A party is coming up, but Manisha is not too sure of where to get her blow-dry.
She picks up her mobile to look for salons nearest to her, find one that suits her taste and pocket, and books an appointment online. After the blow-dry, she picks up some cosmetics, makes an online payment, and returns home. The text message thanking her for choosing that particular salon pleases her and she tells herself that the salon deserves a repeat visit.
When almost every service is available online, it makes sense for beauty salons to have a digital presence – and stand out amidst the competitor salons present in almost every neighbourhood in the city.
The challenges salons face
There’s competition at almost every corner, and it’s important to stand out. It’s important to not fall into the traps that can bring your business down, including:
- Low customer retention rates: This can make or break a salon, and it’s important to remember that it is easier and less expensive for salon owners to retain old clients as compared to gaining new ones.
- High no-show ratio: Clients often end up missing appointments, but too many of them could damage your bottom line. Automated online booking tools can help by keeping you informed and resetting those slots.
- Directionless marketing: Marketing efforts need to be targeted and personalised to make an impact. Your messaging needs to appeal to the target audience, be it homemakers and neighbourhood women, or successful working women.
Why should salons go online?
Using the phonebook may have been a good way to attract customers a decade back, but that’s not going to work in the digital age. In today’s ever-changing retail landscape, an online presence can help you stand out. How can it help?
1. To win and retain customers
If you don’t have an online presence, you are losing customers. Big salons can spend thousands on creating and distributing brochures, but smaller ones can create the same impact with a website.
If done right, the website can help all potential customers find out about your salon and services. Once they come in for the first time, tapping technology will ensure that they stick to online channels in the future.
2. To increase spending
It has been noticed that customers that book online tend to spend more than they would if they were walk-ins.
The opportunity of carefully going through the menu and selecting services and preferred stylists (and the freedom of not having to stay on hold and being able to schedule services depending on availability, thanks to real-time calendar updates) increases the frequency of updates. The channel – easy, intuitive, flexible, and accessible – is a big draw.
3. To engage customers
Just having a website isn’t enough. It does give the first impression about you and your brand, but you need to keep working at it. Special promotions, discounts, giveaways, gift certificates, small contests, product lineup…there’s a lot that you can do via social media to engage regular and potential clients.
The key here is consistency – you need to keep at it to reap rich dividends.
4. To improve customer experience
Digitalising operations by using salon-specific software can be a critical tool in your business’ journey. The online booking platform weeds out all chances of human error and goes a long way in improving customer experience.
Happy customers mean more smiles, which ultimately translate into increased footfalls and higher revenues.
5. To show that you are on trend
The beauty industry keeps evolving and it’s extremely important to show your clients that you are up to date with the latest trends, be it hair, nails, skin, or others.
Personal interaction may not be possible with many prospective clients, but your online presence can be your voice and can display that you and your stylists are on top of the latest beauty and styling trends.
6. To scale your business
An online presence increases the credibility of your salon and goes a long way in building client trust. Your online presence can help differentiate your business in an extremely crowded market, and can be the foundation for a business that scales month on month.
It is important to use tools such as search engine optimisation and website optimisation to get visibility, which eventually translates into a longer client list.
If your salon doesn’t have a digital presence today, you are missing out on a big opportunity. This includes potential clients searching for a new salon, talented stylists and artists looking for the right job, and distributors/vendors seeking the right setting for their beauty products. This is where Boost 360, an app that helps you build a website without any coding knowledge comes in handy.
Use and maximise the many opportunities the online channel offers to make sure your salon stays in the first flush of growth. You can only do that if Manisha keeps booking appointments online and also refers her friend to your salon!