More and more hair salon businesses are popping up every day, and guest expectations are rising along with them. Between a crowded market, high customer expectations, and the new post-pandemic requirements many salons are facing, there’s never been a better time to ensure your salon point of sale software works to support your operations in the best possible way.
Unlike typical retail businesses, hair salons are juggling sales targets and driving revenue with extremely hands-on customer relationships. Efficiency, balanced with a personal touch, is essential to your overall success.
So, how can salon owners maintain swift and seamless business operations while providing a warm and relaxing environment for their guests?
It starts with outsourcing the logistics to smart technology wherever possible. The best salon POS systems will take time-consuming organizational tasks off your staff’s plate and streamline your business operations with features such as automated check-ins and contactless payments. They will take care of the admin and let your staff focus on what they do best: Create a stellar guest experience.
Paired with the right POS hardware, the POS system will make your daily workflows more efficient while freeing up your staff to focus on your customers. Before we dive deeper into the key features you want to explore for your next point of sale system, here are three important points to consider first:
- Ease of use: A simple, intuitive salon POS system plays a crucial role in saving time, generating revenue, and contributing to your overall business success.
- Scalability: With technology improving in leaps and bounds with every passing day, ensure that the POS system as well as the POS hardware you choose can scale with your business and keep up with the competition.
- Pricing: Be wary of hidden costs that go beyond the displayed subscription price. Get full quotes from each company and keep in mind that the best POS system is the one that suits your business needs.
In 2020, the market size value of POS software reached $9.3 billion, and is forecasted to hit $18.1 billion by 2027.
As with any technology, a salon POS system is only as good as its ability to meet your specific needs and business requirements. There are some tools that stand out from the rest and support hair salons way beyond the point of sale, but ultimately there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Which point of sale system works best for you will depend on your needs, your budget, and your preferences. To get you started with the decision, we’ve gathered seven essential features to consider for your next salon POS system:
1. Quick and Easy Appointment Management
Easy scheduling is crucial to a salon business; you and your staff should be able to schedule appointments on the go and make sure that there are no snags in your day-to-day workflow. Any hair salon POS software should facilitate this, but the best options also include:
- The ability for guests to book their own slots with their favorite service provider. Offering an online scheduling option helps capture bookings you might otherwise miss.
- Smart calendar functions which prevent double-bookings and optimize your schedule to fill any unnecessary gaps.
- Comprehensive guest histories, including past preferences, purchases and services. This ensures that no matter which provider greets a guest, or which center they visit, they will receive a personalized service.
- Automated reminders, SMS confirmations, and push notifications to increase guest retention and reduce no-shows.
60% of individuals usually book their appointments online.
2. Insights To Help You Grow
In a world that lives and breathes data, every business needs to have a strong analytics tool to capture insights and make sense out of them. The best POS systems will utilize data from your point of sale as well as your marketing and business operations and turn them into actionable goals.
Reports with key performance indicators (KPIs) which display progress toward your goals help you assess the health of your salon business. They can highlight things like your highest ticket services, best-selling products, staff performance, and gaps in customer satisfaction, so you can make informed decisions about your business plans.
It’s worth investing in an all-in-one salon POS system which brings together sales, marketing, and operations, with an analytics tool that goes beyond just running standard Excel spreadsheet reports (because, let’s be honest, who wants to look at those?). Find a system that can:
- Tell you all about your guests’ habits and preferences, track your marketing efforts, let you know who your best staff are, give you the key trends for sales and appointments, and help you keep on top of your inventory and retail section.
- Give you analytics in real-time. It’s essential that you can get an up-to-date view to understand where you are doing well and identify areas of improvement. The data should be extensive, the analysis thorough, and the reporting clear.
- Provide quick, automated snapshots of your business performance, as well as customizable reports to deep dive into the numbers that matters the most to you.
3. Easy Integration and Quick Installation
Your salon POS system needs to be easy to set up and intuitive to use. A steep learning curve is the last thing you and your staff need when your hands are already full. Here’s what to look out for:
- An integrated salon POS system which helps bring all functions under one roof without needing to use several separate tools and accounts. That way, a user can log in from any device to keep a close watch on costs, profitability, inventory, or schedules.
- Being able to integrate your accounting software with the salon POS system, increasing efficiency and enhancing accuracy.
- A clear and comprehensive training structure to ensure that you and your staff can make the most of your new point of sale system from day one.
4. Flexible Payment Processing
As digital payments are becoming more prevalent, it is important for your salon point of sale software to be equipped to accept multiple payment methods including cash, credit card, contactless payments, membership, packages, and gift cards. Ideally, your point of sale software should also offer automated payment alerts, third-party billing, and customization of receipts to fit specific occasions or to offer your customers specific information.
The very best salon POS systems can process and track void and returned transactions, keep tabs on petty expenses, prevent theft, and regulate unintentional miscalculations — all of which can save you money and headaches. Other useful features include:
- Contactless transactions. In a post-pandemic new normal, you’ll want to be able to offer payments, appointments, retail purchases, and gift cards online. Helping keep your staff and your guests safe.
- Itemized invoices, open and closed invoices, mobile auto-pay, and self-pay options.
- Auto-apply for discounts and package benefits and auto-text messaging triggers (SMS) for redemption of memberships, packages, and pre-paid cards.
5. Next-Level Inventory Management
Offering retail products is a great way of making the most of your staff’s expertise. When providers love your product range and recommend it to guests daily, it can boost your revenue significantly.
You can expect some degree of inventory management in most software options, but the best salon point of sale systems will:
- Track stock levels and display alerts when stock is low.
- Identify popular and slow-moving products.
- Offer a complete view of stock across multiple locations.
Product purchases don’t have to be limited to the point of sale though. To take your retail sales to the next level, look out for salon POS systems which support running an online store. When you offer and promote your product line through an online store, your guests can enjoy your products even when they can’t make it to the salon.
Aesthetics chain Skin Renewal used to struggle to manage their inventory across 16 locations. As they rapidly expanded, they lacked insight into stock levels which caused backlogs and delays.
By centralizing and automating inventory management, they saved over 500 hours per month. Here’s how.
6. Beautifully Simple Marketing Features
You probably spend more time on your phone than you’d like to admit, and so does your guests. So, make sure you connect with them over email and text on a regular basis. Some salon owners hire a marketing consultant for this job, but great hair salon POS systems will help you reach more guests without having to enlist a professional.
Studies show that email marketing is a great tool for building and retaining a loyal customer base. Your salon point of sale software should have email marketing capabilities that make it a breeze to compose, design, and send emails to your customers. Personalized wishes and messages for special events, offers and discounts for repeat customers, welcome messages for new customers, and newsletter subscriptions are just a few ways to engage with your audience.
For every dollar spent on email marketing, $42 is generated.
Your guests are used to a personalized experience in your salon, so generic texts and emails are rarely the ideal way to connect with them. The best hair salon POS systems will make marketing a breeze with features such as:
- The ability to build beautiful emails with minimal technical knowledge.
- Guest segmentation to allow you to only contact those who would be most interested in an offer. For example, guests who haven’t visited in six months, women who have had color services, or those who have purchased a specific product range.
- “Always on” campaigns which run in the background on your POS system and send texts and emails when specific conditions are met. For example, review requests after a visit or birthday greetings. Once set up, these messages send automatically, offering a fantastic time-saver for busy salon owners.
7. Management Tools That Work for Your Staff
Your staff is the face of your business, and their success in that role is directly linked to your bottom line. What’s more: The number of 30- to 45-year-olds leaving their jobs increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021, meaning it’s more important than ever to provide a great workplace for your staff.
Implement a modern salon POS system to ensure a frictionless experience where staff can focus on providing a fantastic guest experience without being hampered by lengthy administrative tasks. Look for features such as:
- The ability to generate and modify schedules with minimal unnecessary gaps.
- Clear and intuitive performance tracking which allows you to reward your staff fairly.
- A straightforward commissions structure and error-free payroll.
Keeping your staff nurtured and engaged doesn’t just pay off in terms of business success. Supporting them using an intuitive salon POS system also keeps up morale and minimizes turnover, ensuring your guests have the same great experience at every visit.
When you consider the best salon POS software and POS hardware options for your business, remember that your decision has bearing on your overall revenue — both for maintaining a loyal guest base, happy staff, and efficient business operations. Now is the time to ask yourself if your hair salon POS system is a cut above the rest or if it needs a revamp.