Anna Teal: “Spas need to consider re-evaluating the role of the therapist”
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Anna Teal: “Spas need to consider re-evaluating the role of the therapist”

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According to CEO of Aromatherapy Associates (AA), Anna Teal, online retail has been crucial for business following enforced closure of spas. Speaking exclusively to Spa Business, Teal shared how the company has pivoted its online offering and how the industry can capitalise off demand for online retail.

“Any spa brand will be giving a great deal of thought about how to change and adapt in this world, but there’s a big opportunity as the need for wellness is greater than ever.

“As a result of the pandemic, people’s anxiety has increased, they’re feeling isolated, their sleeping patterns are disrupted and so the need for wellness is still there despite lockdown, and if anything, it’s greater than before – the main thing is how do we connect them in a different way?”

As a company, AA has historically drawn approximately 70 per cent of income from spas but the split is now divided between 80 per cent retail and 20 per cent spa. By June next year, Teal is aiming to have spa propping up 40-50 per cent at least of income revenue.

During lockdown AA’s digital channel has surged in popularity with the company’s web-traffic up 500 per cent year over year.

“This upsurge in retail has been crucial for us as a brand that has such deep roots in the spa industry,” she said.

In particular, AA has witnessed a major boost in consumer interest for at-home wellness products, which the company has complemented by launching gratuitous educational sessions – called MirrorMe calls conducted via Zoom – to explain how to use AA’s products and the history and theory behind them.

Teal reported that these calls are consistently drawing between 120-150 attendees a week.

“The vast majority of people on our calls pre-purchase products to then be taught how to use them. This exemplifies how you can use digital to engage with people in different ways and educate them, even though spas may be closed.

“The role of DIY wellness is certainly going to stick around and this is something for spas to reflect on.

“I think there needs to be a conversation about spas reevaluating the role of the therapist. Their role in delivering hands-on treatments won’t go away, but it’s going to take a while to bounce back to prior occupancy rates. The role of the therapist could be very different because there’s nothing stopping spas from engaging with customers by hosting virtual calls and educating guests.”

Teal emphasised that the spa community needs to see this openness from consumers to be engaged with in different ways as a potential chance for revenue.

She continued: “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.”

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