The number of online offerings of massage and bodywork services was already growing before the COVID-19 crisis, but the Coronavirus pandemic has clearly accelerated this practice, typically as an effort of therapists and instructors to counteract social distancing measures and keep their businesses running.
Nevertheless, going online with your treatments and training courses has both advantages and disadvantages compared to in-person massage and bodywork, and I want to give you — therapist or teacher — a quick overview of some of the most important pros and cons, or challenges, if you like.
- Bypass of lockdowns and social distancing measures, that is, you can keep doing business, which is a win for both you and your clients;
- Usually lower operational business costs and overhead than in-person facilities, in any case, if you do much of your website maintenance and development yourself;
- Usually less time-consuming than in-person services. In fact, you don’t need to prepare much or travel to give a treatment or training, and neither do your clients;
- Generally less initial business investment than offering in-person services;
- Cheaper services and products, which is a win for the client;
- More flexibility in scheduling appointments or classes than in-person treatments or training;
- Potential for rapidly growing your target market;
- A smaller carbon footprint, both for you as a provider and your clients, which is a win for our planet;
- You can much easier reach a global audience;
- Less social interaction and sometimes having the feeling of living in seclusion. In fact, online interaction is often less fun and usually less satisfactory on a human interaction level, both for provider and clients;
- Not all services can be given online, and this is a major showstopper for certain treatments or training activities. Think, for instance, of giving a massage treatment;
- Customer service challenges. Some clients prefer to shake a hand, feel the actual atmosphere, speak directly with a person, and so on;
- Trust issues, that is, clients may hesitate to buy from you, because there’s a greater risk of fraud compared to in-person services;
- Website maintenance and development — or of any other active eCommerce presence — requires specific skills, which can be rather costly when you need to purchase or outsource all services that enable you to run a website;
- Getting new customers can be very difficult. It needs specific ways of promoting and advertising your services or products to reach an audience. Basically, there’s often much more competition online compared to an in-person, local situation.