The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated life uncertainties and economic instability like none other recorded in history. It has never been harder for salons and spas to survive, leave alone thrive. And even with the rapid vaccination efforts going on, the beauty industry continues to be plagued by social distancing, self-quarantines, demanding sanitation requirements, changing customer behavior, and a failing economy- you name it!
With many beauty businesses operating on razor-thin margins, business owners and managers have to find affordable solutions to ease the pressure that the pandemic continues to exert on their bottom line. One of these solutions has to be salon software or spa software. Salon management software is an invaluable tool that enables you to automate time-consuming and tedious tasks, consequently helping you cut overhead costs and at the same time make up for lost revenue. And with clients now resuming their beauty and wellness routines, your salon stands to gain many new clients from the salons that are yet to reopen. Your software will help you take the increased demand in your stride and thrive in the “new normal”.
To give you a clearer idea of how much you need salon management software in the new normal, this article explores 4 ways how innovative salon software could help your business thrive in these unstable times.
1. Salon & Spa Video Consultations
Innovative salon management software now comes with integrated video conferencing technology that salon business owners can leverage to improve service delivery in the new normal. You can, for example, use this technology to provide remote “one-on-one” consultations with your unvaccinated clients. Other benefits of video consultations include:
· Some of your staff members who don’t necessarily have to be in the salon can still work from home and render their expertise via live streams. That minimizes crowding at the salon and minimizes close contact without hurting your revenue.
· If you need an extra income stream, this technology enables you to teach remote hair, beauty, and wellness classes. You can even work with a virtual remote interpreter to create a multinational brand for a wider reach.
· The platform gives you the perfect opportunity for marketing your online store. You can always pitch your beauty and wellness products during your online classes or video consultations.
· Video consultations enable you to meet new clients “in-person” without necessarily meeting them in person. Many new clients haven’t been to a professional salon in over twenty months. You can’t really tell how bad their hair, skin, or nails are right now, which means you cannot tell for sure how long their appointments will take. It is hard to quote your price without prior knowledge of what you are up against. You will get this “prior” knowledge through video consultations.
· The platform allows you to gather important client information through custom consultation forms. That information enables you and your staff to bring your A-game to every video consultation session. That gives you a better shot at converting new leads.
· Most importantly, the platform provides clients with multiple, secure online payment gateways to ensure that remote clients pay for their sessions painlessly during the booking process.
2. Tracking your numbers
One of the most important tips for running a successful salon business during unstable times is to constantly gauge the health of your business. You have to know your tax obligations, overhead costs, and payroll stats. You also have to keep an eye on product usage in the salon to ensure that there is no wastage. And speaking of products, you must clear out dead stock from your retail section and ensure that all the inventory you order gives you optimal value for money.
Your software will give you accurate reports that will help you keep your numbers in order. Among other reports, your software will give you:
· Employee performance reports based on your chosen key performance indicators.
· Schedule and appointment reports. You can easily tell which staff member attended to which clients and how much you made from each appointment. That helps you generate accurate commissions, bonuses, and salaries.
· Cash flow reports per employee, location, service, or retail product. It will tell you who your salon’s big earners are. Understanding your cash flow helps you manage your taxes.
· Inventory reports. These reports give you real-time updates on product levels in your inventory. They also paint a clear picture of fall, rise, or stagnation in product demand. That way, you won’t unknowingly tie up cash in unwanted inventory.
· Client appointment, purchase, and payment histories. The software tells you who your most valuable clients are so that you can give them a little extra love.
3. Online booking
During a global pandemic, the best thing a service provider can give to loyal clients is the ability to manage their own appointments. You need to empower your clients to pick their most preferred appointment time, reschedule appointments if they feel unwell, and cancel appointments if they don’t feel mentally prepared for physical contact. Your software will help you devolve that power to clients by allowing you to automate appointment booking. The software comes with a hair salon online booking feature that gives clients access to your schedule, so they can pick for themselves the open slots they are most comfortable with. Other benefits of online booking include:
· It eliminates the need for clients to visit the front desk, which minimizes crowding and enhances social distancing.
· It eliminates rebooking friction, consequently encouraging clients to rebook your services.
· You can use the platform to set up and send automated appointment confirmations, reminders, and after-service follow-up emails and/or text messages.
· You can integrate your booking platform into your Facebook profile or Google My Business page. That encourages more instantaneous bookings.
4. Marketing in unstable times
Spa or salon software will help you stay in touch with your clients during these unstable times. It does that in two main ways: Automated email marketing and enhanced text messages. The software will store important client information such as their birthdays, favorite nicknames, the most appropriate time for text/email, and contact information. You can then use this information to set up, customize, and send automated birthday greetings, email blasts, and thank you emails. The software will do all that for you as you attend to clients or even sleep at night.
Even the most seasoned salon businesses are struggling to cope with unprecedented post-pandemic challenges. That is why you cannot rely entirely on the “tried and true” salon business success strategies. You need to keep reinventing your business and constantly change your client relationship strategies in order to help your business thrive in the new normal. In whatever you do, however, remember to keep your software close.