How can I upsell treatments and products to clients with conversational commerce?
We’ve all seen the obvious rise in digital over the past two years, but one of the most prominent consumer trends to come out of this is digital fatigue. Combined changes in digital marketing and social media algorithms have meant it’s getting harder for salons, spas and beauty brands to get potential customers’ attention online.
There is a huge opportunity for sales conversions in spas as consumers are craving human connection and more personalised customer service. Allowing time between services for the therapist and customer to converse is important for upselling.
Sales training for your team is also crucial. Identify if anyone in the team has strong sales skills, and, if they do, think about how they can train the rest of the team on how to do the same, or seek external support in training.
I’ve recently encountered an interesting strategy that promises to help spas, salons and stores upsell and build that personal connection – “conversational commerce”.
It is essentially a way of helping you engage in a conversation with your customers, resulting in a higher return on sales and longer lifetime value.
There are several ways to use conversational commerce in your business. Sending a text to a customer following a treatment to recommend other things they might enjoy, and that are tailored to suit them, can be a great way to encourage clients to book follow-up appointments. You could even suggest a stronger treatment for next time and offer a discount. Text communication is growing fast because we all look at our text messages regularly.
If a client makes a booking and gives their number for future communications, this method of personalisation and recommendation paves the way to increasing loyalty and spend, as well as helping your message cut through the noise of all the other communication your customer is receiving. Catching the customer’s eye in a different way is key here, as emails and pamphlets often go unopened. A test has a better chance of landing you return clients as the message is more likely to be read.
Live shopping is also developing more traction, creating a deeper connection with clients because you can offer tailored advice and create a conversation to better understand their needs. Video calls with clients who are reluctant to leave their home, or as an additional touchpoint in-between appointments, may be the answer for better digital conversions; either one-to-one, or in groups as an event with guest experts.
By increasing the duration of client engagement online, this time can be used to show and discuss their skincare concerns or talk through results, without the customer leaving their home. I would recommend investing in software that allows you to create a timetable for clients to book a virtual appointment with a qualified specialist to discuss their beauty needs, and have the products recommended shipped to their home following any purchase.
Wizz Selvey is founder of consultancy Wizz & Co. Her previous roles within the beauty industy include head of buying at Selfridges, and director at Cowshed Beauty.
What is corneotherapy and how does it protect the skin’s barrier?
Corneotherapy is a philosophy to proactively care for the skin. In essence, it looks to preserve the integrity of the skin barrier and stratum corneum as a priority. It was first coined by Dr Albert Kligman, a dermatologist and co-founder of Retin-A, back in the ’60s and has been picking up pace with those who have a keen interest in a progressive – not aggressive – approach to skin.
The skin barrier is a natural shield; it’s an eco-system that, when functioning effectively, is impermeable, preventing the penetration of micro-organisms and transepidermal water loss. If we visualise it like a brick wall, the bricks are our cells – known as corneocytes – and the mortar is our lipid matrix, which is made up of ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterols. If the wall isn’t maintained then the mortar will begin to crumble and, inevitably, it will weaken.
The skin barrier, therefore, needs to be intact for the epidermis to be healthy and this is achieved when there is an equilibrium of lipids and water. However, the barrier doesn’t work in isolation, it works synergistically with the skin’s microbiome and acid mantle. It’s these elements that together optimise barrier strength and integrity.
By contrast, if the barrier becomes “broken” then this harmony is impacted, and the health of the skin starts to deteriorate. It may become sensitised, inflamed, dehydrated, and prone to infection, and skin disorders may manifest. So, it is imperative to not just treat the symptoms but to consider and address the underlying causes too.
Our barrier will naturally weaken with intrinsic ageing, but other factors can exacerbate its demise, including environmental factors such as UV and pollution, and internal factors like stress, poor diet, and medication. Sadly, however, all too often it’s caused by ill-advised topical skincare products that contain detergents and perfumes.
These can negatively impact the naturally acidic pH levels of the acid mantle and create a hostile environment that prevents the skin’s flora from flourishing.
In addition, the misinformation around removing “dead” skin cells from the stratum corneum has led to the spurious rationale that skin needs to be constantly exfoliated – upsetting its natural desquamation process. In fact, corneocytes still play an important part in communicating with the immune system, so prematurely and aggressively removing them – either chemically or mechanically – can impair the skin further.
True corneotherapy goes beyond theory and avoids the use of ingredients such as petrochemicals, preservatives, fragrances, emulsifiers, and silicones, which will negatively impact the skin. Instead, ingredients that are compatible with the skin’s own biochemistry are embraced as well as those that mimic the skin’s function.
So, if we want to achieve sustainable results for our customers, we should be considering their skin barrier and stratum corneum as part of any strategy. If skin health isn’t optimised, then this should be the priority ahead of any corrective intervention. Compromising an already compromised skin is not a common-sense approach and may create more problems than it solves.
Maria Rylott-Byrd is a corneotherapist and owner of Maria Rylott-Byrd Skin Health & Transformation in Northamptonshire.
How can nutrition help to reduce inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response in order to protect itself from infection, disease, or injury. This is the body’s clever way of keeping us safe by attempting to self-heal. However, sometimes our bodies can be more prone to inflammation because of factors such as diet, exercise, and stress.
Acute inflammation symptoms include pain, redness and swelling, which will usually subside in a matter of hours or days, although long-term symptoms can range from ongoing pain, to weight issues, digestive problems, and fatigue. Chronic inflammation has been linked to serious health conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, so reducing inflammation is crucial for longevity and optimal health. [1-2]
Nutrition plays a hugely important role in managing inflammation. Certain foods are pro inflammatory, while others help minimise it.
Following a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. This diet focuses on eating a variety of healthy plant foods and lowering the intake of animal products but eating moderate amounts of fish and seafood. 
Small amounts of dairy and eggs, as well as some red meat in very small amounts, can also be included. Foods that are particularly anti-inflammatory are oily fish, berries, turmeric, broccoli, and dark chocolate.
There are also certain foods that are pro-inflammatory, which should be limited in the diet. These include ultra-processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars, deep-fried foods, processed meats, sugar sweetened soft drinks and anything including trans or hydrogenated fats.
Exercise can also be both pro and anti-inflammatory, depending on duration, intensity, and recovery time. To reduce inflammation, 20 minutes of daily physical activity at a moderate intensity is recommended .
In moderate exercise, the heart rate should be within 100-120 beats per minute, depending on fitness levels. Trying to reduce stress also helps to reduce inflammation.
Adequate sleep and practising mindfulness both help to keep stress at bay.
Encouraging your clients to consider nutrition, exercise and stress in their lifestyles is the best way to help them reduce inflammation and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Jennifer Irvine is a food author and founder of The Pure Package and Balance Box, helping busy people source and prepare nutritionally balanced food.
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