Is your salon one of the highest performing in the nation? We recently analyzed data from Zenoti salon customers across North America to find what exceptional salon performance looks like. What tactics do top salons implement and what are the results? Now, you can find out.
Download your copy of Achieving Greatness: The Salon Business Excellence Report to see how top salons perform across 14 business areas.
In this blog post, we cover the key performance indicators (KPIs) related to the guest journey. We explore the achievements of high-performing salons, from guest booking and in-store sales to post-visit communication.
We have defined high performance as the top 10th percentile of results and compared them to average-performing salons, to give you realistic business goals and best-practice advice on how to get there.
Before the visit: Online booking
The number of guests who book their appointments online
Data shows that high rates of online booking correspond with lower no-show rates. In other words, salons who use and promote their online booking feature reduce the risk of lost revenue and last-minute scheduling gaps.
From restaurant visits to flight tickets, online booking isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a consumer expectation. The ability to bypass phone lines (and potentially sit on hold) when booking an appointment can be a deciding factor for would-be guests at your salon. In the Zenoti March 2022 Consumer Survey, 64% of guests said they are more likely to choose a salon that offers online mobile booking.
It’s not enough to choose any system, however. Start your guest journey right by offering an experience that is beautifully branded, easy to navigate, offers a wide variety of booking options, and drives higher ticket sizes.
A modern online booking system must be able to display relevant products and add-on treatments during the booking. This makes cross-selling and upselling part of your self-service workflow and allows you to capitalize on revenue opportunities before the guest even enters your salon.
With so many positive revenue outcomes from online booking, you’ll want to encourage high participation. Firstly, promote the feature on your website, social media channels, and in store. Secondly, use your email and SMS marketing to drive up online booking rates further: help guests quickly book an appointment when they see a tempting offer by linking your online booking feature in each message.
Entering the salon: Online or mobile check-in
Guests using their mobile device to let you know they’ve arrived for their appointment
Waiting in line isn’t the ideal start to a relaxing salon experience. According to Zenoti data, 52% of guests say “wait time” is the most frustrating aspect of a salon or spa visit. It can be a real nuisance on a busy day: imagine the pressure on your front desk when they try to provide a warm and personal welcome to each guest as they see the line grow through the salon.
Top-performing salons often have systems in place to counter these common frustrations and create a smooth experience for both guests and hard-working staff. With online or mobile check-in, guests confirm their arrival via their mobile device instead of having to wait at the front desk. Their stylist or provider is alerted immediately, and can quickly review guest details before stepping out onto the salon floor. As the provider greets their guest, they are fully aware of the guest’s history and preferences – last visit, purchases, even topics of conversation – and can offer a personalized experience from start to finish.
As a result, the front desk has a lighter workload, and can turn their focus to revenue-generating tasks such as supporting retail and membership sales.
During the appointment: Retail purchase
The number of invoices which include a retail purchase
In analyzing salon performance data, we found that leading U.S. salons add retail products to their service invoices at a rate 10 times higher than the average. Bundling a service and product is a low-cost, high-reward strategy: It’s natural for providers to recommend products during a visit, leading to higher ticket sizes and overall revenue.
The key is making retail recommendations an effortless part of both the booking process and the visit: Your salon software should tap into guests’ usual services, newly ordered services, and purchase history to recommend relevant products during the booking process and offer retail suggestions to providers at the chair.
When it comes to provider-led sales, top salons outperform others significantly: high performers have a retail purchase in 34% of invoices – more than double of average-performing salons. Remember that provider-led sales also help support staff retention: Higher retail sales lead to higher tips and commissions for providers.
Once you have a retail strategy going, make sure you never run out of stock and keep your staff from spending hours in the storage room. Zenoti salon software tracks inventory, alerts you when stock is running low, and automates re-ordering to get staff back on the salon floor in minutes.
Exiting the salon: Digital payments
The percentage of visits paid via a card saved on file, mobile phones, and other digital methods
Data from salons in North America reveals that a higher frequency of digital payments correlates with other areas of top performance: more appointments booked and higher overall collections.
From the guest’s point of view, the opportunity to pay digitally adds speed, convenience, and seamless simplicity. The guest doesn’t need to line up at the front desk with cash or card in hand, and can exit the salon within seconds to head out into the world and flaunt their new style.
App-based payments are especially convenient. They align with paying habits that guests have become accustomed to through popular consumer apps such as Uber. After a successful service, the payment is almost invisible: There’s no need for a provider or staff member to repeat the cost, or for a guest to request a tip amount out loud at the front desk. Instead, guests simply view the invoice on their mobile phone, quickly select or specify a tip, and pay in just a few taps – often, with higher tips as a result.
Planning the next visit: Return rates
The percentage of appointments made by guests who visit more than four times per year
Consider the cost of acquiring a new guest, compared to retaining an existing one. Acquisition efforts might include advertising, online and offline, to spread awareness about your brand. It might also include first-timer discounts and promotions to get people through the door.
Retaining a guest requires far fewer resources. For most salons, retention combines a great experience both inside and outside the salon. If you’ve optimized that combination, you can achieve guest loyalty while increasing your salon’s earnings.
First, and most essentially, provide an exceptional, personalized service with every visit. Recruit talented providers and support them with every opportunity to grow, progress in their craft, and maximize their earning potential. Give them easy access to guest information via your salon software so they are in tune with guest preferences before starting each service.
Second, maintain regular touchpoints with guests to keep them engaged with your brand and excited to book their next appointment. A great time-saving strategy is to set your salon software to send out emails automatically, at specified intervals after an appointment.
Here’s an example: You can automate a ‘thank you’ and review request to send as soon as an invoice is closed – to solidify a great visit. Then, if the guest hasn’t rebooked after, say, three months, they receive a message reminding them ‘it’s time to touch up those roots’. The Zenoti Smart Marketing tool automates this process, securing guest loyalty with little to no additional resources from your team.
This summary of guest journey data is only one portion of Achieving Greatness: The Salon Business Excellence Report. Download the full report to explore top salon performance across subjects like no-shows, utilization, referral rates, and more. Get your copy today.