Knowing where start when you compare salon management software for your salon, spa or barber shop, can be a daunting task for any manager or owner.
Today, we will be covering off everything you need to think about.
Whether you are a booth renter or the CEO for chain of hair salons. Free vs paid, cloud based vs download, multi-device vs app and much much more.
Before we crack on...
It really is the time to throw away your paper base appointment book and get into the digital age!
Salon management software, which is also often called salon software can help you management your salon business on a daily basis.
Depending on your choice of software provider, it will give you the right insight for effective scheduling, staffing, customer loyalty, salon inventory management, marketing and reporting.
Scheduling is one of the main reason why you will invest in salon manageemnt software for your salon.
Let us look through some of the key elements for this key function
this is important so that you can block times when people are unable to unable to book time the schedule, this becomes even more important when you implement online booking.
Also if a staff member is sick then you are able to take them out of the calendar and transfer their customers to another stylist or service provider and contact them to tell them.
Your stylist me want to take a few hours of they can quickly do it in the schedule when they have a gap.
If a staff member wants to take a break for the afternoon or a last minute lunch break, you can quickly add it on there.
If you are providing color treatments within your salon, being able to add processing time, iy will allow the stylist to work on another booking whilst the color treatment. This enables you to free up a stylists to work on other clients.
Like the processing time, you want to have the ability to be able carry out two appointments at the same time, this could be when be when someone books something like hair straightening or color.
This is one of the key elements for customer retention. The ability to add recurring appointments lets you put in the same appointment multiple times, thus ensuring that your busy stylists customers are not disappointed by having their appointments made months before.
Are you able to choose services for certain staff.
Do you have different staffing levels in your salon? Creative directors, stylists, senior colorist etc?
Then you need to make sure you salon scheduling software can provide you with the right level.
Do you have the ability.
Can staff log on and see their own schedule via laptop, tablet or smartphone?
If you have freelance or self employed stylists within your salon, this is an important aspect for the management of your business. This will allow the system to work out the commissions paid to your staff, so you need to make sure that your system can have variable commission levels.
Commission are also important.
Email or SMS to staff for new bookings.
Who owns the data – some solutions may own the customer data and will not allow access after cancelling the contract.
Having online booking for customers is becoming more and more important, as customers are able to choose when they want to book and review their diary. Many salons find that a large percentage of online appointment bookings are made when the salon is closed, so you can see the possibility of the extra revenue opportunity if your salon has booking function on your website.
Most websites for salon are now built using WordPress, Wix or Weebly, so you need to make sure that your salon scheduling software has the ability to integrate with your website, easily. Many salon management solutions give you the opportunity to add a button to your website or even add your booking screens to your own website.
Facebook also allows you to add a ‘Call to Action’ button to your profile page, from here you can choose the ‘Book Now’ button and embed the link to your booking calendar.
Customers can confirm or cancel their own appoint. The customer can log on and have the ability to move or cancel their booking without the need to call the salon.
Some booking solutions allow the customer to cancel their own booking without the need to call or email their salon. This can either be a link in the email confirmation they have recieved or if you use appointment reminders via sms or email a link can be added to allow them click to cancel.
May be you don’t want some services available to book online, due to some pre-qualifying questions you need to ask or the service takes a long time carry out. Services such as japanese hair straightening etc you might want them to call, so instead of the booking button you can have the call salon button to enable the customer to call the salon.
Appointment reminders (important part as reduces no-shows thus increasing productivity and profits).
Appointment reminders are one of the biggest benefits of salon appointment software, as it allow you to reduce the number of no-shows in your salon and improve your businesses profitability:
Email – does the solution send email reminders
One of the basic functions of most tools is the ability to send reminders via email to your customers email address which they used when.
SMS – does the solution send SMS reminders
SMS appointment reminders work a lot better then email as difficult for customer to ignore for have a better impact on reducing no-shows for your business. Most platforms will send out an SMS reminder several hours before the appointment is due to happen.
Like we mentioned earlier, some allow a cancellation or confirm link to the customer to self manage their booking without the need to call or email the salon.
Want to know how much stock you have in your business? Well managing your salon inventory is a key part of good salon management, you don’t want expesnive stock sitting around in your business when you could have the money in your bank account.
There are two areas of inventory management you need to be aware of when choosing your salon management software:
This is the standard stock in / stock out. So you put the number of items you have had delivered and added to your stock, when one of your team sells an items, it is then removed from the stock count. Some software alert you to when you are running low on stock, so you can order more thus ensuring you never run out of stock.
Some of the more complex salon software solutions allow you to append stock usage to every appointment and also reduce this cost from the commission you pay to the stylist. So for example, you charge 50 cents / pence to a self employed stylist when they wash a clients hair.
Some products you use in the salon may have VAT (value added tax or sales tax) added to it, so you can have different VAT levels associated with products. This will enable your booking keeping at the end of the day.
Do you offering commission to your staff to drive retail sales? Many salon point of sale software allows you to add commissions levels to products, thus enabling you to drive sales further within your salon.
Accepting credit or debit cards in salons can sometimes be a bit difficult, due to monthly fees etc. There are many news ways for smaller businesses to start accepting payments. Accepting payments can also boast your image as a business
There are many payment providers these days but some of the biggest are Stripe, Sum-up, PayPal and Authorize.net. Either way before choosing your software solution, you need to check which payment processing companies the solution integrates with.
Another benefit of accepting credit cards through the above providers means that some salon management software solutions allows you can take the customers credit / debit card details at time of booking thus virtualy removing the issue of no-shows within your salon!
Watch our video...
Ensuring that you know about your customers is one of the key elements to a profitable salon. So with this in mind you need to understand what customer tracking elements your salon management software can provide.
Are you able to see those customers who have not been to you for a number of months, who were loyal before?
More and more salon management software solutions are offering some basic CRM functions. CRM functions allow you to improve customer loyalty and increase the life time valur of your customer.
Does the solution provide a website as part of its package or a directory listing?
Some websites provide a small website or directory listing as part their solution. There are some other salon software providers which are enabling salons to create their own website.
What email marketing functions does it have? Ability to send mass emails or ability to send to customers who have not been to the salon for a long time. Does it integrate with MailChimp, GetResponse etc...
Does it have the ability to issue and track gift vouchers?
Is it able to offer discounts or have the ability to offer discounts through the online booking at quieter periods?
How does the solution charge?
Free - Free solutions are great to get to know how the product works.
Monthly payment - What does it include, so it include SMS, how many team members etc (Please not, my solution is freemium solution with a price per team member to allow online booking and sms reminders).
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