According to CEO of Aromatherapy Associates (AA), Anna Teal, online retail has been crucial for business following the enforced closure of spas. Speaking to Spa Business, she shares some of the group’s innovations which are helping it to connect to customers in a new way.
As a company, AA has historically drawn around 70 per cent of income from the 495 spas it supplies globally, but since the lockdown 80 per cent of its revenue has been generated by online retail and 20 per cent from facilities.
The company’s web traffic is up 500 per cent as consumer interest in at-home wellness surged. One particular success story has been its complimentary, digital, education sessions – MirrorMe calls conducted via Zoom – which attract 120-150 attendees a week. The majority of attendees pre-purchase an AA product pack, costing around £75 (US$99, €84), and a therapist then explains how to use the products and the theory behind aromatherapy.
“This exemplifies how you can use digital to engage with people in different ways, drive revenue and educate them, even though spas may be closed,” says Teal.
That’s not to say the company is switching tack, by June next year Teal is aiming to have spas propping up 40-50 per cent of revenue. But she does believe businesses need to adapt in a post-COVID-19 world where consumers may be nervous about returning to spas – and to use this as an opportunity.
“The role of DIY wellness is going to stick around and this is something for spas to reflect on,” she says. “There needs to be a conversation about reevaluating the role of the therapist. They’ll still deliver hands-on treatments, but there’s nothing stopping spas from engaging with customers by hosting virtual educational calls.
“If you keep a conversation going with customers even when you’re not physically with them, it gives you more opportunity to sell to them.”
In another move to adapt, AA has just revealed four no-touch treatment programmes for its hotel partners and spa accounts to offer wellbeing experiences outside the spa (see p24).