With the market size of the beauty salon industry in the US at $42 billion dollars, owning a beauty salon is certainly appealing. But when you’re busy being the owner, bookkeeper, marketing manager, HR department, and sometimes also a provider with a full guest book, it can be hard to find time to focus on your goals. The good news is that having the right processes and technology in place can make all the difference.
How to Achieve Your Salon Business Goals
Since you can’t be everywhere and do everything at once, pick your top 3-5 areas of focus and make S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based) goals. Here are our recommended goals to get you started.
Attract New Guests to Your Salon
If one of your top goals is to attract new guests, then you may be thinking about strategies such as ramping up your marketing efforts, requesting reviews from loyal guests, implementing a referral program, and making booking effortless.
Centralized, automated marketing capabilities help you craft attention-grabbing email and SMS campaigns and attract new guests. Using data from existing guests, reviews, and more, the best salon management software will segment audiences and send targeted campaigns that speak to their unique needs and behaviors. Having all campaigns centralized makes it effortless for you to launch marketing campaigns across all regions where you have locations with just the click of a button. You can also track them all to see what's delivering the best results.
Salon business software can support you with collecting and managing reviews that help you attract new guests to your brand. Automated alerts are automatically sent to guests via email or text immediately after their appointment, to capture feedback while your brand is still top of mind. You can utilize this feedback to promote your business on social media and your website. You'll also gain valuable insights into where you can improve the guest experience or train providers to offer high-demand services which bring new guests in.
Word of mouth is the best and fastest way to get new guests. So, if you’re already delivering amazing service that your guests love, why not encourage them to recommend your brand? With salon business software, you can offer guests multiple touchpoints to refer you on and send automatic prompts that capitalize on the right moments to ask for a referral, such as after a positive review or service. You can also segment guests based on spend, visits, and frequency to identify your loyal guests and target the ones most likely to refer you.
4. Appointment Booking
When a potential new guest is thinking about booking an appointment with you for the first time, you want to make sure they complete the action by making the experience as quick and convenient as possible. The best salon management software offers online booking options across multiple platforms, so guests can book on your website, through a chatbot, or on your social media pages 24 hours a day. Give them the freedom to book services by provider, time, or location, and to easily book large group appointments, and you’ll soon have a loyal guest for life.
Keep Your Salon Appointment Book Full
Other than attracting new guests, there are multiple other ways salon owners can keep their appointment books full. With a digital booking experience, you give your guests the autonomy to book when they want, provide the convenience they demand, and fill your schedule simultaneously. With automated marketing, you can send personalized emails to fill empty slots with no effort required. Meanwhile, let booking automations work in the background to ensure every minute is maximized.
1. Online Booking
Not only do guests who book online spend more and come to your business more frequently, they have a higher rate of showing up for their appointments as well. And with the ability to customize the treatment, provider, and time slot available for your guest, your appointment book will have fewer gaps in it, which lessens the strain on you and your team to rely on walk-ins and to find new guests.
With an all-in-one solution that links your marketing efforts with your appointment book, you can automatically send campaigns to fill up empty slots in the schedule. A great salon management software will use predictive analysis to identify the number of appointments needed to meet your goals and then utilize existing guest data to determine the right emails to send to the right guests. It learns from past campaigns and visits to automate email sends and intelligently tailors every digital interaction with guests to keep your appointment book full.
3. Booking automations
The best salon business software enables you to set service rules to factor in correct service order to keep your appointment book full and maximize your time slots. It works to detect duplicates and smartly stack multiple services per guest that would otherwise leave gaps in the appointment book. The software can also spot downtime (like color processing time) and find a service small enough to keep the appointment book full and staff busy (and earning extra tips)!
Salon Success Story
Do the Bang Thing Salon noticed that several guests had not visited them for more than 120 days. They wanted to easily build regular and targeted emails to engage with lost and recent guests to stay top of mind and keep their appointment book full. Now they can:
- Segment and engage with their audience based on visit frequency
- Incentivize guests with personalized promotions
- Upsell specific packages and generate additional revenue
Increase Guest Loyalty
Can you tell at a glance how many “lost” guests you have on your books? In other words, how many people in your database haven’t been in for an appointment in the last six months? Could you say, with any amount of honesty, why they haven’t returned? It might be time to start tracking guest loyalty and taking steps to ensure your guests are consistently coming back.
Some ways to increase guest loyalty include providing a personal experience, gathering and acting upon feedback, or introducing a loyalty program.
1. Personalize the Experience
Guests always respond positively to personalized attention and salon business software can help you to deliver the tailored experience they deserve. Firstly, with centralized profiles available in the cloud every front desk will have access to all guests’ information so they can greet them by their preferred name, offer them their favorite drink, and know their service history no matter which location they visit. This makes a guest feel remembered and valued.
This data also provides insights into their service preferences. Does your guest prefer a specific room, a particular order of service, or have other special requests? Perhaps they like to have services done in a particular order — eyebrows before hair, for example. Cater to their preferences and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. You can also store key dates like your guest’s birthday or anniversary and send an automated text message or email to show them you remembered and offer a complimentary service or discount to get them to come in for an unplanned visit.
2. Gather Feedback
The simplest way to know what works in your business and what needs improvement is simply to ask your guests for feedback. It’s also an effective way to show your guests that you care about their experience. Provide opportunities to offer feedback immediately after a service, such as a kiosk placed in an easily accessible location, a post-appointment “thank you” text message with a request for feedback, or automated notifications directly to your branded mobile app. Getting this timely feedback helps you to keep evolving and elevating your brand experience. It also provides an opportunity for you to fix any negative experiences that may have occurred and keep the guest loyal.
3. Offer a Loyalty Program
One way you can incentivize guests to keep coming back is with a loyalty program. A cloud-based salon management system can help you set up tiered and regular loyalty programs to reward returning guests. You can then automate your entire program without burdening your staff with extra administrative work, since manually tracking and maintaining loyalty points for every guest can be an overwhelming and error-prone task. An all-in-one system will house your salon POS functions, enabling the program points to be quickly and easily added, viewed, and redeemed. It will also give you fast access to data, insights, and reports on the success of your program.
Maximize Sales and Profits
For every salon business, maximizing sales and profits is instrumental for success, which is why this is such a key goal for owners. From increasing retail sales, to automating your marketing efforts, and accessing powerful analytics, there are numerous ways salon management software can help. Let's dive in!
1. Boost Retail Sales
Service reminders are great at getting guests who haven’t visited in a while to return to your salon, and they can also be used to promote retail sale add-ons. For example, with your salon business software you can send an automated reminder to a guest who came in for their last cut over 3 months ago. When you send the reminder, encourage a product purchase by announcing a retail promotion that you’re currently offering, or by creating a special retail incentive just for guests that receive this message.
In your database, you’ll also have access to information on what retail your guests have purchased and when that product is expected to be fully used. Use that information to automatically send a replenishment reminder that keeps your products top of mind and adds an extra touch of convenience to their busy lives.
2. Access Powerful Analytics
If you’re managing multiple locations, employees, types of services and products, figuring out what’s driving your increasing revenue so that you can do more of it can be difficult, if not downright impossible. Conversely, there may be things you or your employees are doing which are actually harming your revenue. Maybe it’s wasted inventory, maybe it’s inefficient scheduling, or maybe it’s pricing—whatever it may be, you need to understand it to keep growing. That’s where analytics come into play.
By diagnosing your business and pinpointing the components that are adding to your revenue and those that are detracting from it, you’re able to pivot and ensure that you do more of the former, and less of the latter. Reports will tell you what is happening. Analytics will help tell you why something is happening so you can connect the dots and make smarter decisions.
Build a Happy Salon Team
So, if one of your goals is to improve employee retention then you’ll want to consider what areas you could improve.
Since scheduling staff is often listed as the #1 headache for most salon owners and managers, this could be a good place to start. Providing education and development opportunities is also great for keeping staff happy and engaged. Consider also ways where you can give staff more flexibility and independence. For example, this could be through an employee app that gives them access to everything they need at their fingertips!
Here’s how salon business technology can help you achieve this goal:
With staff availability often at a premium and the Great Resignation still going strong, it can be hard to know how to balance the appointment schedule with the staff you need on hand. Smart scheduling solutions, built on artificial intelligence platforms, match up your appointments—both booked and forecasted—with your staff on hand, and help you optimize your staffing levels and maximize your efficiency by scheduling the right number of stylists at the right times.
This helps to create a happier team as their time is optimized and they’re going to make more money during their shift. And you’re happy because you’ve been able to match up your costs and revenue and ensure you have an acceptable amount of “give” in the schedule to accommodate no-shows, walk-ins, and appointments that run over!
The best salon software providers often include training and knowledge resources that help beauty salon professionals to expand their knowledge through personalized training, role-based training, skills development, and more. With Zenoti University, our goal is to help beauty professionals and business owners find their great by helping them grow their expertise, their career, and their businesses. Here are some tips to motivate salon staff.
Discover how a salon management software, like Zenoti, can help you effortlessly manage staff turnover.
What are the Benefits of Salon Management Software?
If you’re like most salon owners, your biggest concern is probably the bottom line. You may be wondering how an all-in-one system is going to fit into your business when you’re already overburdened with attracting new guests, delivering a great guest experience, and managing your staff. After all, you’re probably already using some type of software, even if it’s just for accounting.
The good news is that an all-in-one system is designed to help you solve all these challenges and run your business more effectively. Cloud-based software can:
- Help you generate new leads
- Keep your appointment book full
- Increase guest loyalty and repeat visits
- Maximize sales and profits
- Increase employee retention and satisfaction
Staying on top of technology trends and guest expectations is difficult. How do you know which new platforms to invest in and which to avoid? And what features will let you maximize your time on the salon floor and minimize time spent in a back room with the books? You’re a salon owner, not an IT professional, after all.
It's frustrating to not know if your leads will turn into sales, or how much inventory you need without physically counting bottles, or how many staff should be scheduled to meet the needs of your guests while keeping your staff utilization at its peak.
But what if you could keep track of your inventory, marketing campaigns, staff, and appointment book all in one place? Those are the benefits of salon management software.
It all starts with a comprehensive, clear, and easy to use system. Here we will cover the best ways to ease your top concerns, drop the pressure you feel to meet your ROI (return on investment) and automate your salon processes to boost productivity and efficiency. Let’s break it all down so you can leave with takeaways you can act on today to start seeing results in 2022:
- What is an all-in-one salon business software?
- The benefits of cloud-based salon software.
- The benefits of an all-in-one salon POS system.
Discover more in the Salon Management Solution Guide.
What is an All-In-One Salon Business Software?
All–in–one salon management software handles every aspect of your business, so you can get back to doing what matters the most – helping people and changing lives. It takes the place of multiple systems, housing your inventory, booking and scheduling, POS and employee data, and more all in one place.
Here are some key ways it helps:
1. Simplify Appointment Booking
An all-in-one system takes every aspect of appointment booking and simplifies it, applying automation where necessary and making the experience effortless for both you and your guests. Do you have complex scheduling requirements? No problem. The best systems use powerful algorithms to maximize your appointment book yield while respecting your employees’ and your guests’ time. You can program in processing times and even prioritize booking orders for specific service providers.
2. Access Data-driven Marketing
3. Give Staff Everything at Their Fingertips
In many salons, service providers often have to keep their own records separately, whether that’s appointment books for regular clients, commission earnings or color formulas and cut preferences. The right software platform can gather all of that information at their fingertips. This means anyone can effortlessly handle appointments, instantly check-in/out guests, update invoices, validate retail stock in real-time, and more – leading to less frustrations and higher productivity.
Empowering stylists to reach their business goals can help boost staff retention, too. By creating separate access levels for different job roles, managers can give service providers a view of the business tailored to their particular needs. This might mean a personalized calendar, for example, and insight into future appointments. By allowing access to a personal dashboard which could include commission earned, guest feedback and more, stylists can manage their own KPIs and workflows.
4. Provide Mobile Convenience
Today’s guests want you to make it effortless for them to stay connected to you from wherever they are, at any time. Mobile solutions enable you to deliver a premium experience from the first touchpoint to the last. And that can empower you to charge more for the work you do. You can make booking, check-in, and check-out effortless for guests and offer a mobile shop for 24/7 purchasing of products and gift cards. The best way to unlock the full power of the mobile experience for guests is through a branded app that keeps you within easy reach, 24/7.
Often, branded apps include an account section, where guests can enter payment details to speed up purchases. They can also include a history section with details on past appointments and product choices. Your app can also be a space for value-added functionality. For example, mobile users can track their loyalty program points and you can send automatic push notifications to remind clients about upcoming appointments or promotions.
5. Access Insightful Reporting
The best part of an all-in-one system for reporting is that it provides comprehensive, meaningful reports across your entire business, to build a complete snapshot and deliver actionable insights. This gives managers and owners access to the information they need for decision-making purposes in real-time, rather than in end of period summaries from accounts. Good reporting means making data accessible through clean design and understanding what’s pertinent for your business.
You can also use the data to benchmark how each of your departments are faring against industry averages and standards, as well as against your competitors. By comparing your own business processes to industry leaders, you’ll be able to establish a series of best practices to apply to each department and constantly improve.
Read about the Benefits of an All-in-One System for Your Salon.
Keep reading to learn why to move to the cloud...
The Benefits of Cloud Salon Software
You’re in the cloud when all your guest, bookings and business data are in one place on the internet. Your system is secure, yet accessible to anyone with permission. The latest cloud-based salon management applications can cost-effectively deliver business management insights at your fingertips—wherever you are. And most of all, they make it simple, giving you access to constantly updated, cutting-edge software features so that you don’t have to worry about when an upgrade is going to happen or if your platform is in danger of obsolescence
When brands grow, inconsistencies start to appear between centers, services, quality and pricing. Cloud software solves this for you with one database for everything your business needs. You can unify all pricing and services across locations, maintain a single guest profile for all centers to deliver an elevated experience, and much more.
With everything available in one place you can run your business more efficiently, saving time to focus on strategy and growth rather than admin and operations. You’ll also cut back on operational costs (with just one solution rather than multiple) and stay ahead of the competition by providing an extraordinary guest experience.
Your data should be available to you when you need it. With cloud-based software, you can pull reports and data in real time on appointments, inventory, sales, staff utilization, and more, all from the palm of your hand, from wherever you are.
Finally, quality cloud-based software offers a high level of data security. That includes the ability to set internal permissions and prevent external data threats. Before deciding on any software, ask what security measures they take to protect your data.
For an overview of what cloud-based software can do for you, we recommend this overview video of Zenoti software. It’s 1.5 mins of information you don’t want to miss.
Want to discover more benefits of cloud software? Read our Why the Cloud? eBook.
The Benefits of an All-In-One Salon POS System
Can your clients pay you using the method that’s most convenient for them? And will you be able to record and account for all of these transactions?
Do your stylists struggle to seamlessly transition guests from chair to checkout? What if they didn’t have to go through that process at all — and guests could make automated payments through an app instead?
When it comes to billing, accepting payment from your guests should be as simple and seamless as possible. With a salon POS system, not only can you avoid manual processes, but you can also keep transactions secure and make paying for services as frictionless as possible – in any shape or digital format.
For traditional in-store transactions, an all-in-one system enables you to use a mobile POS system that’s ready whenever your guests are. You can check your guests in, upsell them, and check them out with just a few taps on a mobile tablet. With the right system, you can even link your in-store, online, and in-app sales to gain a clearer understanding of the health of your business. This is essential for building clarity and transparency in your accounting and bookkeeping.
If your guests keep a card on file with your business, paying for services is even simpler. Guests will no longer need to fish through their purse or wallet to find their card, and they can use the same card for online and in-store transactions. Altogether, you can enjoy capabilities such as recurring payments, scheduled payments, real-time payment reporting, integrated gift card sales, and automated no-show and cancellation fees.
A salon POS system positively impacts your bottom line by freeing your employees from the manual processes typically associated with booking and billing. Instead, all of your payment and scheduling information is completed automatically and any potential errors that arise from the manual process are eliminated. Automated collection of no-show and cancellation fees also helps to ensure your salon still receives funds in these unfortunate instances.
Finally, your salon POS system should be able to scale and evolve with you and your guests. Without having to worry about moving or adding physical systems, a cloud-based POS can expand with you as you grow your locations. And as more payment options become available, it can evolve with the times. Technology can move faster in the cloud, than sitting at your front desk.
How Software Can Help You Run Your Salon Business
Excellence in guest service, real-time data analytics and AI-led decision making—combined with intelligent marketing and a steady eye on the bottom line—are vital for salons to remain competitive. Choosing the right software partner will deliver on all these needs and more, providing depth and understanding while at the same time simplifying processes.
The right cloud-based software platform can help increase guest bookings, reduce overheads, and improve efficiency to deliver where it counts. Most of all, they’ll carry on innovating and disrupting to ensure that they’re at the cutting edge of technology, so that you can be just as creative and industry-leading for the core of your business.
Technology is an important brand, sales, and systems tool - and there are a lot of options out there. Finding the software support strategy that helps your business stand out can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be.
Learn which software is best for you, how to develop an implementation plan, and how to analyze results. Here are the five most effective ways your software can help you run your salon business:
- Increase front desk efficiency
- Unify salon operations
- Make employee management easy
- Improve inventory management
- Create a great guest experience
Increase Front Desk Efficiency
Your front desk staff’s time is precious and it’s best spent with your guests, not playing phone tag to schedule appointments. Here are some of the ways salon management software increases front desk efficiency:
- Cloud-based appointment booking software increases front desk efficiency by taking booking, rebooking, and cancellation off their hands.
- Providers can add upgrades or retail products to invoices, take payments, and rebook appointments all from their mobile devices at the service chair and deliver a high-quality guest experience.
- Guests can independently buy retail products, services, gift cards, memberships and much more on their mobile devices – without needing to visit the front desk!
- With Auto-Pay, guests are free to pay and check out on their mobile phones and leave straight from the chair.
- Guests can complete any appointment forms digitally ahead of their appointment, without any support required from the front desk.
Unify Salon Operations
If you’re tired of using multiple different software or even Excel sheets and Google docs to keep track of different aspects of your salon, then it's time to get everything you need all in one place. Streamline your salon operations with an all-one-one solution that empowers you to say goodbye to hours hunting through different systems to access the information you need: This will make your life a lot easier - saving you time and resources and increasing efficiency.
Here's how all-in-one software helps:
All brand locations can access a single database so there’s only one guest profile and one service menu which management can centrally update across the entire network at the click of a button.
Data is stored centrally, providing easy access to actionable insights on everything from financial performance to employee training needs.
It ensures you deliver a consistent experience across every brand location - gift cards can be redeemed at any center and guests can store credit cards on file for an easy checkout experience at every location.
Salon Success Story
As a large and growing franchise, RUSH required centralized data access and reporting for each salon’s performance so they could scale quickly. With an all-in-one cloud salon software, RUSH:
- Gives guests access to self-serve booking features
- Enables automatic order adjustments and add-on service suggestions
- Captures turnaway information and assists with strategic business decisions
- Segments and personalizes campaigns to increase client engagement and retention
Make Employee Management Easy
Salon staff and providers come to work because they want to make a positive impact on their guest’s lives. And they come to work for you because you offer them a supportive and creative environment. With salon business software, you can:
- Automate your payroll-related commission processes and manage commission structures, payroll combinations, and users from a single login.
- Centralize employee profiles and scheduling into one cloud-based source of truth, even if they work at multiple locations.
- Seamlessly manage their schedule, workload, payroll, commissions, bonuses, performance, and more.
- Equip employees with a mobile app that provides access to everything they need to excel at their job and create an extraordinary guest experience.
Learn more with our Employee Management Datasheet.
Improve Inventory Management
Managing inventory levels is a vital part of maintaining profitability. Cloud-based salon business software gives you real-time visibility on your inventory, at one or all your locations, and enables you to:
- Save time and increase efficiency by automating the inventory management process.
- Accurately track stock levels and use that data to anticipate need and prevent over supply.
- Easily manage orders, perform audits, and monitor product usage with stock level alerts.
- Identify popular and slower-moving salon products to order just the right amount and plan marketing campaigns around what your guests really want.
- Track stock levels across all your salons, see what's coming from the warehouse, and easily transfer products between locations to respond to demand and shortages.
- Integrate with vendor ERP systems to automate order management. Process invoices automatically and generate pre-filled purchase orders for each supplier, so staff don't have to reinvent the wheel with each order.
- Compare future appointments with current availability of colors for “just in time” ordering.
Create a Great Guest Experience
You know you and your employees wow your guests when they’re in your salon. The next step is to elevate your guests’ experience at every touchpoint to create the omnichannel experience they desire before they even walk through your doors (and after they leave!). That includes your website, online booking, social media, email, and SMS.
With an all-in-one salon management software, you can:
- Easily deliver a consistent, personalized experience across every brand location.
- Eliminate wait times and front desk touchpoints.
- Empower staff to upsell and process payments at the service chair, resulting in a fast and seamless check-in/out experience.
- Compile all available information about your guests’ experiences and house it in a single location, so you can draw insights from it easily and use it to drive actions and further enhance their experience.
- Prompt guests to share feedback and reviews immediately after appointments so you can access helpful feedback about your services and use it to make the experience even better.
Industry Trends: The New Normal and Impact of COVID on the Beauty Salon Industry
If we’ve learned anything from the global pandemic, it’s that our time is our most precious resource. That is why, now more than ever, it is key to streamline your workflows, processes, and programs.
We know you’re tired of talking about COVID, but the fact of the matter is it’s how we got to where we are today and that matters. It matters to you, your guests, your business and the greater collective. Here are the trends you need to know and the technology you need to implement to counter the impacts of COVID.
2022 Beauty Salon Industry Trends
For a high-level peek at the trending information for 2022, keep reading. For a deeper trend analysis, brand examples, and expert insights check out 5 Beauty & Wellness Trends to Embrace.
Retail, Retail, Retail
Beauty products are in high demand, are you a part of the conversation?
There are so many new products launched every year and your guests want to hear which ones are worth buying. Show them, tell them, and direct them to your eCommerce platform to pick them up.
Pro tip: Consider focusing on sustainable, clean and green products for 2022.
Why? The organic and natural beauty market is projected to reach $54 billion by 2027.
Custom, Gender-Neutral Treatments and Memberships
Stand out in the crowd and gain an edge in the market with customized treatments. Focus on custom, longer duration, and gender-neutral services. Memberships will also be huge in 2022, so how can you incorporate your custom treatments into gender-neutral membership packages?
Social Media Appointment Booking
A heightened focus on wellbeing continues to be important and relaxation plays a role. Combine convenience and relaxation with social media appointment booking that meets them where they are.
Chatbots and AI
Use innovative technologies to deliver an extremely personalized "always on” experience. Chatbots help increase efficiency and bookings by ensuring your brand is accessible 24/7 to your guests.
Technology and a Post-COVID World
Technology can help salons run more efficiently to counter the impact of COVID.
Online booking, touchless check-in/out, online product orders, and touchless payments allow your business to pivot and continue to grow while meeting the trending demands of your consumers in a post-COVID world.
Salon Success Story
Gene Juarez Salons & Spas uses touchless technology to provide a high-quality experience to their guests across all ten of their locations.
Learn more about how they pivoted in our new world with touchless technology to ensure guest safety and elevate their experience in this video.