We all know what software is. Unlike the hardware where a computer system is built, software is a collection of data that instructs a computer how to work. Basically, it’s the programs and other operating information used by a computer to perform various tasks. Simple enough. But do you know what salon software is precisely, what it does, and why it’s important? Fear not, we’ve got you covered! Below, we dive into what salon software is, why you need it, how much it costs, and some of the top must-have features.
What is Salon Software?
Salon software is a digital tool designed to help salon owners manage and grow their business. This specialized software works with the unique workflow of salons. It helps keep accurate client and business records and streamlines, even automate daily operations. Tasks such as scheduling and confirming clients, payment processing, inventory management, and even marketing are greatly simplified and easy to manage.
Why You Need Salon Software
In a word, efficiency — and in a busy salon, it’s a top priority. To help make the most of your time, streamline your operations, and automate your business, salon appointment scheduling software is a must-have. The ideal salon software can automate your day-to-day processes. In turn, it will give your staff more time to do other tasks including servicing clients.
There are many salon software offerings for businesses of all sizes, including salon software for booth renters. Whether you’re the owner of a chain of salons, a single location of any size, or an independent booth or suite renter, there are salon software options available for you too.
How Much is Salon Software?
Salon software comes in a wide variety of pricing. The amount depends on whether the software company offers perpetual licensing for locally-installed software or a subscription-like service (software as a service or SaaS) that’s billed monthly.
For locally-installed software, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1400 or more depending on the package you get. A perpetual software license is paid up-front in a lump sum. Then, you will typically pay a yearly maintenance fee that covers upgrades and support.
For subscription-based software, you’re looking at $25-249 a month for basic features and up to $389 a month with advanced features. Most software is billed monthly or yearly and may or may not have annual contracts.
How to Choose the Best Salon Software
No matter how big your salon business may be, choosing the right software for your scheduling and management needs can be overwhelming. For ease of use and the best management of your salon’s time, we’ve outlined some of the features that will make your life easier. Learn more below about client data, booking and online scheduling, confirmations, checkout and payment processing, inventory management, marketing, data conversion, and training and support.
It’s Easy to Access
Before we dive into the various features of salon software, let’s first examine how it is accessed:
There are two ways you can access software. One way is to install an application on your computer’s hard drive. Every time you want to use your salon software, you’ll need to go to that computer or network of computers and turn it on. And that can only happen once you install the program.
The other way is to use cloud-based software. Instead of buying software, you subscribe to a service. You then access the program and your data (client information, inventory, sales, etc.) on the internet. This internet-based software is called cloud software. One of the most important benefits of cloud software is 24/7 access to the program and your information from anywhere with an internet connection. You can access everything from your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and even your phone, no matter where you or your devices are.
Another benefit of working in the cloud is that it removes the need to install, store, or update the software on your computer’s hard drive. All maintenance, updates, bug fixes, etc. happen behind the scenes by the software company.
Now that you understand how you can access your software and all of your data online, let’s dive into what salon software can do and how it benefits you.
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It Helps You Make the Most of Your Time
If you run a salon, you know that time is a precious commodity. It’s how you base the pricing for your services, pay your staff, and even determine the hours of operation based on your salon’s size and workforce. And, as most salon owners will confirm, there is never enough of it. So, in essence, your business comes down to how you manage time. Make sense?
Managing your time is one of the cornerstones of salon software. It’s an electronic means in which to streamline your business operations and run a more effective salon. One of the essential things that salon software does is help with scheduling both staff and client appointments.
It Makes Client Booking Easy
Salon appointment booking features empower you to ditch your paper scheduling book and do it electronically instead. But for those who are less than tech-savvy, the idea of going completely digital can be scary. The reality is that salon software is easy to use and provides a safe place to keep your data and access it anytime that you want. Once your salon software is set up and running, it will help you manage various tasks, including scheduling your clients.
When done in the salon, like when a client calls in or at checkout, you simply click or tap the schedule to get started. Pick the date, service provider, and time that you want. Next, begin to enter the client’s name and, if it’s already in the system, their name will populate for you. Then just select the service they want. Super easy, right? The system will block out as much time as needed for that service or range of services. If set up for double-booking, you can slide that men’s cut in as your other client’s color is processing.
It Allows Clients to Schedule Themselves
Another great feature that salon software can offer is online scheduling. That’s where your clients can access available appointments in your schedule to choose and book for themselves. The feature is convenient for your clients, as they can make the booking from their phone anytime they want.
Also, online scheduling frees up your staff. That’s one less call that your receptionist will need to take during their already busy day. So, just imagine — your clients booking themselves. And the software knows there’s enough time in the schedule to accommodate the services they book. Sign me up!
It Manages Your Client Database
One benefit of salon software is that it tracks your client data. Just imagine all of your customer’s information in one place. You can get everything from their email, cell number, and home address to service history, hair color notes, and more. Instead of scrolling through your phone contacts or looking through your handwritten notes, you click or tap on their profile. Bam – you’re in!
It Automates Confirmations and Reminders
It’s actually quite easy to set up automated confirmations and reminders with salon software. That way, you can send appointment confirmations by text and email when a booking is made. Later, you can remind your clients just before their appointments using their preferred methods of communication.
The beauty of having an automated confirmation and reminder process is that you or your team do not need to make confirmation calls, texts, or emails. It all happens automatically without you having to worry about it. And, with more reminders going out, you’ll have substantially fewer late clients and no-shows. Wouldn’t that be nice?
It Makes Checkout and Payments Seamless
A Point of Sale (POS) salon software feature lets you check out your clients quickly and easily at the end of their service. And it should happen on any device, including your phone. Just like when booking an appointment, accessing client information, and checking customers in and out happens with only a few clicks or taps.
With salon POS software, you can ring up a sale, manage your salon’s cash drawer, and process client payments without purchasing major hardware. And if you can find an option with integrated credit card processing, the software will work that much better for you.
With great POS software comes reporting options. You can track your success with detailed financial records, including ones to streamline your accounting and payroll. Come tax time; you’ll be glad you have this.
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It’s Managing Your Inventory
Keeping your salon retail stocked up with professional products but not overstocked is a delicate balance. Your salon software should keep accurate track of every product in your salon. It should also adjust the inventory amounts each time a sale is made, a return is processed, or your salon receives a new product shipment.
Salon inventory management software should keep your shelves full without breaking the bank. Between running-low alerts and mass updates, you can manage your salon inventory with ease. You’ll save time and maximize product sales by simplifying your order process while reducing inventory costs.
Having to stop and count bottles every time your distributor sales rep shows up is a hassle. Why not let your salon software keep track for you? Even better, look for an option for integrated ordering. This feature allows your local distributor to reorder automatically based on preset parameters.
Suggestive selling is another useful tool through your POS software. The feature will automatically suggest professional products to your customers based on their recent service needs. How amazing is that?
It’s Marketing Your Business
Salon software features can help you effectively market your products and services. To help build your business and keep clients engaged through communication, here are some of the must-haves:
Automated Email Marketing
Easily set up automated greetings to send a happy birthday greeting, thank a new client, or reach out to those who have not been in for a while.
Mass Email Marketing
To keep your clients informed and engaged, send regular updates using a mass email marketing tool. Create, send, and track emails to all of your clients of a select group within your list.
Mass Text Message Marketing
Deliver quick messages to your client’s phone using texting/SMS. Send texts immediately or schedule for later. You can reach out to an individual or a larger group. With filtering options, customize and streamline messages even further.
Automatic Text Message Marketing
Automatic text message marketing allows you to automate text messages to your clients. Send happy birthday greetings, remind clients to book their next appointment, and more. Just set it up and let it work in the background for you.
It Comes with Free Conversion, Support & Training
If you are starting your salon software journey with a paper scheduling book, you’ll need to add all of your current appointments into your salon software. Once you do, you’ll just switch over to booking clients electronically. However, it’s different should you have data from existing salon software. The new company should convert your data for you. That way, you have no lapse of service while making the transfer.
Salon Software conversion services typically include such data as:
- Client Name, Address, Phone, & Email
- Service History
- Retail History
- Client Notes
- Client Formulas
- Gift Certificates
- Product Inventory
One of the best things about using salon software is access to help. You’ll want to find a company that offers free and unlimited support and training. That way, you have someone to reach out to should you have any questions or concerns. It’s just nice to know that you have someone in your court should you need assistance.
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