A salon software automates salon operations and gives you time to focus on improving the quality of your services, think creatively, and spend more time with customers, staff, and family.
If you are planning to buy a new salon software or change your current software, here are ten essential features that you should look for.
- Online appointment scheduling
- Staff management
- Sales promotions
- Point of Sale
- Client management
Online appointment scheduling
One of the common concerns of salon owners is how much time they spend on phone or email to book clients in, reschedule them, or worse cancel an appointment.
This is why it is necessary that your salon software needs online appointment booking. That way clients can book, reschedule, and cancel their appointments. Also, the software will allow you to make a booking on behalf of a client that calls you on the phone.
This forms a major chunk of your salon operations. You need to set up their rosters, map them to services, and measure their performance. Look for the following features in your salon software that will make it easy to manage staff.
- Roster/Working hours: set up staff roster. Mark their availability and unavailability.
- Allocation: Map them to their services. Set their pricing levels and service durations.
- Commissions: Set up commission profiles and map them to staff.
- Roles and permissions: Decide roles and associated permissions and mark each staff accordingly.
Gift vouchers, packages, and discounts are effective tools to boost your sales and improve customer retention. Gift vouchers also help in bringing new customers when clients can buy them for their friends and family. Packages allow you to group together different services and sell them. Check if the software you plan to go with are flexible enough for your sales promotions. Keep and eye on the redemption side of gift vouchers as well. Understand how the software handles redemptions and see if there are reports about gift voucher usage
Point of Sale
POS is an important component in your salon’s growth. You can boost your revenue by creatively utilising its capabilities. Sell products, nudge customers to buy more with Afterpay or credit cards if they are short on cash. Applying a discount at random, adding loyalty points, generating a new gift voucher at the POS will boost the revenue in unexpected ways and also help in client retention. See if your software’s POS has these
- Card reader: you might have a preference here, see if the software works well with the card reader you have.
- Cash register: does the software connect to your cash register? Does it allow to open and close the cash register?
- Payment gateways: Clients will have preferences in the payment mode. Be sure that your software has the most preferred payment modes.
- Invoice generation: Does the POS make it easy to generate and modify invoices. Is it possible to connect your printer or send the invoice as an email to the client?
The more the clients visit you, the more your revenue is. Email marketing is an unavoidable feature if you want to retain clients and improve the rebooking rate. Most software have built-in email marketing templates, customer segments, and trigger points. For ex. You could send a 50% off promotional email to al clients who have not visited you in a set time period. Here, you have to see the flexibility offered by the software in defining the client segments and trigger points.
Do you have multiple branches or are you planning to open your second branch soon? Then, you need to check out how easy it is to manage multiple locations in your software. Some software allow you to log in to each branch separately, and at the same time manage all branches from a chosen single branch. In MioSalon, we saw a unique feature where you could transfer in/out stock between branches.
What we measure, improves. Good reporting is the cornerstone for any growing business. Realizing this, most software have extensive reporting and dashboards for you to take a quick look at your salon’s performance. Since there is parity among salon software when it comes to reporting, you need to go into the details. Are there enough reports for you? Are you looking for a specific set of reports to be in your software? For ex. You might want be very particular about gift voucher sales and redemption. Then you have to check if that is included in the software.
Retaining your clients is the best way to keep your revenue stable. Also, generating more revenue from your existing client base is easier. That is why it is essential to have a good client module in your salon software. A good client module will allow you to view, sort, and filter clients based on various criteria. While some software have a separate module for clients, others will not show in on the UI, but you can fetch reports about your clients. They will also contextually show your clients when you want to book an appointment for the client or bill them.
- Loyalty points: you need to enquire if your software can manage a Loyalty program. A strong loyalty point program thanks customers and motivates them to come back often.
- Memberships: Another option that is effective in client retention is to offer client memberships. Members get special rates on their services.
- Client portal: clients can log in to their portal and see their past appointments and orders with you.
The inventory module will have a list of items for your salon, for sale or for internal use.
Products can be categorized based on brand and supplier. It should be easy to reorder items from a supplier when stock goes below threshold level. Some software even allow you map certain products to certain services. Another option that you might want to look at is whether the software allows import/export of the inventory.
The flexibility in managing services is a key feature. You should be able to set the duration, pricing, and the staff. See if it is possible to set different pricing and duration depending on the staff experience. Some software offer built templates for services which save you time.
While it is wise to select salon software based on features, there are other criteria that should influence your decision, like user experience, pricing, and quality of support.
Since these software are fairly large, a bad UX will easily wear you down. Similarly, a strong, detailed help documentation is a back up when you want to set up the product without external aid. It is always better to take a trial of the product before you buy it.
Here is a list of five salon software that offer free trial.