What does the salon of the future look like to you? High-tech tools? Less staff at the front desk? Online appointment booking exclusively?
All these things are possible, but the main change salons will see in the future is the way in which they connect with their clients.
Louis Lago, president of SalonBiz and co-owner of Berenices in Denver, says customers need to be able to interact with salons however they want—apps, ecommerce, mobile payments—you name it, the customer should have access.
This gives them flexibility they’re accustomed to when patronizing other businesses, and makes the salon more efficient and accurate with technology.
To bring your salon into the future, Lago says to focus your technology training and investment on three groups: owners and managers, stylists, and clients.
Owners and Managers
Many owners love the idea of new technology, but fear implementation. Lago says the key is to focus on one thing at a time.
“When I work with owners, we never try to do it all at once,” he says. “We’ll work on online booking first, then move on to the Pocket salon app—the owner can choose what they want to do and when they want to do it.”
And if the owner is still behind the chair and feels overwhelmed by the technology task, Lago has a solution for that, too.
“Have the leaders in your business implement it,” he says. “If it’s not you, find the right individuals in your company to help drive technology.”
With all of the new features we’re rolling out this year, getting a grasp on technology and all it can do for your business has never been easier.
“Our focus is to deliver browser-based, intuitive tools that are simple to onboard new front desk staff and new hires,” he says. “We’ll make it easy to set up and put every piece of data you need in one spot.”
Lago says owners can also look forward to new technology in payments with the roll out of PaySimple.
“PaySimple allows owners to have one merchant ID to handle all transactions—front desk, ecommerce, online—ONE account,” he says. “It makes it much easier to manage.”
The fact of the matter is, Millennials are on their devices 24/7. So why not put those phones to good use?
The Stylist app from SalonBiz allows stylists to view benchmarks like retail and prebooking, book clients right from the chair and more. This access to information is empowering to stylists and gives them the ability to break free from the front desk if they choose.
“The client and stylist are already connected outside the salon on social media platforms,” Lago says. “So there should be no concerns about giving the staff access to viewing the appointment book. It’s important to give stylists the ability to book in the moment.”
Managers and owners have their own view of the Stylist app and can see what’s going on in the business from the app—wherever they are.
Lago says features like online booking and online gift cards should be givens for any salon.
“But now salons need to adopt technology that piggybacks onto consumer apps like United Airlines or Amazon,” he says. “Customers should be able to know their history, see who they booked with last time, what products they bought and more.”
He adds, “It’s our job as a tech company to continue to grow technology around the consumer app to engage with the customer to learn their behavior around product purchases and services.”
SalonBiz’s Pocket Salon app is paving the way by giving clients the ability to book via the app, message their stylist, check out after an appointment, buy products and more.
“It’s intuitive to our customers,” Lago says. “We haven’t done our job as a technology partner if it’s not as simple as possible, because this is how consumers are interacting with businesses today.”
SalonBiz has also partnered with Presence AI, technology that books appointments via text messages with artificial intelligence.
“AI keeps evolving, so eventually we can repurpose our people currently answering phones to increase the service level in salons,” he says. “The only way to drive down cost is to utilize technology.”
With the help of technology, Lago visualizes a future that’s more efficient and cost effective for owners, higher job satisfaction and sense of empowerment for stylists, and an experience clients can tailor to their own needs.
How do you envision technology taking your salon to the next level? The time to find out is now.