There are many different web technologies and user solutions that appear every year, but only a few become fully adopted industry-wide. Whilst automation is now part and parcel of everyday business, consumer experience is still far from being fully automated.

Several sectors such as Takeaway Food & Supermarket Shopping are now established online with minimum company-to-consumer interaction, even if this includes a third-party website handling the order. More and more industries are recognising now that consumer convenience should be at the heart of their strategy. More importantly, they recognise that what they valued as important B2C interaction through face-to-face meetings, telephone and email is in many cases a barrier for certain consumer segments who prefer to focus on making decisions based on their online experience alone.

COVID-19 has accelerated the move to online solutions for obvious reasons. A bright example of this is the Healthcare industry extending to Beauty & Aesthetics. Below are some consumer-focused web technologies that have been emerging and we predict will dominate 2021 in this sector:

Online booking

online bookingIn industries such as Healthcare and sectors such as Aesthetics & Beauty online booking has not been a popular choice for many reasons. Difficulty in determining treatment tailored to client needs, inability to confirm treatment before initial consultation, internal procedural problems with timings and human input to mention just a few.

However, the appearance of disruptive players such as PushDoctor as well as many other companies that offer a completely online experience is forcing more organisations to look at online bookings as an absolute necessity to provide additional convenience.

But online booking is not as easy as it sounds in this sector. From GP practices to spas, yoga studios, gyms and aesthetics clinics, the industry has a mountain to climb. The reason for this is historical practice management systems that do not offer online integrated booking. In the best-case scenario currently, the user is redirected to the practice management website and called to complete the booking there. This reduces consumer trust and complicates matters when trying to monitor the results of marketing efforts.

The refusal of the management software companies to satisfy demand opens a space for a new player to dominate the online booking space. The danger of not following this trend is that a competitive advantage can be established by early adopters. Historical inflexible and non-integrated management software can stifle the industry in moving to the next phase.

Live Chat

Live chatOnline chat (Live chat) is certainly not a new technology. It has been around for over 10 years. It’s adoption was halted by lack of staff, technical glitches, and difficulty understanding the medium. 2021 however will see Live Chat established as a non-vocal form of communication which proves extremely useful dealing with simple enquiries and bookings.

The advantage of Live Chat is that it combines the non-verbal element of email with the instant result you can get as a consumer by using the telephone. This combination is particularly potent when one considers that it is not much fun discussing medical or aesthetic treatments over the phone in an environment such as work, where others can hear you. Live Chat offers privacy and encourages those who don’t feel comfortable communicating their condition verbally.

As Live Chat systems have integrated analytics tracking, they are now fully integrated and can be easily used to improve user experience and increase bookings.

Online Payments

Online paymentThe elephant in the room of the consumer-facing side of the healthcare industry is the online purchase and payment for treatments prior to attending the clinic or having a consultation. The logistical management of this process is potentially the most challenging for businesses currently in the sector.

However 2021 is the year that online payments will become a reality for a variety of treatments that have become commonplace such as laser hair removal or routine GP examinations and tests. The current pandemic is sure to accelerate this option.

The Challenges

Online payments will not be fully absorbed in 2021 but they are the next logical step to providing a complete user experience unaided by a human. The user can get information, make a decision based on features and pricing and purchase their preferable option. The pitfall again is with the management system used to make bookings and payments and it’s smooth integration (or not) with the website.

The Benefits

  • Increase in cashflow
  • Reducing no-shows and cancellations
  • Reduce admin costs of staff dealing with enquiries
  • Automate a process that previously could involve about to 3 people to handle


The new year is bringing fresh opportunities and challenges and technology is at the heart of the game when dealing with consumers online. The new methods of interacting with audiences, their adoption and the technological challenges faced are going to shape the bottom line. Convenience and ease of use will be rewarded with increased profits and repeat business. The inability to adapt will lead to a slow but unavoidable decline.

Only the bold and the brave will move fast and ahead as changing management software is a difficult and costly decision. It might be your best one in 2021.