Technology, notably salon software, has grown to become a crucial piece of salon business management. From marketing, managing employees, to inventory management, technology is helping salon managers streamline operations and get more done for less time and money.
There is a wide variety of salon management software in the market today. Some merge multiple functionalities (scheduling, inventory management, booking, etc.) while others are designed specifically for a single function, e.g. inventory management software. Software with many functionalities are usually expensive (upfront), but they will give you better value for money in the long run compared to single-function software.
If you are new to modern salon technology, you may have trouble deciding which features to look for in salon software before investing in one. This article seeks to help you choose the best software for your salon by explaining the 6 most important features that salon management software should have.
The organization is critical to any salon business operation. Your salon software should help you organize your schedule and track appointments. The software should remind you and your clients (through email) of upcoming appointments to eliminate unwanted double-bookings and minimize no-shows. Among other scheduling benefits, your software should:
- Enable online booking and sync your online booking page with your calendar. That way, clients see your salon’s calendar on your online booking page, so they choose the most appropriate time for their appointments. It should also be easy for clients to schedule multiple salon services, order beauty products, and make payments all from their mobile devices.
- Allow you to create schedules on a weekly basis for better employees’ and walk-in clients’ management. You can clearly see your salon’s slow days/hours, so it becomes easy to distribute off days.
- Notify you and your staff of new appointment requests so that you can accept or, if necessary, reject them ASAP.
2. Customer relationship management (CRM)
Your software should automatically generate a centralized database containing all relevant customer details. These details include clients’ names, transaction history, payment info, hair treatment history, personal contacts, services and products regularly bought, birthdates and age, social media handles, and physical addresses. The software should then profile clients and organize them in a list based on their psychographic and demographic traits. The software should then save these databases in highly secure third-party servers/cloud to make the data accessible from anywhere and at any time, and to guarantee cyber security.
- Engage with clients on social media at a more personal level.
- Follow up with clients for additional at-home care tips.
- Ask for feedback and reviews via phone, SMS, or email.
- Communicate with clients in case you need to reschedule their appointment or if a product they like is out of stock.
- Call for clarifications before an appointment in case a client’s specifications were not clear during their first contact.
- Provide regular clients with a seamless and efficient checkout process.
- Prepare for appointments. The data gives you an idea of the perfect ice-breaker questions to ask in order to make new clients feel comfortable.
Your software should help you automate your salon’s inventory management. Because it keeps records of daily transactions and bookings, it should be able to alert you when more than necessary product quantities are used in a day. That reduces wastage, improves employees’ transparency and accountability, and helps you to manage resources better. There is more. Your software should:
- Help you keep the right amount of stocks by separating fast-moving products from the dead stock. You only order new inventory based on past analysis.
- Provide inventory tracking throughout your purchasing processes.
- Allow you to integrate an accounting interface that updates the general ledger account in real-time.
- Accurately predict rise and fall in demand based on past analysis.
- Give you real-time access to your online inventory, from anywhere in the world.
4. Payroll management
Calculating commissions has to be the most challenging part of payroll management. Your software should be able to take that task off your hands. Reputable software will monitor and record the hours an employee worked within a workday, so you don’t end up paying for wasted hours. This also helps you give incentives, e.g. salary increments, and bonuses to the most deserving employees.
The software should also enable you to set target-based commissions. These are commissions that employees earn upon achieving a set sales objective. The software should track sales down to the stylist or technician who convinced a client to make a purchase. That way, employees provide individualized and enthusiastic attention to the clients they attend to in order to build a good rapport. That drives sales and earns your salon new loyal customers. Win-win!
We already mentioned that your software should collect, store, and analyze customer data. These databases come in handy when designing your marketing strategies. For starters, the data will help you track where new customers come from, so you can easily tell which marketing campaigns work and which ones you should discontinue.
Other ways your salon software can help you with marketing include:
- Targeted marketing campaigns. The software already has a file for every client, complete with home addresses and contact info. It will tell you which geographical areas to target with your flyers and other offline marketing materials. The software should also be able to send targeted emails and text messages to clients who are more likely than not to try out a new product.
- Social media marketing. Your software should be able to track clients to their favorite social media platforms. That eliminates guesswork when deciding which social media platforms to take the most interest in.
- Unbiased loyalty programs. You don’t have to guess who your best clients are or the kind of rewards they’d appreciate the most. Your software should have that information ready.
- Customized receipts. Quality software should design customized receipts that contain any new information a client needs to know.
6. Payment gateways and cash management feature
Your software should make credit card and debit card payments seamless and secure. It should allow clients to make payments directly from your POS and booking pages. This minimizes the clerical errors and theft cases that plague manual cash management systems. It also encourages pre-payments, which in turn minimizes now-shows.
Your salon operates within a digitized space. Salon software does the heavy lifting for you within this space so that you can focus better on service delivery. They give you the wings that you need to soar high above your competitors. The onus is therefore on you to find the software that gives you the best value for money and that have all the tools you need to grow your business in the digital space.