Rewind back to India in the year 2000. The common remedy for acne marks was Vicco Turmeric, very few used hair conditioner beyond coconut oil, and certainly weekly blow-outs were not even heard of. Few salons and spas were using computers - in fact they ran every aspect of their business on paper - from booking appointments, to running inventory counts and even providing an invoice or receipt.
The beauty and wellness industry has come a long way from those times. Both men and women’s spend has increased exponentially - it’s clear that visiting a skin clinic, like Kaya Skin, unwinding at a spa or regularly visiting a salon are not restricted to the rich anymore.
The last 5 years have also seen a major shift in how we use technology, with smart phones now common place. The changes in how we use technology in our daily lives and increased spend in beauty and wellness; have increased a customer’s expectations from every aspect of their spa or salon experience.
The beauty and wellness industry has responded. Today, the winners in this space have embraced the processes and resources required to deliver high quality services, align with evolving needs of their customers, and can also run their operations efficiently.
Technology has come to play a critical role in salons and spas being able to keep their schedules full, increase customer loyalty, increase visit frequency, properly manage staff, streamline operations, and grow revenue.
Further, it’s no longer just about unit level operations, but winning in this space is also about being able to capture a bigger piece of the market.
Enrich Salons, a Mumbai based chain, grew from 10 to 56 outlets in the last five years. And, they’ve shared their plan to open 25 more salons in the coming months. O2 spas has a similar growth trajectory, having expanded to 40 locations in just a few years.
The ability for them to support such rapid expansion is manageable because of technology. For chains that are dispersed geographically, cloud-based platforms provide accessibility and transparency to management at all times.
With a cloud-based solution, every center’s data is accessible through the internet. This empowers owners and managers to stay on top of each center’s operations and performance without having to physically be present at the center. They have real-time access to all the information they need, including employee performance, the appointment book, financial reports, customer feedback, and more.
Further, managers are able to make changes in the software at one place - which is immediately reflected across the entire network of centers. For example, adding a new service to the menu takes only moments. This helps the business stay agile and responsive to changing needs.
Earlier, it was almost impossible for customers to book a salon or spa appointment. The tendency was to walk in and wait for a stylist or therapist to become available. This no longer fits with our fast paced lifestyles or the way we interact with other services, like booking movie tickets.
Cloud software enables mobile apps as a natural extension of the salon’s operational software. For example, customers can book their appointments, with a few clicks, from their mobile phone.
The booking process is incredibly convenient and still has all the benefits of speaking to a real person - whether it’s to request a specific stylist or find availability on different dates.
Mobile support, of course, extends beyond booking and provides an effective channel for marketing communications and engaging with the customer between visits.
The approach of a spa or salon employees towards their work has evolved along with the management framework of the business. Technology now enables employees to constantly stay in touch with the business.
Mobile access allows employees to keep track of their own salary, commissions, tips, appointments, feedback ratings, and even performance goals. Other key capabilities like being able to book a customer’s appointment directly from their phone help them build their client base and fill their appointment books.
With the emergence of cloud software, we’ve seen major shifts in what a salon or spa can do, especially in the areas of operating multi-location chains, offering online and mobile capabilities, being able to run creative marketing strategies and implement easy to manage loyalty programs. Cloud solutions also enable many administrative tasks to be automated.
In a nutshell, technology has given managers the freedom to focus on customer interactions and strategic initiatives that grow the business.