Approximately 80 percent of small businesses in the United States are using cloud-based computing in their business practices. The beauty industry, including salons and spas, has embraced working in the cloud for scheduling and management software, as it has many advantages over locally-installed versions.
Before considering how cloud based salon software can work for you and your business, let’s first take a look at what the cloud is about.
Defining the Cloud
Short for cloud-based computing, “the cloud” refers to computing and data storage offered as a utility service over the internet. When used for business applications, working in the cloud removes the need for locally-installed applications and/or data storage – meaning that you no longer have to install, store, or update the software on your computer’s hard drive.
Why Go With Cloud-Based Salon Software?
The cloud brings many advantages to your business, but one of the most important ones is 24/7 access to the software and your data from anywhere with an internet connection.
You also are not burdened with the frustration, inconvenience, risk, or cost of installing software, patches, or updates on your computer when using a cloud-based application. Maintenance and all updates happen behind the scenes and are done in the cloud by the software company. There’s also no need for costly networks or computer systems, let alone to hire a third-party vendor to integrate them.
What’s great about working in the cloud is that there are also no more compatibility issues between locally-installed software and your computer operating system. Instead of feeling plagued by IT issues, you can focus instead on your clients and the business of doing hair, skincare, massage, nails, lashes, etc. You know, the real reason you’re in business!
Most Desired Cloud Salon Software Features
Now that there is a better understanding of cloud computing and its benefits, keep these following things in mind when shopping for cloud based hair salon software:
- Management software should keep in mind the unique workflow that salons and spas have. The information must be quickly and easily available to all staff when needed, and the workflow within your salon or spa should be simplified because of it.
- There should be easy access to your account any time on any device connected to the internet. This access allows you to check your schedule, book an appointment, send automated communications, run a report, and even check inventory from anywhere.
- There’s no more installing software, paying for or locally adding updates, or worrying about software compatibility.
- Cloud salon software should provide data access permissions. That way, you can keep specific facets of your business private while granting permission to staff for viewing their schedules and other data relevant to them.
- Your customers should be able to schedule appointments online using any device through a link on your salon or spa’s website, business Facebook page, or through your mobile app.
- If you have a rental business model, make sure that your software complies with this specific way of doing business. With booth or suite renters, it’s essential that both owners and renters set their own permissions, and that your reception desk can obtain authorization to schedule appointments and check-in clients for everyone, while the renter’s financial and client data remains private.
- Look for software that provides unlimited training and technical support that comes with the service at no additional cost.
- Find a software solution that provides a free trial, so you can try it to be sure that it’s a good fit for your business needs.
- An excellent cloud-based management system will not require a long-term contract, offering a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go agreement instead.
- It’s vital that the software allows you to maintain ownership of your information, including clients, and will let you take all of your data with you should you decide to leave.
- Avoid salon and spa management services that want to “own” the client. Be sure that you read the terms and conditions carefully. In many cases, by merely signing up, you are effectively handing over your client list so that others, possibly even your competition, can market to them. You’ve worked hard to build your clientele, and the last thing you want is to allow other businesses to solicit them!
With its many advantages, the cloud has become an in-demand service and a valuable tool for doing business. Now that you know what it’s all about, and have a better idea of what to look for salon and spa management software, why aren’t you doing business in the cloud?