In recent months, the importance of the barber shop has been brought home to a huge number of people (yes, we're looking at you and your home-do). Traditionally, the barber shop was there for a haircut, shave, a chat and, perhaps something for the weekend but, in 2021, change is afoot for the humble salon in a fair few ways:
The modern man is much more concerned with his appearance than his predecessors and, as such, is starting to demand more from his local barber than just a short back and sides. In the past few years, barbers have been responding to increased demands from customers for other treatments including facials and skincare products and, many have risen to the challenge by not only offering these treatments, but also selling high quality products through their websites and the Booksy app. Taking this a step further, some barber shop owners are also looking into producing their own, personal brands of hair and skin products to add a new dimension to their business. Barbers will also be up-skilling themselves and their staff in order to offer specialised treatments such as eyebrow threading and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
Slick and sleek
For the older generations, the words 'barber shop' conjure up images of small, dingy spaces and the iconic red and white striped pole outside. A far cry from these traditional shops, the barber shop of the future will be slick, sleek and, of course, in a post-Covid world, safe. Tomorrow's customers will demand large, airy spaces with cutting edge equipment and designer coffee. While this may seem a little clinical, these new spaces will be more efficient and easier to clean - which means less work for employees. The new barber shop will be very much on a par with big chain hairdressing salons like Toni & Guy and will focus on creating an experience rather than just cutting hair.
Collabs and concessions
For a lot of businesses, the pandemic has hit home in terms of expense and financial losses. Although lots of barber shop owners have eagerly re-opened their doors and headed back to business as usual, others have begun to examine their outgoings, including their one biggest expense - their premises. Customers expect their barber shop to be in a convenient location and, while that's not going to change, the type of location will. More and more barber shops are choosing to give up their high street stores in order to set up concessions within larger businesses, such as supermarkets. With property prices continually rising, we can expect to see less standalone barber shops and more concessions like that of Gould Barbers who now have 18 concessions in Tesco outlets. Darren Gould says, "our Tesco barbershops are much busier than a high-street shop, because of the condensed footfall from the supermarket". This will no doubt be the perfect solution for barbers in the future, allowing them to cut down their rent and increase traffic.
Embracing the tech
Our future barber shops will undoubtedly be more forward thinking when it comes to harnessing the power of technology to save time and money - something that any business always keeps in mind. We're likely to see a lot more online payment options and subscription-based services which will allow business owners to more effectively upsell to their customers as well as increasing convenience. Barbers will also be getting onboard with new devices for clearing hair from floors and, more environmentally friendly practices such as water saving initiatives and smart dryers. In the same vein, barbers will take advantage of scheduling systems like Booksy which allow customers to book their own appointments online or through an app, thus saving the business time and money (and rescuing customers from the frustration of having to make a call during business hours).
Much more than just somewhere to get a trim, the barber shop is often an integral part of a community and, that's the one thing that is unlikely to change. Despite digital innovations and different kinds of locations, the barber shop will remain a place where customers can escape from the world for a while in order to be pampered while enjoying a chat with their local barber.