Over the last few years, businesses across the spectrum have undergone a paradigm shift. Manual processes have given way to automated processes and next-gen systems such as apps, which not only improve the procedural efficiency but also aid in business growth. The beauty and wellness industry is no exception to the shift. The host of benefits that a salon can derive from deploying a hair salon appointment booking system far outweighs its cost of acquisition. As a result, more and more salon owners are deploying technology to streamline their operations, and improve efficiency. No longer to they ask, whether they should deploy a system, instead they inquire about the key features of the software. In this blog, we discuss about the 5 “must have” features that must be available in a salon booking system.
The time and era of manual paperwork is well and truly behind us, and a digital enrolment feature is the first step in creating a truly paperless enterprise. These digital enrolment forms are easily to fill and clients can often do it themselves, at their convenience. Once the details such as personal information, emergency contact, and financial information are filled and the form is saved, the hair salon online booking system saves the information in a centralized data base. Further transactions such as logs of salon visits and history of every service is recorded and is easily available for review in just a few clicks. Whether you’re signing up new guest or editing the details of existing members, the digital guest enrolment feature is extremely handy, and swift. Infact, some hair salon online booking software such as the one from Zenoti comes with additional feature which allows guests to update personal and financial information on their own. Any editing request is authenticated by a one-time password, to ensure that there is no compromise of data.
The most fundamental feature required in a hair salon online appointment booking system is appointment management. Consider this to be the heart of the system, and you should a lot of attention while evaluating this feature. Ideally, this feature should work intuitively and in as minimal steps as possible. For instance, no sooner does the guest log on and mention their selection criteria such as either the choice of service or the choice of preferred provider, the system should show them next available appointment. If the available slot meets guest expectations, the system should auto prompt to seek confirmation of booking. Alternatively, if the guest prefers earlier booking the system should be auto provide the option of being waitlisted, such that if the slot is available at last minute the guest can so avail. Further for services that have been availed in the past, the online hair appointment booking system should offer one tap rebooking. Upon confirmation of the booking, the system should also track the same and send automated reminders to both the guest and the provider. In the eventuality of a guest requiring to cancel of reschedule an existing booking, it should be equally hassle free. In other words, the system should make the process as easy and as quick as possible for the guest. Online hair appointment booking system such as the one from Zenoti allows guests to complete bookings in about 4 steps.
Another essential feature to look for is inventory management. The system by design should be able to merge all sources of revenue under one umbrella and help you in taking care of the retail side of your business. Here again, the system should work intuitively and in line with the supply chain concept known as, “just in time”. By tracking the consumption of products and order flow, the system will help you avoid situations where you’ve blocked precious capital due to overstocking and where you lose revenue due to under stocking. Some top tier online hair appointment booking system come with features that allow you to track retail and professional consumption products separately, thus furthering optimizing the stocks levels and consequently automating the re-ordering process.
It’s no longer a pick and choose between cash or card. With the fintech space transforming rapidly, the guests have multiple choices such as NFC, mobile wallets, payment apps to settle invoices. Thus, making it imperative for your business to offer a host of choices to settle their payments. Since the system will be dealing with sensitive financial information, it is best to look for a system that is fully compliant with PCI security standards. An efficient system is the one that allows guests to settle invoices with just one tap whilst they are being simply checked out after service.
The key to business success lies in comprehension of its data such that you can make informed decisions, and your online hair appointment booking system should support in the process. By providing insights in the form of reports such as daily sales, order visibility, stock status, accounts payable, accounts receivable, average spend/client the software should be able to help you understand which services to promote and how to promote. It should help you in understanding the guest behaviour, staff performance, effectiveness of marketing campaigns by creating clear reports that can be further studied in granular form. Ideally, the software should also be able to run algorithms to predict future demand by analysing seasonal variations, trends, and guest behaviour.
Aside from the above 5 must have features, you should also evaluate the other features such as clinet management, employee management, data security, scalability, and ease of use etc. Some of the renowned systems that are highly popular and come with a host of features, including marketing management are Zenoti, Salonist, SalonIris, MindBody, and Phorest. These spa and salon POS systems have transformed the way how businesses operate and are proven to increase revenue.