The Salon Industry Grows, Joins the Digital Age

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Picture 11The salon industry is projected to grow to $58.7 billion by 2019, and this expansion is providing room for those looking to open a salon business. Just finding the right software that works well in an expanding industry, with 86,000 practitioner salons in the U.S., can be a challenge.

Salon owners or managers should look for something to aid in quick booking of appointments, but also provide an automated way to confirm those appointments.

Thankfully, making an appointment has become less of a hairy experience as more salons have migrated to digital. Booking online with a computer or using a smartphone might be convenient when an appointment is needed. These solutions can prevent the endless phone message tag relays to book a time.

Making the Salon Experience Easy on Both Sides of the Chair

For most people, going to a hair stylist is just part of a routine they follow. They may have it done regularly, but especially when they need to impress or just feel their best, off to the salon they go.

Choosing a software product to meet all the owners’ and clients’ needs is also a concern. Assurances that the digital approach will be reliable and easy to use must prove it. A livelihood and a client’s loyalty are directly related to customer service. Since the salon experience is so dominated by one-on-one service, the automation must be seamless so clients feel valued.

A savvy salon owner will want to examine software that can save time with their booking, marketing, and record keeping. If all of their beauty professionals can learn and easily use the application for booking and confirmation for appointments, both they and all of their clients streamline the system.

Using a salon software application can free up your stylists to do their work, while building your business and your customer base.

1. Be Responsive

When a client emails, texts, or calls and wants an appointment, responding at that moment is critical. If a client can’t quickly make an appointment when they think of it, they might look for another salon that can accommodate their schedule.

If the other practitioner can book the client immediately and does a good job, years cultivating a client might be lost. Loyalty can evaporate in one text or call. Finding software that can handle bookings when the stylist is busy with a client can keep that loyalty going.

2. Track Records

You’ll be able to better plan for appointments if you track the records of your current patrons. Most clients will stick to specific schedules to come in for a trim, or to touch up their roots. Tracking these expected appointments in advance will help you plan your calendar and also let you know when their might be potential low periods when you can run specials to get more clients into the salon.

For example, Mary Sue Jones likes to come in the second week of every month, but she never calls ahead, making a time crunch for her stylist. Tracking and sending out reminders a week or so ahead would make Mary Sue feel respected and remind her to commit to an appointment while her hairdresser has a manageable schedule.

Picture 123. Check Inventory

When customers arrive for their monthly appointment, they likely will want to purchase their regular special shampoo and conditioner. If the system cross-references the appointment with the inventory, you can have the products ready and waiting.

This also makes the stylist appear more thoughtful, since she made her orders in time to receive them for her client’s visit. Personal service is such a large part of the salon business. Checking the products out should be speedy.

4. Market to Your Base

Trying to find new clients is harder than retaining the ones you already have. Do you know your clients’ birthdays, anniversaries, special events, and their children’s birthdays, when they usually take vacations, or when weddings are coming up? Prepare specials that can be promoted to the appropriate clients through software.

Again, it makes the salon and its professionals appear even more caring, almost effortlessly. You or your stylists can reach out to clients with personalized specials that will bring them in and keep them happy. And, the client is likely to brag to friends and family how great their salon treats them. In this age of remote access where people don’t connect, the best salon software program can fill in the gaps between people and provide a steady stream of referrals.

5. Offer Mobile Apps That Can Be Used Any Time, Anywhere

Creating a mobile app for your salon business is essential since most people use their smartphones constantly. Perhaps your stylist’s client is out with friends and notices they all look sleek with the latest style. Or they were just invited to a party on the weekend. Knowing they can book right that minute so they look fabulous for the party will win their continued loyalty.

The world works online. Making the software fit a personal service business – including hairdressers and stylists, yoga salons, barbershops, wellness centers, and many others – can create a 24/7 environment for business growth and still make the days manageable and productive.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.