Tech to help your salon or barber shop evolve

Top tech to help your salon or barber shop evolve

Hair styling is an analogue skill in a digital world – and one that people will always need. But by embracing digital, you can use new salon software and technology to grow your business.

It can help you work more efficiently and keep customers happier. With that in mind, here are our top 10 picks of the best software and technology for UK salons and barbers.

1. Get the word out on social media

Social media has made it easier to spread the word about your brand, but cutting through the noise can be tough. Focus your attention on the platforms that most of your clientele will be using, such as Facebook and Instagram.

As photography-focused networks, they're an excellent way to share customers' styles, offer discount codes and interact with potential clients.

Try to be as active as possible. That way, if someone posts a question, you're there to respond quickly. You can also repost shots from loyal customers when they share their new style online. By offering that personal experience, you're building your brand and bringing more people into your salon. You can read our Instagram marketing tips for your beauty business here.

2. Offer online reviews for a great rating

86% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses before they use them. Reviews can make or break your business, that's why services like TrustPilot, Facebook and Google Reviews are the perfect way to improve your reputation locally.

Encourage your customers to review you online as they leave the store – or while they're there – and you've got a better chance of capturing new clients that are browsing for the perfect trim. Even negative feedback can be useful to let you know what customers think, and how you can improve the way you're working.

3. Salon scheduling software

When you only accept walk-ins, timings can be difficult. You might be waiting for hours in your salon or barbers without any customers, then a big rush arrives all at once. So why not upgrade to a smarter system?

With salon scheduling software, your customers can choose a time slot online that works for them, and you can confidently tell walk-ins how long they'll be waiting or book them a later slot.

Which is the best salon appointment software? There are plenty of options, so here are a few to explore:

  • Phorest – with Phorest salon software you can set up rotas, check your stock and manage supplier orders, as well as taking bookings 24/7. Plus, you can make a salon-branded app, track online reviews and send automatic text reminders to customers.
  • Nearcut – with a three-month trial available, Nearcut is a strong choice for Barbers looking to move away from walk-ins to a more scheduled day. It'll help you manage stock and your team's time.
  • iSalon – along with bookings, stock control and reports, iSalon helps you track all your daily transactions. This includes sales, discounts, promotions and loyalty points – even if you have multiple salons.

4. Make your premises smarter

Adding some smart tech to your salon or barber shop can save you money. Consider a smart thermostat and LED bulbs to cut your energy bills. Plus, with a smart doorbell at your deliveries entrance, you can get a phone notification when a driver arrives with new products. That way, you won't miss them when you're chatting to a customer.

5. Help your customers get online

It might seem like a small thing, but by offering guest Wi-Fi to your customers you can make a big impact. Most business internet providers have the option to add this to your package, so you can get your clients connected the moment they walk in, allowing them to browse while they wait.

If you want to be even smarter, you can encourage customers to sign up to your newsletter, or use anonymous browsing data to get a better idea of their interests.

6. Make your waiting area shine

Don't settle for six-month-old magazines in your waiting area. Why not add some smarter tech, such as interactive screens or even a game console or a VR headset? This will appeal to kids, and is sure to keep them busy while mum or dad is having a trim.

If this is a little over your budget, a few phone charging cables will be a pleasant surprise, and keep customers powered up while they wait.

7. Use salon apps to improve the experience

Changing styles is a big decision for any customer, but you can make it easier. With a styling app such as Hairstyle Magic Mirror or Men's Hairstyles, you can take a photo of your client, then add different hairstyles to their photo so they can check the look suits them before you get your scissors out.

8. Upsell with wireless beacons

Bluetooth beacons know when smartphones and tablets are nearby and can deliver specific messages relevant to that part of your salon. They're perfect for when you want to upsell a specific product, offer people information like product reviews, or suggest similar items they might want.

Alternatively, you could place one near the front of your store and offer promotions and discounts to customers as they leave, to encourage them to come back next time they need a treatment or haircut.

Make sure you get consent from customers before sending any marketing messages to their devices.

9. Find smarter ways for customers to pay

In June 2018, UK debit card payments overtook cash payments for the first time and two thirds of people now use contactless. It's more important than ever to offer new ways to pay.

Contactless isn't the only solution, and you don't have to use traditional card machines if you don't want to. With the payment processing service Square you can take payments on smart point of sale devices, over the phone or on your website. It's just another way to make life easier for your customers.

10. Get better salon accounting software

When it comes to bookkeeping, you don't necessarily have to hire an accountant to keep track of your earnings. Good accounting software can help you manage payments, and could even integrate with your payment and booking systems to work everything out more quickly. Here are a few options you might want to look into:

  • Xero – aimed at small businesses, Xero lets you create customised invoices, manage payroll and track inventory. It also connects to over 700 third-party apps to help with time-tracking, online payments and much more.
  • Sage – Sage offers both desktop and cloud accounting, which is great if you have multiple locations. Plus, with bundles available to help handle payroll and more, you can tailor it to your business.
  • ClearBooks – with purchasing, expenses, tax management and branded invoicing, ClearBooks brings everything into one place. It integrates with online payment systems like PayPal, too.

Once you've powered up your salon or barbers with new tech, why not check out how we can keep you covered with our specialist hair and beauty insurance.

Small Business Insurance

Added: 08 May 2019