbershop and modified to align with the COVID-19 protocols?
- What is the effect of the mask mandate on the quality of services being provided?
- Are the new costs of services in line with the new expenses in the barbershops, such as sanitization products and limited customers?
- What is the overall experience in the barbershop during the pandemic?
From the questionnaire, most clients had skeptics about their experience in the barbershops, and due to the need to be groomed, they had to go to the barbershops. Most of them expressed difficulty booking an appointment and the high costs of services. Most clients were impressed by the barbers’ precautions and how the environment was safe. The barbershops were well-sanitized, with observance of the COVID-19 rules being a mandate. Most services offered followed the safety protocols, such as wearing masks, which the clients prefer having while being served. The results are averaged and portrayed as shown below. From the questionnaire results, the clients went to the barbershop because of the “need” to be groomed and not because they “wanted” to go there. Therefore, incentives are needed to make the clients “want” to go to the barbershop.
There are various ways the business can use the questionnaire’s information to help increase revenue and influx of customers without straining their budget.
- As the finances may be constrained, a loyalty program does not have to be costly. For instance, it can be an incentive to get a free haircut if they bring a new client. The marketing is done freely by repeat clients; thus, there is no need to use the money for advertising.
- Additionally, there can be limited discounts for a certain period, increasing the flow of clients only, thus increasing the revenue.
- The business can also introduce loyalty points that the client earns with every repeat visit and can be redeemable for a particular service. This step would extrinsically motivate people to become repeat clients and introduce other people to the same barbershop.
- Nevertheless, the barbershop can collaborate with brands such as Revlon Men and Brickel, whose target markets are barbershops. According to a survey, clients prefer to use well-known brands over unknown brands despite their price and effectiveness. These brands can give the barbershops some products at discounted prices, and in turn, the barbershop can use these products as incentives to lure customers—the brand benefits from getting demand from the barbershop’s clients. The barbershop minimizes expenses to get the products to use in the workplace and gives more incentives to the clients.
- There should be proper sanitization, such as cleaning and disinfecting seats once a client gets off, to regulate COVID-19. Additionally, one can create a sterile room with everyone wearing masks throughout unless when shaving their beards.
- Nonetheless, there should be a full-time committed staff to increase the ease of making appointments and the flow of duties at the workplace.
COVID-19 came as a surprise in late 2019, and it negatively impacted businesses in early 2020. Many barbershops collapsed, and those that made it through to date have struggled to generate revenue and an influx of regular clients. Most clients are disappointed by the increase in costs that cater to sanitization costs. To keep the clients safe and still generate sales, there is a need for low-budget strategies that barbershops can use to lure repeat clients—for instance, partnering with brands to create a win-win situation for the brand and the barbershops. Additionally, having low-cost loyalty programs that would have repeat clients bring in new members. The benefits of these measures are that they would ensure client satisfaction, which is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed for these businesses to prosper.