How Blow LTD Drives App Downloads And Salon Foot Traffic

CEO Dharmash Mistry talks about scaling the on-demand, in-home beauty service concept — while running two salons.

It’s a bit tired to call something the “Uber of x,” but that is how Blow LTD got it’s start: The company’s founders were inspired to create an on-demand app that would let customers book high-quality beauty services as quickly as they could call a car — and then get styled in the comfort of their own homes.

Similar to its U.S counterpart GLAMSQUAD, the London-based Blow LTD specializes in “expert beauty services delivered to your door.” Over time, the concept has grown: In addition to serving London on-demand, the company has two physical salons — and it’s expanding its services to Manchester and Birmingham this quarter.

At last week’s Retail Week Live, CEO and co-founder Dharmash Mistry talked to GeoMarketing about keeping quality high in the on-demand world — and why location matters more than ever.

GeoMarketing: On-demand app-based services have soared in popularity over the past several years, but only a minority of startups catch on. To what do you credit Blow LTD’s success in this market?

Dharmash Mistry: The key focus of the company is simply delivering high quality services. If you deliver high quality services, consumers love you and they will become repeat customers. So, for us, that starts with [being] very strict on hyper-curating the supply side.

Today, only about 7 percent of [stylist] applicants are accepted to work on the platform, and they go through very rigorous testing before that happens. We do four to seven minute Skype or phone interviews to quickly select, and then if they pass that, they have to come and do a technical test to show us their skill. We have our two [physical] salons in London, and so those can also function as spaces in which to test the stylists.

After repeat technical tests on makeup, or nails, or hair, if [they’re selected for] onboarding, we show them the customer journey and teach them how to use the supply-side apps for them to self manage. The consumer has an app and the professional has their own — it’s a two-sided marketplace, like Uber.

You have to manage your marketing so as to boost awareness of Blow LTD as a whole, drive app downloads for the main on-demand service, and drive foot traffic to the physical salon properties. How do you coordinate this?

The way we see it, the whole company is all about “expert services to your door;” everything else is a byproduct. So it’s about building the network of great supply, and then we use a whole range of marketing channels. We do a lot of outdoors — we’re on the tube at the moment — so dynamic [out-of-home] advertising in key areas. We do Facebook advertising. And then, we’re building a big corporate program.

We’re working with a lot of companies in terms of doing free pop-ups [with salon services]. We offer packages for corporates, in which we come in to do yoga for the team, or messages for stress relief. We have a whole range of corporate packages.

In terms of ads, we geo-target all our advertising [to drive] relevancy there. We do this via Facebook as well as other platforms, and we do it by the [London] zones for our landing pages. So, for example, we’ve got a directory of landing pages, which is targeted by micro-area. So if you typed in “Blow dry, Richmond,” our landing page with our proposition directly for people in Richmond would come up.

That’s interesting — yesterday’s opening keynote focused on how intelligent search has impacted discovery in that way. Is that part of how you think about capturing the attention of consumers who may have made a voice search for “blow dry” rather than Blow Ltd directly?

Yes. There’s probably a lot more work to do there, but we’ve optimized a whole lot of keywords around services and specific [geo] areas, and what the consumer might want to look for — like looking for a either a salon or a [beauty] service to their home.

Increasingly, we’ll have to get more sophisticated in how we slice and dice that as we understand consumers to the next degree.

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.