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The Bump and the Slump

Traffic in the haircut business, post Covid lockdown.

What is going on here?

Almost universally throughout the USA post lockdown things were crazy busy (the bump) for about three weeks. Then volume dropped like a rock (the slump) and shows no sign of returning.

Look to the 2008 recession for insights. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Some similar, some different.

Bottom line, that old business and volume and those old clients will likely never be back. The plan needs to be to build from what you have and where you are. It does no good to lament what was. We must deal with what is and what can be.

Here are the realities of what has happened and what a pro-active haircutter can do about it.

1. Seniors are not coming back. Many are staying away out of fear of their higher risk status. One tactic might be senior-only hours so they feel safer.

2. Clients are gapping out longer between haircuts. You need to drive average ticket. Take more dollars each time they visit. Charge higher prices, too.

3. Clients are using this situation as an opportunity to switch haircutters. Be the haircutter people switch to as opposed to switching from.

4. Clients have traded down-market. Look upmarket and see where you can gain clients.

And the biggie is…

5. Clients are just not comfortable with what the see and how they feel about sanitation and infection control. Get busy focusing on sanitation optics.

Top tips for a focus on sanitation optics.

1. Get caught sanitizing. Make all sanitizing practices highly visible.

2. Start talking about infection control. It is the elephant in the room. Acknowledge it. Own it. Do not hide or run from it.

3. Communicate about sanitation. Send a newsletter or other form of mass communication to get in front of the discussion.

4. Make sanitation a key marketing focus. Use social media, advertising and signage to choose to lead on the topic. Those that shrink from the discussion will see their business shrink as a result.

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