••• health and beauty research

All made-up

COVID-19 is changing beauty routines 

Opinium surveyed Americans to learn about the changing nature of beauty in society and look at how beauty brands can adapt to survive lockdown. The research revealed that a quarter of Americans (25%) are wearing less color cosmetics (foundation, blush, lipstick, eyeshadow) in lockdown. Of those who are using makeup less often, over a third (35%) feel relieved that they don’t have to wear it anymore, while 39% are enjoying feeling like a more natural version of themselves. Fifteen percent of Americans expect to continue wearing less makeup, suggesting a potential longer-term impact on beauty standards. However, not everyone appreciates the option to follow lower-maintenance beauty routines – a smaller number (28%) miss wearing cosmetics and a fifth (21%) say they don’t feel like themselves when not wearing them. 

More than two-in-five Americans (44%) wearing cosmetics in lockdown are doing so as a form of self-care during a difficult time. Older cosmetics users (those aged 55 and older) are more likely to be applying cosmetics during lockdown for this reason – 49% compared to 38% of younger Americans aged 18-34 years.

Beauty products are also serving as an affordable way for consumers to “treat themselves” during lockdown, with nearly a quarter (23%) revealing that they have treated themselves to higher-end or luxury beauty products while at home more. 

While cosmetic use has declined, skin and haircare products have seen an increase in usage during the lockdown period. Three-in-10 (29%) are using skincare products more and a quarter (25%) are using haircare products more. A fifth (20%) report that they’ve been following longer and more elaborate skincare routines during lockdown and over a quarter (28%) are using more face masks. Similarly, a fifth (20%) are using more hair treatments.

So, how can beauty brands and salons adapt to the new market? Heavy cosmetic users are interested in signing up to membership schemes with their favorite beauty brands. When asked how beauty brands and salons could engage with them during social distancing, the most popular response (28%) was a membership service. Such schemes could include a monthly fee that can be put towards purchasing items and gives access to exclusive content in lockdown, as well as access to exclusive items once restrictions are lifted.

A third (34%) of Americans who typically get their hair colored at a salon are planning to or have already colored their own hair during the lockdown. As a result, there is a market for DIY tutorials. Americans who would normally go to the hair salon are somewhat interested in watching how-to videos for different hair styles (17%). This percentage is higher among men (20% vs. 14% of women) and young people (27%). Similarly, men are twice as likely as women to express interest in personal consultations (17% vs. 9%) and video chat assistance to guide them through cutting their hair at home (16% vs 8%).

Fourteen percent of salon customers under lockdown would be interested in buying vouchers for future services, with this increasing to 18% of men and 18% of those aged 18-34.

The survey was conducted by Opinium Research and polled 2,000 U.S. adults from April 9-15, 2020.

••• shopper insights

How to make a ‘regular’

Employees are key in earning, keeping professional-service customers

DaySmart Software wanted to know what consumers prioritize when finding their go-to professional service providers – specifically in the hair and nail, pet service (pet groomers, spas, kennels, daycares), spa and tattoo industries. In February 2020 – prior to the escalation of COVID-19 – DaySmart polled 2,000 U.S. consumers who had visited these types of businesses in the last year. The study revealed that consumers place heavy emphasis on small business employees and personalized service when choosing where to spend their money regularly.

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, small businesses across the U.S. have been forced to close and – as much as possible – operate remotely. As those businesses reopen, they’ll need to be creative and strategic to reengage their customer bases and foster loyalty amongst prospects. In order to regain that relationship with clients, business owners and managers will need to put an emphasis on bolstering the quality of the services they are providing. Sixty-two percent of consumers believe quality of service is the most important trait when identifying their go-to businesses. This is followed by cost (40%), convenience (32%) and reputation (32%). Once the customer starts feeling comfortable at their chosen businesses, more than half (51%) say that it takes 10 visits or fewer for them to consider themselves a regular.

Employees play a vital role in garnering customer loyalty. Findings show that 67% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a particular employee rather than the overall business. Further, 48% say they would follow an employee from a business they were a regular at if they moved to a new business. As employees prove to be a small businesses’ biggest asset, owners will need to emphasize their value by providing them with the resources needed to succeed.

It is no surprise that the stakes are high when it comes to both quality of service and employee-customer interactions. Findings show that 60% of consumers would never go to a business again if that business ruined the service they went there for (e.g., haircut, manicure, tattoo). Moreover, 50% say they would never go back if an employee was rude to them and more than three-quarters (77%) of consumers are less likely to visit a business again after receiving bad customer service. Clearly, consumers think a lot about who their go-to professional service providers will be – and the choices are not taken lightly. According to the survey findings, consumers are pickier when it comes to finding a hairdresser or barber who they are comfortable with than a doctor. They are also pickier when choosing a pet kennel or daycare than a babysitter or nanny.

Convenience plays a role as well; 74% of respondents are more likely to continue visiting a business if they can utilize online resources to book appointments – a percentage that jumps to 81% for consumers between ages 18-23 and 79% for consumers between ages 24-39.

The research was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of DaySmart Software and surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers in February 2020. Respondents were adults who had visited one of the following businesses at least once within the past year: hair salon, nail salon, spa, groomers, pet spa, pet services or tattoo parlor.

••• customer experience

All in the journey

Organizations with journey-based approach have CX success

In its 2020 State of Customer Journey Management and CX Measurement report, Pointillist surveyed over 1,050 CX, analytics, customer care and marketing professionals from a variety of industries across the world to understand what makes some organizations more effective than others at managing customer journeys, measuring outcomes and improving experiences. 

According to a Pointillist article by Stephanie Ventura, respondents were categorized into three segments based upon overall satisfaction with their organization’s CX performance and outcomes of their investments. Twenty-six percent of organizations were categorized as “underperformers,” where respondents where not at all or not so satisfied with their organizations’ overall CX performance and the outcomes of their CX investments. Forty-eight percent of organizations were “average performers,” with respondents somewhat satisfied with these functions and 26% were “high performers” – very or extremely satisfied with their organizations’ overall CX performance and the outcomes of their CX investments.

So, what sets the high performers apart from the rest? High-performing organizations rely on a journey-based approach to effectively manage and measure CX and maximize business results. 

Over 95% of organizations have adopted a journey-based approach to CX and 79% of respondents say a journey-based strategy is critical to the overall success of their business. Over 50% of companies also have a role or team dedicated to journey management or journey analytics. High-performing teams are more likely to use this approach than underperforming teams, as 92% believe it is very or extremely important to their overall success. The majority of high performers (70%) have a role or team dedicated to journey management, compared to 31% of underperformers.

Leading organizations are leveraging a journey-based approach in a wide variety of ways to better acquire, serve and retain customers. However, high performers adopt a journey management approach to measure and improve CX and business results more broadly than underperformers.

On average, high-performing teams apply this approach to 6.4 different areas of CX, compared to underperformers who apply this approach in 4.6 different ways. Over half of all top performers use a journey-based approach to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve CX; understand customer goals, needs and preferences; improve product or service design and delivery; personalize cross-channel engagement; identify the root cause of CX issues; and deliver relevant communications at the right time through the preferred channel.

High performers are seven to eight times more likely than underperformers to be effective at integrating data into a single view of the customer, analyzing customer interactions across channels and engaging customers with personalized cross-channel experiences.

On average, underperformers struggle with siloed data more consistently than high performers. In fact, underperformers are 3.6 times more likely than high performers to lack access to cross-channel journey data. Data is inaccessible or siloed by business function, which impedes their ability to build a unified customer view.

High performers are more likely to have access to journey data and use it to drive CX programs and initiatives. Nearly one-in-three high-performing CX organizations say their cross-channel customer data is accessible, integrated into a unified view of the customer and an integral driver of CX programs and initiatives, while only about 3% of underperformers can say the same. They are also seven times more likely than underperformers to be very or extremely satisfied with their ability to rapidly generate insights they can act on. Almost half (49.7%) of underperformers cannot access data or say that it is siloed within channels. 

Top performers are much more likely to connect behavioral data across three or more channels. Effective data integration supports their ability to rapidly analyze journey data, generate insights and orchestrate actions to improve customer experiences. In fact, high performers are 9.7 times more likely than underperformers to be able to connect customer data in each channel with three or more other channels.

The research was conducted by Pointillist and surveyed 1,050 CX, analytics and marketing professionals.

••• small business

Giving back

Small businesses see ROI in (re)investing in their communities

According to seedership’s Spring into Kindness Small Business Study, small businesses view what they give back to their communities as an investment (60%) and important to their business’ growth (70%), but underestimate the full value of their donations and the competitive advantage they could gain. 

Nearly all (99%) of small businesses gave back to their communities within the past year and 93% have plans to also give in 2020. Additionally, more than two-thirds (70%) gave consistently throughout the year, with 87% asked to donate at least once a month. Most (97%) prefer to give to local causes and nonprofits.

For the majority of small businesses (60%), giving is considered an investment in their business versus a trade-off or expense, with 70% stating community giving is important to their growth. Sixty-nine percent stated that their primary return on investment from giving is their personal satisfaction from supporting their communities, followed by 68% measuring ROI by the ability to create a benefit in their communities. Three-quarters (75%) want to increase their community giving, while approximately half cite that the lack of available finances (50%) and time (46%) prevents them from doing so.

The small businesses surveyed give back to their communities in multiple ways, with money being the primary (75%) method, followed by volunteering their time (62%), items gathered in collection drives (58%) and in-kind donations (35%). While almost all (95%) track their community giving, most track the monetary value of what they give – either as money donated (73%) or money raised (30%) – leaving a hazier picture around other giving components, such as time and items. Three-quarters stated that they could promote their community giving more effectively, citing that the most common methods they utilize to drive awareness of their efforts are word of mouth (69%) and Facebook (67%).

The researched was conducted by Drive Research on behalf of seedership and surveyed 403 small businesses in the U.S.

••• customer service

Hold, please

COVID-19 tests customer and employee care

In its research report The Impact of COVID-19 on Customer Care Response and Remote Work, LivePerson examined various aspects of consumer sentiment around how brands responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how employers implemented remote working.

Sixty-eight percent of consumers reported feeling frustrated over their inability to reach a company when needed, with 20% saying some brands they tried to contact were completely unreachable.

Worldwide, long hold times on the phone (experienced by 76% of respondents) were identified as the primary challenge preventing consumers from getting in touch with brands as the crisis hit. Further, 29% reported they were never able to make contact over the phone. Eighty-nine percent of the group reporting long hold times faced waits of over an hour, with 15% reporting waits of over two hours.

More than half (51%) of respondents said COVID-19 changed how they will think about ways to communicate with companies in the future. Just 37% of consumers said that the companies they were unable to reach provided a chat or messaging option. Almost half of respondents worldwide (45%) say the implementation of messaging and chat would have helped answer their questions and reduce their anxiety.

It was critical for consumers to reach businesses essential to their lives during COVID-19, yet many respondents found industries to be “not accessible” or “not helpful.” Health and medical-related companies were most important for consumers to first contact as the implications of COVID-19 garnered awareness in the news or through other channels. No industry cited in the survey – retail, financial institutions, medical/health/insurance, travel/hospitality – was deemed “very easy” to reach, with 7% being the highest response. The alcohol, cannabis and pet industries were considered the “most accessible,” with women edging men in this sentiment by 16% and 6%, respectively. The alcohol, cannabis and pet industries were also deemed the “most helpful,” potentially showing a connection between how quickly a brand responds and how helpful that response is perceived to be by the customer.

Some overlap might exist in the way the COVID-19 crisis stressed customer care and the way in which employers implemented remote working. Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported feeling just as productive or more productive while working from home and would like to see work-from-home-friendly policies implemented at their jobs. In fact, 74% would like their company to allow greater flexibility to work from home even after shelter-in-place policies expire. However, not all employers are willing to implement remote work policies going forward, and 66% of respondents who said their employers weren’t prepared to assist in working from home situations cited technology issues or a lack of technology and tools as the primary impediments. Technology shortcomings have become clearly visible with the crisis, with 78% of technology decision-makers agreeing that their company’s use of technology will change in the future as a result of COVID-19. Additionally, 74% of HR decision-makers anticipate their company’s work-from-home policies will also change as a result of the pandemic.

The research was conducted by LivePerson and surveyed 5,510 adults in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia and Israel in April 2020.

••• lifestyle research

BBQing is hot

U.S. consumers look forward to grilling

With consumers home now more than ever, research by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association suggests that our increased home cooking will expand to the backyard at near-record levels.

The survey was fielded before the COVID-19 outbreak and at the time, 37% of grill owners were looking to purchase a new grill in the near future. This number may yet hold up with the opening of businesses again. Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker. More than seven-in-10 (72%) Canadian adults own a grill or smoker.

Sixty-eight percent of American grill owners plan to cook out on the Fourth of July. The next most popular grilling days are Memorial Day (56%), Labor Day (56%), Father’s Day (42%) and Mother’s Day (29%). Year-round grilling also remains highly popular, with 75% of grill-owners saying that they grill in the winter. Twenty-three percent grill on Super Bowl Sunday, as well as 13% on Thanksgiving and 9% on New Year’s Day. In addition to holidays, owners over the past year cooked out for a birthday party (45%), during a camping trip (19%), while on vacation (17%) and tailgating at a sporting event (10%).

Gas remains the most popular fuel, with 61% of grill owners using propane, followed by charcoal (49%), which has increased slightly since 2017 (45%). Ten percent of owners have an electric grill, 9% have a natural gas grill and 3% have a wood pellet grill.

Why do people grill? Sixty-eight percent of owners do it for the flavor, followed by lifestyle (45%), convenience (33%), entertainment (32%) and hobby (19%). Grill purchasers continue to prefer choosing a grill in person, with 83% of grills purchased in-store but only 15% online. One-in-10 grillers have a full outdoor kitchen and 56% of these individuals use that kitchen at least once a week.

The HPBA State of the Barbecue Industry Report was conducted by Rockbridge Associates Inc. in August 2019 with a panel of grillers who were at least 18.

••• travel research

The outdoors are in

Camping is likely re-entry point after restrictions lift

The COVID-19 edition of the North American Camping report reveals that camping is well-positioned to rebound from the effects of COVID-19 earlier than other types of travel. Of those that made camping plans for 2020, 41% still plan to take their trips, while 22% of respondents said they cancelled and 13% say they postponed their plans. Camping and road trips will likely be the re-entry point for a third of leisure travelers. In fact, nearly half of leisure travelers who camp say they will replace one of their cancelled or postponed trips with a camping trip (47%). Travelers who don’t camp say they will replace a cancelled or postponed trip with a road trip or a hotel/resort trip (34% each). Among all leisure travelers, prior to the pandemic, camping accounted for 11% of all trips while post COVID-19, camping is likely to account for 16%.

When asked how long it will be before they go camping after restrictions in their area are lifted, 21% of campers said they felt safe camping at the time of the survey, while the majority (54%) said they’d feel comfortable within one-to-two months. 

However, not all campers are confident in their ability to get back into the outdoors, citing work status (33%) and finances (26%) as top barriers to their ability to camp, or camp more, once restrictions are lifted. Those looking to camp have many reasons to go, though, with the top reasons being that campers are wanting to spend time outdoors after staying home for so long (46%); camping is an affordable way to travel (41%); and it’s easier to practice social distancing, compared to other types of travel (37%).

There has been an influx of new, younger campers to the market in recent years, a trend tracked annually by KOA’s North American Camping Report, and COVID-19 could accelerate the rate of adoption among young people trying camping. The highest level of interest among prospective new campers is among Gen Z (44%) and millennials (45%). Prospective campers say if they were to try camping, they are most interested in a cabin (41%); in fact, roughly, 36% specifically cited a full-service cabin with a bathroom. Preference for trying a cabin is followed by a tent (21%) and an RV (19%). Campers say they are likely going to camp with fewer people compared to last year with 31% planning to camp with two people (compared to 25% in 2019) and 36% planning to camp with three to five people (compared to 41% last year). These results suggest that those who stayed in groups of three-to-five in 2019 plan to decrease their group size.

A full 70% of campers say they plan to camp closer to home than they did before COVID-19. Many campers (68%) also say they are more willing to travel to less-popular locations in order to avoid overcrowding in places such as national parks or national monuments. 

Campers are now more likely to consider different types of camping experiences and accommodations. In fact, four in 10 campers say they are interested in becoming a full-time RVer, trying glamping or trying a backcountry experience. Not surprisingly, prospective campers are less certain which type of experience they are interested in trying, though nearly one-in-three are interested in trying glamping.

Campers and prospective campers say they are also now more likely to consider different types of accommodations, compared to pre-COVID-19:

Nearly half of current tent campers and one-in-three prospective campers are now more likely to try a full-service cabin with a bathroom. About half of people who currently camp in cabins or tents, and a quarter of prospective campers, are now more likely to consider RVing. Nearly half of people who currently camp in cabins or tents and 23% of prospective campers are now more likely to consider a glamping type of accommodation. Half of current cabin campers say they are more likely to consider tent camping.

With concerns over the safety of communal facilities spiking from COVID-19, having a private bathroom in a cabin or RV is now very important to campers (63% of current campers and 44% of prospective campers). About half of campers and prospective campers say the availability of private bathrooms in a cabin or RV will influence where they stay. In fact, more than half of campers (52%) say that they are now either somewhat (29%) or very likely (23%) to consider purchasing an RV. Interest is highest among Gen X (41%) and Millennials (33%). Cleanliness of accommodations at hotels or resorts is the primary factor driving this interest, as campers want to avoid communal facilities.

The study was conducted by Cairn Consulting Group on behalf of Kampgrounds of America and surveyed 4,000 American and 500 Canadian households.