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The Beauty Industry is going Mobile, and so should you!

On Oct 9, 2015, GlamSquad raised $15M to expand its operations to more cities. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, GlamSquad is an on demand beauty startup that employs more than 300 beauty professionals in the areas of LA, Miami and New York. More than 60,000 appointments have been booked so far with one-third of users qualifying as active clients, meaning they’ve booked an appointment within the last three months. Customers get their hair done, their manicures and makeup – all from the comfort of their homes using Glam Squad’s mobile app and website.

With more consumers using their mobile devices to browse and buy on the go in our non-stop, got-to-shop world, the beauty industry is trying to get to grips with the trend. Latest research from the New York-based L2 think-tank shows that nearly 75 per cent of beauty sites are now mobile optimised, up from 50 per cent in 2012. A Google-Millward Brown digital beauty study mirrors the trend showing that 34 per cent of consumers are using smartphones to research their beauty needs while 43 per cent use their tablets throughout the day mostly to compare prices and discover new brands. For example, Feel Unique, Europe’s leading online beauty retailer, has seen its traffic from mobile devices rise from 32 per cent in March 2013 to more than 50 per cent in 2014.

Mobile Beauty refers to bringing salon services to your home or office. The stakeholders in this space are salon chains, individual salons, freelance stylists, entrepreneurs creating the platform and the end users. From the end user perspective, it will be great having stylists arrive at the doorstep whenever you desire! This is what celebrities do, right? Whether it is stay at home mothers or a busy professional looking to fit in an appointment during the lunch hour or anyone looking to spend a lazy day not having to step out of the door, the convenience aspect makes a lot of sense. But what is making the concept viable now is that this service comes at an affordable cost too. The biggest way in which this is helping is that resources that were idle earlier are being utilized. They are making an existing way of interaction between the end users and the service providers much more efficient. Companies are building customized mobile solutions for the entire customer experience. These customized solutions are usually in the form of websites or mobile apps.

Looking at these trends, existing salon chains have also started mulling whether to adopt the on-demand model as this is how the industry is evolving. At the least, salon chains and even single location businesses are now catching the mobile app brandwagon – the latest trend to catch their customer’s fancy – where he/she can look for available time slots at their regular salon, compare the prices and packages and even book an appointment with their favorite stylist for a better experience.

There are many other startups that are trying to differentiate themselves either on the basis of geography being catered to or services being provided or customer service or specific nuances in the business model. Who and what will ultimately succeed in this space only time will tell. But clearly, there is a lot of scope for many other players to come and take a pie of this huge market.

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